Coughlin, Force & Hagan Are No. 1 Qualifiers Again

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Coughlin, Force & Hagan
Jeg Coughlin Jr. couldn't have had a better start to the NHRA season. (NHRA Photo)

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Jeg Coughlin Jr. continued his perfect season at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, taking home the No. 1 qualifying spot for the second consecutive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) also raced to the No. 1 qualifying spot in their respective classes after a rain-delayed day at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, with the fourth qualifying session being cancelled due to weather.

The trio were also No. 1 qualifiers at the season opener in Pomona.

Coughlin has dominated the season so far, having taken home the No. 1 qualifying position and event win in Pomona two weeks ago.

Saturday qualifying in Phoenix was no different after Coughlin rocketed to the top with a pass of 6.536-seconds at 208.52 mph. The five-time Pro Stock world champion is currently embarking on his “Breaking Barriers Tour,” announcing that he will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2020 season.

He will race rookie Marty Robertson in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

“I think coming into the weekend here we were obviously riding right off of back-to-back Pomona wins,” said Coughlin. “Coming into this weekend as the defending champion kind of gave us another little feather in our cap. The team has been aggressive. We’ve been very fortunate our car has been performing really, really well. From behind the wheel, I can tell you we have quite a rocket. It feels amazing.

“I think that gives us a lot of confidence going into race day.”

Coughlin’s teammate Erica Enders sits in the second position with a 6.554-second pass at 208.33, with Aaron Stanfield close behind in third after going 6.567 seconds at 207.69.

In Top Fuel, Force stole the top spot away from Steve Torrence after posting a 3.670-second pass at 327.11 in her Flav-R-Pac dragster. Saturday’s No. 1 qualifier marks Force’s second No. 1 of the season and the 20th of her career.

Force is looking to take home her first win at Phoenix, set to face off against Terry Totten in the opening round of eliminations.

“We were trying to run a little bit quicker than that,” Force said. “That was barely around Torrence, but we stole the No. 1 spot. We got our second (green No. 1 qualifier) hat of the season. Really what our plan is, is to go out and win on race day. We’ve been consistent all weekend long with the three runs that we’ve had, but we need to do the same thing all day long tomorrow. It’s consistency. We made some mistakes carrying it over on race day a couple of weeks ago in Pomona, but we’re ready for race day.

“We’re ready to go out and hopefully win the thing.”

Reigning Top Fuel champion Torrence sits in a close second after a run of 3.671 seconds at 326.48. Leah Pruett rounds out the top three with a pass of 3.680 seconds at 328.06.

Matt Hagan topped Funny Car qualifying for the second-straight race. (Marc Gewertz/NHRA photo)

Hagan finds himself in the No. 1 spot for the second race in a row this season with a run of 3.859-seconds at 331.61 in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Saturday’s No. 1 qualifier marks Hagan’s 38th career start from the No. 1 spot and his second pole at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Hagan will face off against Jeff Diehl in the opening round of eliminations.

“We have a really great race car,” said Hagan. “It’s driving well and it’s handling well. The car has been really performing. I’m just really excited about tomorrow. We’re going to have great weather on race day and we’re going to get after it. Dicky (Venables, crew chief) is one of those guys that really rises to the occasion all the time. When you’re strapped in that car and the conditions are right he can really throw down and always put you right where you need to be. Not a lot of guys out there can really say that.”

Following close behind Hagan is John Force in second, after posting a 3.861-second pass at 331.94. In the third spot is Robert Hight after a pass of 3.867 seconds at 330.55.