SUNDAY FINAL - HAGAN, MASSEY, EDWARDS AND ARANA JR. RACE TO VICTORIES AT ZMAX DRAGWAY
Matt Hagan ended a 17-month winless drought by racing to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle at zMAX Dragway.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the only NHRA Mello Yello Series Drag Racing event that features competition in four lanes simultaneously.
The Southwest Virginia cattle rancher powered his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger to the final round win over fellow Virginian Blake Alexander, veteran driver Tim Wilkerson, and rookie Chad Head to take his sixth career victory.
Hagan covered the distance in 4.071 seconds at 315.34 mph and finished in front of Alexander’s Auto Service Plus Charger, which ran 4.156 at 294.56 in his first ever runner-up finish. Wilkerson and event top qualifier Head both lost traction in their machines early in the four-wide final.
“This was a big win for us,” Hagan said. “It’s been a year since we won, or longer; I don’t know. It’s been too long, and that feeling is just great to have back.
Hagan moved through eliminations as the quickest in each of his first two rounds and it was a great turnaround at this track for the 2011 world champ who has endured several spectacular explosions here in the past.
“We finally put some gremlins to rest here at the racetrack at zMAX,” Hagan said. “I love this track. It’s home for me, three hours away from home. It’s one of those deals where it’s a great track. Bruton Smith does a great job with it, and it’s a fast facility. Our car just ran phenomenal in lane 2 all day long, and that says a lot for [crew chief] Dickie Venables. He’s kind of been passed over and looked over the past couple of years as a crew chief. It’s one of those deals where he’s got two rings on his fingers, and he just hadn’t found a home yet. Don Schumacher gave him an opportunity to go out here and do his own thing. The guy came in and is doing his own thing, and he’s taking notes home and doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and that drives me to do what I’m supposed to do and step up to the plate.”
With the victory, Hagan moved into the series lead, 50 ahead of second place Cruz Pedregon. It is the first time Hagan has led the points since winning the 2011 world championship title.
“We took over the points lead, but it’s too early to start counting that stuff,” Hagan said. “But anybody who tells you they don’t count it is foolish; everybody’s counting points.”
In Top Fuel, Massey earned his first victory in nearly a year and won his second consecutive title at this event by holding off Tony Schumacher at the finish line. Top qualifier Shawn Langdon and Brandon Bernstein finished third and fourth. Massey’s Schumacher Electric dragster led all the way with a 3.771 at 325.45, while Schumacher was just behind in his U.S. Army dragster, finishing in 3.778 at 320.81.
“The last two years we’ve taken home the Wally, but if you think about it, [crew chiefs] Todd [Okuhara] and Phil [Shuler] have had an awesome car and an awesome team for a number of years,” said Massey, also the winner of his first two rounds. “Back when Cory McClenathan drove that FRAM car, Cory owned this racetrack. The first four wide was won by my crew, so it bleeds over from the old team, which is my team now. Whenever there’s a racetrack that you do well at, you just seem to do well at it. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but you just seem to do well. When you have confidence, it really seems to help, and when I roll up here, I know that we can win. We’ve won here before, so we just get out there and do what we know how to do and have fun.”
With his 11th career victory, Massey moves up to third in the points standings, trailing leader Schumacher and second place Antron Brown.
Pro Stock top qualifier Edwards led wire-to-wire to also put an end to a mini-slump, powering his I Am Second Chevy Camaro to a 6.495 at 213.67. Erica Enders-Stevens finished second in her GK Motorsports Camaro with a 6.521 at 211.76, while Greg Anderson and Shane Gray were third and fourth in their respective Camaros.
It is the 35th career victory for Edwards, who opened up an 84-point lead on defending world champ Allen Johnson in the series standings. The Oklahoma native picked up an additional 20 points during the weekend for setting the national elapsed time record at 6.471 seconds during qualifying.
“It does feel satisfying to close the deal,” said Edwards, who finished first in each of the first two rounds of eliminations. “We’ve had numerous opportunities, and anytime you can run really good and win, it’s a phenomenal day. We ran good but we were really conservative. I’ve been shooting myself in the foot, but today, I thought if we get beat it’s not going to be because we squared the tires up and not because of the lame-brained driver we have. I’m off to a better start than my championship season. Our team is coming together, and it’s a long season, but another [title] would be great.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana Jr. claimed his second straight victory of the season and fifth of his career with a final round performance of 6.896 at 190.73 to defeat defending world champ Eddie Krawiec, who rode his Harley-Davidson to a 6.924 at 190.65. The semifinalists in the four-wide final were Scotty Pollacheck and Jim Underdahl.
“This feels excellent,” said Arana Jr., who finished second in the opening round and was first in the second round. “This just goes to show that we really wanted to get wins, and after last year, we’re making up for lost time. To win the four wide my first time, I love this race. My bike was fast. Since last year it has been super-fast and very consistent. We do our routine maintenance, and we stay on top of our parts a little better this year.”
Arana Jr. increased his series lead to 93 over second place Scotty Pollacheck in points standings.
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries, April 26-28 at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.
SATURDAY QUALIFYING - FUNNY CAR ROOKIE HEAD RACES TO FIRST CAREER NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITION AT ZMAX DRAGWAY
Rookie Funny Car driver Chad Head raced to his first career No. 1 qualifying position Saturday at the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle.
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their categories into Sunday’s noon eliminations as No. 1 qualifiers at zMAX Dragway during the only NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event that features racing in a four-wide configuration.
The second generation racer powered his Head Racing Toyota Camry to a career-best performance of 4.014 seconds at 315.19 mph to top the 16-car field. Head is the son of longtime NHRA nitro racer Jim Head, who has earned multiple wins in both Funny Car and Top Fuel as a driver.
“To go 4.01, it’s unbelievable,” Head said. “It’s just credit to Dad, Johnny Davis, and the whole crew. We did a really good job in testing, then we really struggled hard in Gainesville and Vegas, so to come here and rebound and do that, that’s pretty awesome. It lifts everybody’s spirits.”
Head, who has long worked behind the scenes in the sport in a variety of management roles with several different race teams, will meet Alexis DeJoria, Jeff Arend and Robert Hight in the opening round of eliminations as he goes for his first career victory at the controls of an 8,000-horsepower Funny Car.
“I expected success with my father being crew chief,” Head said. “He’s very talented, and he does a great job, and that just shows you how great of a job he’s doing because I’ve got a long way to go. I’m just hanging on. I’m just lucky that the car went straight because it has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with my ability. It has to do with how those guys set the car up and how they do the stagger and all of that. It’s 100 percent on those guys because there’s no way in 25 runs that I have the ability to go 4.01. It just shows you how good that team is.”
John Force qualified No. 2 in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang with a run of 4.039 at 316.08 and defending world champ Jack Beckman took third in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger with a 4.071 at 311.99.
Top Fuel driver Langdon, who won his first career race here last September, claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and seventh of his career with a performance of 3.751 at 327.90 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster.
“We feel pretty confident at this track,” said Langdon, whose first round opponents include seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher and rookies Brittany Force and Sideni Frigo. “The Al-Anabi car has run really good here in the past. It’s the site of my first victory, and we definitely came in this weekend with a lot of confidence and high hopes for the weekend.”
Defending event winner Spencer Massey qualified second with a 3.774 at 326.24 in his Schumacher Electric dragster, while Morgan Lucas was third in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster with a 3.788 at 324.90.
Top Fuel points leader Schumacher entered the final qualifying session not in the field but was able to cover the distance in 3.823 at 321.19 in his U.S. Army dragster to grab the seventh spot in the order and increase his consecutive race qualifying streak to 228, currently second to Greg Anderson among active drivers.
Edwards raced to his fifth consecutive No. 1 position of the season in Pro Stock, powering his I Am Second Chevy Camaro to a national elapsed time record of 6.471 seconds at 213.64 mph. It is Edward’s 46th career No. 1 position and he will open eliminations against Vincent Nobile, V Gaines and Frank Gugliotta.
“Today was an awesome day,” Edwards said. “I never would have believed that we could be No. 1 at the first five races. That’s so hard to do. So far, qualifying has been great, but I need to work on race day. Hopefully we can run good tomorrow.”
Jeg Coughlin will start second in Pro Stock with a 6.495 at 213.47 in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger, while Shane Gray qualified third in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro with a 6.498 at 213.03.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana Jr. earned his first No. 1 of the season and 11th of his career with a performance of 6.826 at 195.19 on his Lucas Oil Buell.
Arana Jr., who won the season-opening bike race in Gainesville, Fla. a few weeks ago, will try to make it two in a row when he meets a tough set of first round challengers in brother Adam Arana and the Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson duo of Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec.
“We had all the ingredients today for fast racing,” Arana Jr. said. “Thankfully, I was able to get the No. 1 spot. It’s pretty cool to be able to do this at the four-wide. The [four-wide format] is different, but in reality, it’s the same as two-wide racing. You just have to focus on what you’re doing. It’s not that hard once you get the [staging] lights down pat. I try not to worry about anything else; I just focus on my bike and on my set of lights.”
Scotty Pollacheck was second with a 6.834 at 193.88 on his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell and the 2010 winner of this event, local favorite Matt Smith from nearby King, N.C., was third with a 6.837 at 194.63, on his Viper Motorcycle Company Buell.
FRIDAY QUALIFYING - RAIN WASHES OUT HALF OF FOUR-WIDE SHOW
Persistent rain showers forced NHRA officials to postpone qualifying for the fourth annual Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Fueled by Full Throttle at zMAX Dragway until Saturday at 12:15 p.m.
One qualifying session of racing was completed in Pro Stock Motorcycle, while 10 cars were able to make runs in Pro Stock before rain showers moved into the area Friday afternoon.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, featured at this event for the first time since 2010, John Hall took the No. 1 spot with a time of 6.930 seconds on the Matt Smith Racing Buell. In Pro Stock, Shane Gray was quickest of the 10 cars that ran before the rain fell.
Gates will open at 8 a.m. Qualifying rounds are set for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. for Sunday's final eliminations. Be a part of the action all weekend with a 3-Day Pass to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals starting at $99. Tickets for children 13 and under are free with any paid adult ticket; to purchase general admission or reserved seats please visit www.zMAXDragway.com or call the box office at (800) 455-FANS (3267). For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.
1 11 Shane Gray, Denver NC, '13 Camaro 6.601 210.67 210.67
2 10 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '12 Mustang 6.644 208.14 208.14
3 41 Rodger Brogdon, Tomball TX, '13 Camaro 6.652 208.42 208.42
4 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 6.669 207.98 207.98
5 353 Lewis Worden, Festus MO, '13 Mustang 6.681 206.73 206.73
6 445 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '13 Camaro 6.687 207.59 207.59
7 102 Frank Gugliotta, Mount Airey MD, '11 Mustang 6.690 208.20 208.20
8 256 Buddy Perkinson, Hopewell VA, '09 GXP 6.756 206.42 206.42
9 21 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '09 GXP 7.072 205.47 205.47
10 128 John Gaydosh Jr, Baltimore MD, '09 GXP 7.124 200.20 200.20
CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1 1528 John Hall, Hamden CT, Buell XB12R 6.930 191.08 191.08
2 7 Scotty Pollacheck, Medford OR, Buell XB12R 6.939 193.10 193.10
3 10 Shawn Gann, Stoneville NC, Buell XB9R 6.943 193.93 193.93
4 6 Matt Smith, King NC, Buell XB9R 6.961 182.01 182.01
5 533 Jim Underdahl, Forest Lake MN, Suzuki TL1000R 6.966 195.48 195.48
6 3 Hector Arana Jr., Milltown IN, Buell XB9R 6.970 193.10 193.10
7 2 Andrew Hines, Brownsburg IN, Harley V-Rod 7.018 190.62 190.62
8 200 Chip Ellis, Brownsburg IN, Buell XB9R 7.056 188.17 188.17
9 745 Katie Sullivan, Corning CA, Suzuki GSXR 7.089 188.65 188.65
10 301 Adam Arana, Milltown IN, Buell XB9R 7.090 192.82 192.82
CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS
1 1 Troy Coughlin, Delaware OH, t'13 Corvette 5.963 243.72 243.72
2 5 Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills CA, *'68 Camaro 5.966 244.07 244.07
3 301 Eric Latino, Port Perry ON, '69 Camaro 5.976 243.94 243.94
4 43 Rickie Smith, King NC, n'12 Camaro 5.977 242.41 242.41
5 701 Clint Satterfield, Albuquerque NM, t'68 Camaro 6.019 246.98 246.98
6 8 Pete Farber, Baldwinville MA, *'69 Daytona 6.030 242.45 242.45
7 2377 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, *'68 Camaro 6.033 236.92 236.92
8 1456 Mike Janis, Lancaster NY, *'12 Camaro 6.069 239.53 239.53
9 213 Chip King, Southport NC, t'69 Daytona 6.082 247.16 247.16
10 10 Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe MB, *'63 Corvette 6.090 242.71 242.71
CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER (SESSION TWO)
1 1 B/AD Jim Whiteley, Grand Junction CO, Nielso 5.290 271.35 271.35
2 2 B/AD Chris Demke, Tujunga CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.338 269.89 269.89
3 4 A/FD Rich McPhillips, Phoenixville PA, Hadma 5.379 260.86 260.86
4 596 A/FD Randy Meyer, Spring Hill KS, Meyer-BAE 5.381 269.46 269.46
5 3 A/FD Bill Reichert, Owosso MI, Bowen-Reich 5.416 265.53 265.90
6 34 B/AD Marty Thacker, Robinson IL, Spitzer-TFX 5.419 263.56 263.56
7 872 A/FD Rishi Kanick, TT, McKinney-AJPE 5.422 253.23 253.23
8 7 B/AD Ken Perry, Markham ON, Spitzer-Perry 5.425 265.53 265.53
9 1900 A/FD Dan Page, Hampstead NH, Page-BAE 5.435 266.69 266.69
10 36 TA/D Robin Samsel, Marion IN, Canode-BAE 5.440 259.91 259.91
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR (SESSION TWO)
1 1 Frank Manzo, Morganville NJ, '06 Monte Carlo 5.602 260.01 260.01
2 8 Chris Foster, Davenport IA, '11 Mustang 5.621 257.92 257.92
3 500 Dale Brand, Sully IA, '06 Monte Carlo 5.622 257.38 257.38
4 37 Andy Bohl, Racine WI, '08 Mustang 5.624 257.28 257.28
5 36 Paul Noakes, London ON, '02 Mustang 5.628 259.61 259.61
6 16 Dan Pomponio, Berlin NJ, '10 Monte Carlo 5.664 256.26 256.26
7 11 Todd Veney, Indianapolis IN, '09 Impala 5.667 254.90 254.90
8 35 Cassie Simonton, Brooklyn Park MN, '06 Monte C 5.694 255.97 255.97
9 4 Annie Whiteley, Grand Junction CO, '10 Mustang 5.727 257.04 257.04
10 1625 Marie Ferriolo, Allentown NJ, '02 Camaro 5.783 248.98 248.98
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS
SUPER STOCK (FINAL)
1 2966 SS/DS Stephen McCreary, Cana VA, '05 Sunfire 9.892 10.85 -0.958
2 201 GT/FA Herbie Null, Greencastle PA, '87 Camaro 9.858 10.80 -0.942
3 214 SS/AAA Craig Hankinson, Newton NC, '12 Mustang 8.488 9.40 -0.912
4 2074 SS/CA Brian Oakes, Taylorsville NC, '69 Camaro 9.152 10.05 -0.898
5 19 GT/AA Gary Richard, Bay Shore NY, '10 Mustang 9.225 10.10 -0.875
6 24 SS/BS Gary Coccaro, Panama City FL, '05 Sunfire 8.797 9.65 -0.853
7 1046 GT/JA Tom Sheehan, Belle Vernon PA, '00 Sebring 10.468 11.30 -0.832
8 3614 GT/CA Matt Alvey, Mt. Washington KY, '04 Sunfire 9.572 10.40 -0.828
9 39 SS/BA Rock Haas, White Lake MI, '08 Mustang 9.088 9.90 -0.812
10 22 SS/DM Mike Crutchfield, Montgomery AL, '08 G5 8.941 9.75 -0.809
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS
1 335X CC/SA Dave Connolly, Mooresville NC, '12 Camaro 9.584 10.60 -1.016
2 1761 C/SA Robert Dean, Evans City PA, '94 Camaro 10.414 11.40 -0.986
3 2730 AA/SA Bo Kenney, Manassas VA, '08 Mustang 9.019 10.00 -0.981
4 203 BF/S Mike Moller, Youngsville NC, '89 Lebaron 13.677 14.65 -0.973
5 1707 CC/SA Jim Boburka, Corapolis PA, '12 Camaro 9.633 10.60 -0.967
6 3473 E/SA Craig Marshall, Columbus OH, '74 Dart 10.738 11.70 -0.962
7 355X AA/SA Mike Kubiak, Grafton OH, '13 Mustang 9.047 10.00 -0.953
8 14 B/SA Jim Boudreau, Tewksbury MA, '69 Camaro 10.298 11.25 -0.952
9 1710 D/S Jerry MacNeish, Eldersburg MD, '67 Camaro 10.591 11.50 -0.909
10 2824 I/SA Brian Rowe, New Bern NC, '90 Camaro 11.394 12.30 -0.906
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS
1 314B Troy Stone, Elkhart IN, Spitzer-Hemi 6.135 233.88 233.88
2 1984 Megan Daymude, Inwood WV, HFR-Chevy 6.150 225.60 225.60
3 2246 Melissa Hutson, Lady Lake FL, Spitzer-BAE 6.195 226.09 226.09
4 170 Alan O'Brien, Roncerverte WV, RaceTech-AMC 6.209 195.25 195.25
5 2090 Eddie Careccia, Mars Hill NC, Horton-AJ 6.238 231.71 231.71
6 2463 Burwell Kendrick, Indian Trail NC, Horton-Chevy 6.383 215.65 215.65
7 156 Michael Galofaro, Lincoln Park NJ, Spitzer-Che 6.504 210.90 210.90
8 360K Bryan Keller, Macedonia OH, Spitzer-Chevy 6.523 206.13 206.13
9 2501 Kevin Brannon, Boiling Springs SC, Maddox-Chevy 6.532 203.52 203.52
10 22 Dylan Stott, Columbus NC, Maddox-Ford 6.591 205.91 205.91
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS