By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T pilot Matt Hagan picked up the first Funny Car No. 1 qualifier of the season. He got the top spot at the 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Pomona, California.
Hagan went 3.822 at 336.31 in his second qualifying session on Saturday. The 336.32 mph pass was a track record.
This is his first No. 1 qualifier of the season. He had four No. 1 qualifiers last season and this is his 31st No. 1 qualifier of his career.
“I can’t say enough about Dickie Venables [crew chief], he’s worth his weight in gold,” he said. “My team does what it has to in order to make those big numbers pop up on the board, and it shows how smart these crew chiefs really are.”
Hagan will face Jim Dunn Racing’s pilot Jim Campbell in the first-round of eliminations on Sunday. Campbell, the No. 16 qualifier, went 4.059 at 311.91 mph in his best pass in his Jim Dunn Racing/7-Eleven Dodge Charger.
Robert Hight, the reigning Funny Car champion, is the No. 2 qualifier following his 3.850 at 334.24 mph pass in his Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car. Hight will face “The Surfer” Jeff Diehl, who went 4.059 at 313.58 mph in his Jeff Diehl Racing Funny Car.
Jack Beckman is the No. 3 qualifier following his 3.860 at 332.84 mph pass in his Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Car. He’ll face Bob Tasca III, who is in his first race as a full-time driver in several years, went 3.984 at 322.50 mph.
Courtney Force is the No. 4 qualifier in her Advance Auto Parts Funny Car with her 3.877 at 328.94 mph pass. She’ll face Head Racing’s Jonnie Lindberg in the first-round of eliminations on Sunday after he went 3.950 at 322.58 mph.
Ron Capps, piloting his NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car, is the No. 5 qualifier with his 3.882 at 331.12 mph pass. He’ll face Global Electronic Technology Funny Car pilot Shawn Langdon, who will be making his first eliminations start in a Funny Car after making an offseason switch from the Top Fuel Dragster, going 3.949 at 328.06 mph.
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