BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Matt Hagan set both ends of the Funny Car track record on Friday of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also lead qualifying in their respective categories at the 18th of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Hagan ran a 3.799-second pass at 338.77 mph in his Mopar Express Lanes Dodge Charger R/T during the first of three qualifying days and first of five qualifying sessions.
“What a fun run to hang onto,” Hagan said. “The car was out there digging and it’s floating and it’s hunting around. I made a couple corrections but was trying to not do too many. It’s fun to be able to do something like that. I’m just glad to be out there and to be able to do something like that. These cars are just awesome to drive. It’s kind of a throw down right now in qualifying.”
Holding the second position is Robert Hight with a 3.827 pass at 330.96 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS. Following Hight are teammates Courtney Force, in third, and John Force, in fourth.
Pritchett set the Top Fuel track elapsed-time record with her 3.667 pass at 329.50 in her Papa John’s dragster.
“We’ve been preparing for this even missing our Indy test session a couple of different reasons,” said Pritchett who also holds the national elapsed-time record. “Having the confidence and the momentum from Brainerd knowing that this is the coolest session, it feels good. Obviously there’s no guarantee and it’s very much provisional.”
Doug Kalitta is second in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.682 pass at 329.42. Antron Brown, the three-time and reigning world champion, is qualified third in his special edition Matco Tools / Mello Yello dragster commemorating the extension of the Coca-Cola and NHRA partnership. Brown ran a 3.689 at 329.42 in his new paint scheme that was unveiled during Friday qualifying.
Pro Stock rookie Gray holds the No. 1 spot after his 6.566 pass at 209.88 in his Gray Motorsports / Valvoline Chevy Camaro. He is the youngest of three generations of Grays racing at the event marking the first time there have been three generations in the same category at a national NHRA event.
“It’s just cool to be able to go out there and race with my dad and grandpa,” Gray said. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to do anything with my grandpa like this. It’s a lot of fun and I know he’s having fun. The guys on my car are just doing what we usually do. They’re putting me under a great race car and I’m doing an okay job driving it and it shows out there.”
Greg Anderson is in the No. 2 position with his 6.568 pass at 210.31 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Drew Skillman is third with a 6.571 pass at 210.31 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro and points leader Bo Butner is fourth.
Defending event winner Andrew Hines is at the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle order with a 6.825 pass a 194.74 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“We needed this cool weather because our guys have been burning it up so much at the shop trying to figure out what we need to do,” Hines said. “The last two weeks have been completely grueling but the guys at Vance & Hines never stop digging and we never stop striving to get to that next level. Right now, we’re real happy putting our street rods one and two. It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, literally.”
Hines’ teammate Eddie Krawiec matched Hines with a 6.825 at a slower speed of 193.57 for the second spot and reigning world champion Jerry Savoie is in third.