Hagan Sets New Track Record and Earns Provisional Pole at U.S. Nationals
· Second day of qualifying for Pro Stock and Funny Car classes at prestigious 59th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis
· Rain delays and shortens qualifying for all pro classes to just one session on Saturday
· Hagan sets new track record and drives ‘Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar’ Dodge Charger to provisional Funny Car No.1 qualifier position
· Johnson remains atop Pro Stock qualifying sheets as provisional No.1 qualifier
Brownsburg, Ind. (Saturday, August 31, 2013) – Temperatures on the second day of NHRA Mello Yello Series qualifying at the 59th annual U.S. Nationals reached into the 90 degrees range before a late afternoon thundershower disrupted track action and cooled things off at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, setting up the opportunity for Don Schumacher Racing’s Matt Hagan to drive his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” to the provisional pole position by setting a new track record.
With Funny Cars in the staging lanes, storm clouds threatened then finally interrupted their qualifying session after a few pairs had already made their runs. Following a three hour delay and under much cooler evening conditions that dropped into the low 70 degrees, elapsed times began to fall. Pacing the field and posting a new track record was Hagan’s Dodge Charger R/T which ran a 4.007-second elapsed time pass with a speed of 319.22 mph to earn the provisional No.1 qualifier honors.
“It was such an awesome run out here at Indy tonight,” said Hagan who currently leads the Funny Car championship standings. “It was so fast early. It made a hard move to the left. I made a correction, it made a hard move back and I had to make another small correction and another one and then I was like alright forget it. I’m just going to let it sit where it’s going to sit and it just kept digging. [Crew Chief] Dickie Venables, what an awesome deal. This guy just keeps putting a great race car underneath me. This season has just been a dream season so far.”
Mopar teammates Johnny Gray (4.012 sec / 312.13 mph) and Ron Capps (4.049 sec / 315.27 mph) both also improved their positions on the score sheets jumping up to second and fifth respectively. Fellow DSR teammate and defending world champ Jack Beckman sits in 12th spot with two sessions remaining.
Prior to the rain delay, thanks to hot and muggy conditions, Saturday’s first qualifying session yielded no change to the order of the Pro Stock top twelve established on Friday, with Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson still leading the pack, with his fellow Mopar-powered drivers V. Gaines in fifth spot, Jeg Coughlin Jr.in seventh and Vincent Nobile still in ninth place.
Like the rest of the field, Johnson was unable to better the 6.661-second elapsed time he had previously recorded to claim the provisional pole, posting a 6.705/206.86 in the first session today. The top session times were recorded by Jason Line, Mike Edwards and Shane Gray with Johnson leading the Mopar contingency in fourth spot to miss out of scoring any bonus points.
Due to the rain delay, the pro classes only ran one session on Saturday rather than the two previously scheduled. Qualifying for the U.S. Nationals will resume on Sunday with two sessions scheduled including the Funny Car edition of the Traxxas Shootout. All four Don Schumacher Racing Mopar drivers – Hagan, Gray, Capps and Beckman– are taking part in the ‘race within a race’ with a 100 thousand dollar prize for the victor.
Sunday’s shootout match-ups will see Hagan (1) versus Tim Wilkerson (8), Capps (2) vs. Beckman (7), Johnny Gray (3) vs. Courtney Force (6); and Cruz Pedregon (4) vs. John Force (5).