BROWNSBURG, Ind. – NHRA Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan shattered both ends of the track record and took over the qualifying lead Saturday at the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the world’s most prestigious drag race, the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Series.
Rain wiped away Saturday’s second qualifying session as competitors made one qualifying run for the second straight day. The final two qualifying sessions are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Eliminations are set for Monday at 11 a.m.
Rain showers also moved the final two rounds of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel to Sunday and they will now take place at the start of Top Fuel’s regularly scheduled qualifying times. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will take place during its regularly scheduled time on Sunday.
After the three-hour rain delay, Hagan powered his 8,000-horsepower Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger to a leading performance of 4.007 seconds at 319.22 mph in considerably cooler conditions. Hagan, who has four wins in 2013, would gain his fourth No. 1 qualifier of 2013 and 14th of his career if the run holds. The 2011 Funny Car world champion is also seeking his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory.
“It was an incredible run and it was an awesome deal to be able to do that at Indy,” Hagan said. “It was worth the wait for us. It’s just been a phenomenal year and it was cool to see the fans so pumped after that. My team does an amazing job and I’m so glad we could set the track record here.”
Johnny Gray went 4.012 at 312.13 in his Pitch Energy Dodge Charger to take over the second spot while Del Worsham jumped to third after he powered his DHL Toyota Camry to a 4.045 at 313.15. Worsham is currently 11th in the points standings and trails Robert Hight by 30 points for the 10th and final spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
Hagan will meet Tim Wilkerson in the first round of the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Sunday.
“What an awesome car Dickie (Venables, crew chief) gave us and we’re really fired up for the Traxxas Shootout (Sunday),” Hagan said. “It’s going to take a really good car to beat us right now.”
In the first round of the Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout, top seed Shawn Langdon squeezed out a holeshot victory over Brittany Force, running 3.874 at 316.60 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster. He will meet Antron Brown in the semifinals after the defending world champion knocked off Langdon’s Al-Anabi teammate Khalid alBalooshi with a 3.985 at 301.67 in his Matco Tools dragster.