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for a 3-Second Run in Provisional Qualifying at NHRA SummerNationals
Hagan quickest 2015 DSR Mopar Dodge Charger R/T with 3-second run for provisional fourth spot in Funny Car qualifying for NHRA Summernationals
Hagan drives the new 2015 Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to its 11th sub 4-second run of the season at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Tommy Johnson Jr. rounds out top-5 in qualifying and is working towards for his first title win of the season
Allen Johnson sits eighth in provisional qualifying and is four elimination round wins away from reaching the 400 career round wins milestone
June 5, 2015 , Englishtown, New Jersey - Matt Hagan drove the 2015 Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to his eighth career 3-second elapsed time run as the quickest of the four Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car entries to provisionally qualify fourth for this weekend’s National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Summernationals.
Hagan posted an elapsed time pass of 3.999 seconds at 315.05 miles per hour (mph), his third 3-second run of the year, to improve on his first qualifying lap of 4.067 /309.12 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. He sits fourth behind Cruz Pedregon who took the provisional top spot with a 3.967/306.53.
“It’s cool to be running threes,” said Hagan who posted the 11th sub 4-second run of the year for the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T. “It’s fast out there and sitting fourth after running 3.999 really puts it in perspective and shows you how quick the field is and how strong everyone is. To have Mopar running this new body that is really consistently laying down some fast performances is pretty cool.”
Three of the four DSR drivers, Ron Capps, Hagan and Jack Beckman, came into this weekend 1-2-3 in Funny Car points standings and have combined to take the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T to six wins and seven final round appearances in eight events this season. Only Tommy Johnson Jr., who sits seventh in the standings, hasn’t made the trip to the winner’s circle yet this season.
After setting the quickest elapsed time run (4.034 sec./306.60 mph) of the first qualifying session, Johnson posted a 4.004-second pass with the top speed of the meet at 315.27 mph to round out the top-five provisional spots just behind his teammate Hagan. The driver of the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T feels confident that a trip to the winner’s circle is close.
“Our performance has been really consistent and maybe not great but it’s been really good,” Johnson said. “We just need a little bit to get us over the hump. We’re not looking for a tenth of a second. We just need a hundredth or two and a few breaks to go our way. We aren’t discouraged but we’re so close that we can feel it and almost reach out and touch it. We just have to keep working and fighting for that last little bit.”
“I’ve won at Englishtown (2007) and the year I won it I was No. 1 qualifier and had the low elapsed time every round and just dominated the weekend,” Johnson added. “To come out this weekend and be on top of the timing sheets in the first session reminded me that I’ve done this before and it’s a boost of confidence. It gives you a little momentum and a positive mental feeling that we have the car to do it.”
Beckman, who drove his Infinite Hero Dodge Charger R/T to a record four-straight 3-second runs at the previous NHRA Nationals event in Kansas and has seven of the team’s eleven 3-second passes this season so far, ran a respectable 4.004/313.73 to sit seventh in provisional qualifying.
Funny Car points leader, Ron Capps ran a 4.015/313.58 in his 2015 Dodge Charger R/T to sit ninth on the qualifying sheets with two more sessions to go in preparation for Sunday’s elimination rounds.
In Pro Stock qualifying, Allen Johnson has seen some improvement with the performance of the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart since beginning a collaboration with four-time Super Stock world champion and Pro Stock national event winner, Greg Stanfield, two races ago in Atlanta. Stanfield is back in the Mopar camp this weekend, but Johnson acknowledges that the team may be playing a bit safe.
“We are being just a bit too conservative,” said Johnson who ran a 6.550/212.63 in the first session and improved to 6.534/212.46 in the second to sit eighth behind provisional No.1 qualifier Erica Enders-Stevens (6.508/213.06). “We’ve picked up a little and we’ll keep digging.”
Johnson was the top qualifier at Englishtown last year, won the national title in 2011, and finished runner-up in 2006 and 2013. A win this weekend would give the team their first title win of the 2015 season and would help Johnson reach a milestone of 400 career round wins in this his 20th year of competing in the Pro Stock Class.
Fellow Dodge Dart driver V. Gaines didn’t get in any clean runs but posted a 7.086/209.52 in his first attempt, then a quick move toward the centerline forced him to abandon the second pass to sit 14th on the Pro Stock timing sheets, but will try it again in Saturday’s qualifying sessions.
Television coverage for the 46th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, the ninth of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, will begin with a two hour qualifying broadcast from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park on ESPN2 this Saturday, June 6, starting at 11 p.m. ET. Three hours of eliminations coverage will air on ESPN2 this Sunday, June, starting at 11 p.m. ET.
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