Hagan claims first No. 1 qualifier since February

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Mopar Express Lane Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan is the No. 1 qualifier on Saturday at the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. Hagan went 3.917 at 326.79 mph during his second pass on Friday night to claim the top qualifying spot.

This is his second No. 1 qualifier of the season. However, this is his first No. 1 qualifier since the season-opening race in Pomona back in February.

Matt Hagan during his Saturday qualifying in Chicago (Getty Images)

Matt Hagan during his Saturday qualifying in Chicago (Getty Images)

Hagan has only one win this season, which came at Pomona.

“We’ve had to regroup this season and make some wholesale changes, and even though it’s taken some time to get here, but I feel like our car is running strong now,” he said. “Our confidence has definitely grown, and we are blessed to have that No. 1 qualifier heading into race day.”

The two-time World Champion will face Jonnie Lindberg, the No. 16 qualifier during eliminations on Sunday. HEAD Racing Inc.’s Lindberg went 4.463 at 263.36 mph in his Ford Mustang.

NAPA Auto Parts Funny Car pilot Ron Capps is the No. 2 qualifier after he went 3.921 at 325.92 mph. He’ll face Justin Schriefer, the No. 15 qualifier, after he went 4.155 at 277.72 mph in his Dodge Charger.

Jack Beckman, the Top 3 drivers are Don Schumacher Racing pilots, is the No. 3 qualifier after he went 3.944 at 322.81 mph in his Dodge Charger. The Infinite Hero Foundation pilot will face Dale Creasy Jr., who was the No. 14 qualifier, after he went 4.112 at 314.46 mph in his Dodge Stratus.

Courtney Force, who won the last national event at Heartland Park Topeka, is the No. 4 qualifier in her Advance Auto Parts Funny Car with her 3.966 at 327.66 mph. She’ll face 7-Eleven/Oberto Beef Jerky pilot Jim Campbell, who went 4.085 at 311.13 mph in his Jim Dunn Racing Funny Car.

Cruz Pedregon, the Snap-On Funny Car pilot, is the No. 5 qualifier after going 3.969 at 320.05 mph. Pedregon, who snapped a multi-year winless streak in Charlotte three events ago, will face reigning World Champion, Robert Hight, the No. 12 qualifier, who went 4.073 at 267.85 mph.

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