Hagan Is Early Leader In Brainerd Funny Car Qualifying

Matt Hagan paced Funny Car qualifying Friday at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. (NHRA Photo)
Matt Hagan is hoping to continue his late-season hot streak. (NHRA Photo)

BRAINERD, Minn. – Matt Hagan leads the pack in Funny Car at Brainerd Int’l Raceway, powering to the top qualifying spot on Friday during the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 17th of 24 races during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

The event is also the one of the last chances for drivers to secure a place in NHRA’s playoffs, the Countdown to the Championship, so the fight for qualifying points is fierce.

Hagan went 3.890 seconds at 328.46 mph in his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car. If it holds, Hagan would earn his first No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 35th in his career. Jack Beckman drove to the second spot and Robert Hight sits in third.

“Rolling here and having two great laps off the bat, there’s a lot of confidence right now,” said Hagan. “The car was digging early, and I knew it was on a good run but you’re trying not to oversteer it either and let it settle back into the groove. Dickie (Venables, Crew Chief) has a lot of confidence in the combo that we’ve got; the window’s a lot bigger right now and this is the momentum we need to head into the countdown.”

Top Fuel’s Torrence put up a strong blast of 3.738 seconds at 328.70 mph to go to No. 1 in his Capco Contractors dragster. It would be his fourth No. 1 of the year and 23rd in his career if it holds. Mike Salinas is second and Leah Pritchett is third.

In Pro Stock, local favorite Line went 6.606 seconds at 207.27 mph to take the provisional No. 1 spot in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. If it holds, Line would gain his 55th No. 1 qualifier and his second of the season. Erica Enders is right behind in second, while Deric Kramer is third.