Hagan 2 for 2 in 2015
story and photos courtesy of NHRA and team reports
Matt Hagan raced to his second consecutive Funny Car victory of the season and extended his early season points lead Sunday at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Phoenix.
Event top qualifier Hagan was consistently quick all day in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T and posted the quickest run of the weekend in his final-round win over Del Worsham. Hagan posted a track record performance of 3.975 seconds at 324.83 mph to defeat Worsham’s DHL Toyota Camry, which finished in 4.010 at 318.17. It is Hagan’s third consecutive victory going back to the Auto Club NHRA Finals in November 2014. “We’ve got a killer race car and race team, so I am hoping to keep turning on those win lights,” said Hagan, the reigning Funny Car world champ, of his 16th career victory and first ever at the popular Arizona dragstrip.
“It keeps getting tougher each year and every car is so competitive,” Hagan continued. “That’s what’s so cool about this sport, it’s tough, but when you win you feel like you really did something. I am just glad to keep this [streak] going.”
Hagan's teammate Schumacher turned around his sluggish start to the season by racing to his 78th career victory in Top Fuel. Schumacher used his quickest run of the weekend in his U.S. Army dragster, a final-round performance of 3.720 at 326.56, to finish in front of Doug Kalitta’s dragster, which trailed with a 3.758 at 325.14. It was Schumacher’s fifth victory at Phoenix and the eight-time world champ moves to third in the points standings behind leader Shawn Langdon and second-place Antron Brown. Schumacher won the race from the No. 1 qualifying position and defeated Jenna Haddock, Spencer Massey and Brown in earlier rounds to advance to the final.
“I have to give the trophy, the credit, every bit of it to the team this week,” Schumacher said. “I was off. My lights were slower than they’ve been, and everything I tried to do really couldn’t fix it. [Crew chief] Mike Green and Neal [Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief] said, ‘We’ll fight through this. Just do your best.’ They give you confidence with a fast race car. I’m not going to go home and put the trophy on my shelf and feel fulfilled. It should go to Mike’s house, and he should feel fulfilled.”
Brogdon claimed his third career Pro Stock victory and first of the season by outrunning Erica Enders-Stevens in the final round. In a battle between Chevrolets, Brodgon pulled away with a 6.560 at 211.49 in his RoofTec Camaro while event No. 1 qualifier and reigning world champ Enders-Stevens trailed with a 6.640 at 205.51 in her Elite Motorsports Camaro.
To get to the final, first-time points leader Brogdon raced past Deric Kramer, rival Shane Gray and rookie sensation Drew Skillman.
It was the second time Brogdon has beaten his Houston neighbor in the final round of a national event but the first time since Enders-Stevens won the Pro Stock world title last year. Both racers are powered by Elite Performance engines, the main sponsor of Enders-Stevens' team.
"We've both got fast race cars and it was an exciting race," said Brogdon, who moved into the points lead with the win. "That's such a great group over there at Elite, and Erica is the champion and we're all very proud of her. Beating that girl isn't easy, I can promise you that. She's had my number most of the times we've raced, but I just found out that we're 2-0 against her in final rounds, so I guess that balances it out a bit.
"Everyone else in this class better watch out because Elite-powered cars are dominating right now and we're going to win a bunch more races. Hopefully that includes our group. I'd like to win several in a row. I have such a great team of dedicated guys. I'm lucky. We started off with Elite Motorsports this year and that makes everything a lot easier. This is the earliest I’ve ever won a race. It’s great to win one early and I am the points leader for the first time in my career. I think we’ve got a great opportunity this season. Everybody who follows this sport knows how hard it is to win a race. This is fantastic. My crew is telling me this car is going to be faster at Gainesville, so I think we are going to have some fun this year.
"What's crazy is we really didn't decide to race until maybe two or three weeks before Pomona," said Brogdon, who is competing this season without the help of a corporate sponsor. "We decided to run the first eight to 10 races and see how we do. Certainly winning a race against the champ will help our sponsor hunt tremendously. It shows we have the ability to run with anyone and even contend for the championship.
"It takes a lot of talent in every position on the crew, great horsepower, and a big sponsor to run at this level for an extended period of time. We've got a team helping us search for sponsors, but it's very hard to do. All I can do as a driver is try my best on the track so we draw as much attention as possible to what we're doing."
"What a great weekend for Elite Motorsports and Elite Performance," Enders-Stevens said. "It speaks volumes for our team, how hard they work and their determination for perfection. To be three of the final four cars two weeks in a row is unreal. The morale is awesome around here. It's three different groups but it's really one team.
"I know I talk about my team a lot, but that's the most important part of the puzzle. We certainly have a great group of guys, and I couldn't be more blessed to be a part of it. We're having a blast. Did I want to win? Absolutely. It's so hard to get to a final round in Pro Stock, so to give one away it sucks. I am very happy for Rodger though. We're glad to have him on board as part of our team. He had the fastest car all weekend and he deserved to win.
"We were going after it in the final. I was up on the wheel and on the Tree, and we just had an unfortunate miss in the car. It's one of those loses that kind of burns a little bit because all we had to do was get down the racetrack and we would have won. God had a better plan though, and it was Rodger's day."
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues March 12-15 with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Florida’s Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville.
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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Final finish order (1-16) at the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The race is the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
1. Tony Schumacher; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Antron Brown; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Richie Crampton; 6. J.R. Todd; 7. Brittany Force; 8. Spencer Massey; 9. Dave Connolly; 10. Leah Pritchett; 11. Terry McMillen; 12. Jenna Haddock; 13. Troy Buff; 14. Steve Torrence; 15. Larry Dixon; 16. Clay Millican.
1. Matt Hagan; 2. Del Worsham; 3. Robert Hight; 4. Alexis DeJoria; 5. Courtney Force; 6. Chad Head; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Cruz Pedregon; 9. John Hale; 10. Jack Beckman; 11. Shane Westerfield; 12. Tim Wilkerson; 13. Jeff Diehl; 14. Ron Capps; 15. John Force; 16. Tony Pedregon.
1. Rodger Brogdon; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens; 3. Chris McGaha; 4. Drew Skillman; 5. Jason Line; 6. Greg Anderson; 7. Shane Gray; 8. Allen Johnson; 9. Larry Morgan; 10. Jimmy Alund; 11. Matt Hartford; 12. Vincent Nobile; 13. Joey Grose; 14. V. Gaines; 15. Jonathan Gray; 16. Deric Kramer.
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Sunday's final results from the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The race is the second of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Tony Schumacher, 3.720 seconds, 326.56 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 3.758 seconds, 325.14 mph.
Funny Car -- Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.975, 324.83 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.010, 318.17.
Pro Stock -- Rodger Brogdon, Chevy Camaro, 6.560, 211.49 def. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.640, 205.51.
Competition Eliminator -- Justin Lamb, Cobalt, 7.972, 172.43 def. Alan Ellis, '23-T Ford, 6.529, 207.08.
Super Stock -- Phil Unruh, Cobalt, 8.525, 155.22 def. Don Thomas, Grand Am, 10.078, 131.56.
Stock Eliminator -- Kyle Seipel, Camero, 11.020, 106.34 def. Kyle Rizzoli, Camaro, 10.386, 117.60.
Super Comp -- Glenn Kern, Dragster, 8.912, 168.96 def. Steve Williams, Dragster, 8.949, 166.42.
Super Gas -- Bernie Polvadore, Grand Prix, 9.912, 163.45 def. Brad Pierce, Corvette, 9.902, 139.00.
Top Sportsman -- Ed Olpin, Camaro, 7.272, 189.63 def. Jimmy Lewis, GXP, 6.995, 190.40.
Top Dragster -- Trevor Ritchie, Dragster, 6.815, 191.81 def. John Taylor II, Dragster, 6.944, 191.08.
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Final round-by-round results from the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
ROUND ONE -- Spencer Massey, 4.227, 312.50 def. Larry Dixon, 7.616, 91.81; Brittany Force, 3.822, 323.19 def. Steve Torrence, 6.052, 119.25; Richie Crampton, 4.090, 308.14 def. Troy Buff, 5.186, 137.12; Tony Schumacher, 3.725, 325.14 def. Jenna Haddock, 4.041, 295.40; Doug Kalitta, 3.762, 328.38 def. Clay Millican, 10.228, 84.38; J.R. Todd, 3.884, 306.46 def. Terry McMillen, 3.907, 301.60; Antron Brown, 3.760, 318.92 def. Dave Connolly, 3.782, 318.69; Shawn Langdon, 3.812, 313.80 def. Leah Pritchett, 3.860, 307.02;
QUARTERFINALS -- Langdon, 3.758, 324.59 def. Crampton, 3.755, 321.50; Kalitta, 3.770, 326.87 def. Force, 3.799, 321.81; Brown, 3.742, 319.29 def. Todd, 3.776, 311.05; Schumacher, 3.768, 320.43 def.
Massey, 5.726, 116.60;
SEMIFINALS -- Kalitta, 4.303, 242.71 def. Langdon, 4.752, 278.86; Schumacher, 3.738, 325.53 def. Brown, 3.753, 319.45;
FINAL -- Schumacher, 3.720, 326.56 def. Kalitta, 3.758, 325.14.
ROUND ONE -- Chad Head, Toyota Camry, 4.023, 316.38 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 6.670, 105.37; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.192, 273.50 def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.314, 226.96; Del Worsham, Camry, 4.037, 317.05 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.183, 303.37; Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.022, 320.13 def. Shane Westerfield, Charger, foul; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.072, 314.09 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 6.546, 115.94; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.038, 311.56 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 8.724, 77.62; Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.593, 262.44 def. John Force, Camaro, 6.713, 96.77; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.027, 311.77 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 6.260, 106.75;
QUARTERFINALS -- DeJoria, 4.082, 305.84 def. Johnson Jr., 4.202, 268.76; Worsham, 4.047, 316.38 def. Head, 4.078, 307.72; Hight, 4.069, 315.78 def. C. Force, 4.057, 315.71; Hagan, 4.058, 316.30 def. C. Pedregon, 4.380, 211.63;
SEMIFINALS -- Hagan, 4.027, 318.32 def. DeJoria, 6.389, 82.64; Worsham, 4.010, 315.78 def. Hight, 4.050, 316.23;
FINAL -- Hagan, 3.975, 324.83 def. Worsham, 4.010, 318.17.
ROUND ONE -- Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.606, 210.64 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.599, 211.20; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.588, 210.50 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 26.416, 26.94; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.567, 210.70 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 11.113, 79.58; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.591, 209.72 def. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 14.557, 66.85; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.588, 210.05 def. Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 6.615, 210.14; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.570, 211.43 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, broke; Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.575, 211.23 def. Joey Grose, Camaro, 12.073, 71.69; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.578, 210.41 def. Matt Hartford, GXP, 6.692, 209.33;
QUARTERFINALS -- McGaha, 6.599, 210.18 def. Johnson, 15.467, 54.67; Enders-Stevens, 6.570, 210.60 def. Anderson, 6.603, 210.80; Brogdon, 6.569, 211.26 def. S. Gray, 6.683, 210.14; Skillman, 6.595, 210.50 def. Line, 6.582, 210.87;
SEMIFINALS -- Enders-Stevens, 6.575, 210.67 def. McGaha, 6.935, 162.65; Brogdon, 6.554, 211.36 def. Skillman, 16.529, 50.69;
FINAL -- Brogdon, 6.560, 211.49 def. Enders-Stevens, 6.640, 205.51.
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Point standings (top 10) following the 31st annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -
1. Shawn Langdon, 200; 2. Antron Brown, 167; 3. Tony Schumacher, 165; 4. Doug Kalitta, 155; 5. Spencer Massey, 130; 6. Richie Crampton, 115; 7. Larry Dixon, 106; 8. (tie) J.R. Todd, 88; Steve Torrence, 88; 10. Brittany Force, 85.
1. Matt Hagan, 231; 2. Del Worsham, 173; 3. Robert Hight, 145; 4. Ron Capps, 129; 5. Courtney Force, 123; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., 118; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 110; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 93; 9. (tie) John Hale, 82; Chad Head, 82.
1. Rodger Brogdon, 205; 2. Erica Enders-Stevens, 184; 3. Jason Line, 178; 4. Drew Skillman, 177; 5. Chris McGaha, 130; 6. Shane Gray, 108; 7. Allen Johnson, 107; 8. Larry Morgan, 89; 9. Greg Anderson, 86; 10. Vincent Nobile, 66.