Matt Hagan was part of another record-setting day at Virginia Motorsports Park, making the hilariously fastest car in track history on Saturday to qualify for the #1 Virginia NHRA Nationals.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified in seventh of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
Track records were set in all three categories, with Hagan running 3.853 seconds at 331.45 mph in his 11,000-hp Smithfield Brand Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, leading the way in Funny Car. It gives the leader and outstanding driver Tony Stewart Racing his second place this season and 44th place in his career. This is also the start of Hagan’s 300th career as he looks to win a third time in 2022 with Tony Stewart Racing’s first-year team.
“What a good job the guys on the track and safari safety did to put a great racetrack under us so we were able to save a lot there,” said Hagan. “I can’t say enough about this race car. This was probably the best start to my NHRA career and (crew chief) Dickie Venables (assistant crew chief) Mike Knudsen and (car chief) Alex Conway and all the people who put this thing on Together they do an amazing job.
Everyone asks, ‘How’s Tony doing? How does Tony work? And I’ve always wanted to win myself but Tony is the kind of guy you want to win for. You look at all the things he did and it’s just a thing of respect. You want a man to be proud of you. You are ready to make things happen. This Smithfield car works hard.”
World title holder Ron Caps climbed to second with a solid lead during the second qualifying session, scoring 3,864 at 332.75. Alexis DeJoria finished third with a score of 3,896 at 326.95.
At Top Fuel, the Force topped Friday’s record twice on Saturday, finishing 3,654 at 333.33 on its 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac bike. She broke her own ET record a day ago, giving the points leader her second playoff of the season and 34th place in her career. She’ll be heading to the Eliminations for her third win of the season and with great momentum, setting the ET track record three times during qualifying and making the fastest race in track history with her 335.82 blast on Friday.
“This has been great for the Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac team, getting better and better with each stroke,” Force said. “Now the hard part is doing it tomorrow (during the playoffs). It’s going to be tough, but as long as we can do some consistent running all day tomorrow, I think we should be in good shape. I have confidence in this team and I trust myself to walk on this.” The track. This is one of the best tracks we’ve been on. It’s smooth and felt fast, so we were really happy with it.”
Austin Brook momentarily set a track record before running the Force, coming in at 3,672 at 326.87 to qualify for second after teammate John Force Racing. Four-times defending champion Steve Torrens finished third with 3,683 at 327.51, while Clay Millikan posted the fastest streak of the last lap with 3,698 at 325.45.
After setting the records on Friday in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Smith followed it up with 6,756 quickest in 201.37 on Denso Auto Parts Buell during the second qualifying session, as well as setting the speed record she had initially set the day before. The third session in class was canceled due to weather conditions.
For Smith, it’s her second career No. 1 qualifier because she’s still the only rider to hit the 200 mph at Virginia Motorsports Park. It’s after her first win of the 2022 season.
“I knew the bike had more,” Smith said. Matt (Smith) didn’t think it was going to go that fast, but the bike went off the line really well. I saw Angelle (Sampey) running that 6.78 and I knew this bike was on her. I couldn’t be more proud of my team and the work they do. It’s It’s all about momentum and continuing to make good runs at the moment. We’ll keep trying to do what we’ve been doing. It’s a humble sport, so we have to stay focused.”
Angelle Sambi climbed to second in the same session with a score of 6,786 at 199.52, while points leader Steve Johnson, who won consecutive races, qualified for third with a score of 6,826 at 198.12 from Friday.
In the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing series presented by D-Wagon, Kris Thorne took first place with his ProCharger-powered Camaro. The weekend race is powered by LAT Racing Oils. Thorne is the leader in terms of wins in the first two races of the season.
The NHRA Nationals’ eliminations begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Sunday’s first round pairs for the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals Eliminations at Virginia Motorsports Park, seventh of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. The pairs are based on the results of the playoffs that ended on Saturday. DNQs are listed below pairs.
fuel top – 1. Brittany Force, 3.654 seconds, 333.33 mph vs. Pai; 2. Austin Brook, 3.672, 326.87 for 15. Lex John, 4.161, 215.41; 3. Steve Torrens, 3.683, 327.51 against 14. Scott Palmer, 3.870, 302.08; 4. Clay Millikan, 3.698, 325.45 vs. 13. Josh Hart, 3.842, 256.45; 5. Mike Salinas 3.700, 330.39 against 12. Antron Brown, 3.828, 324.90. 6. Justin Ashley 3.700, 325.85 vs. 11. Tony Schumacher 3.758, 321.50. 7. Doug Kalita 3.703, 328.78 vs 10. Leah Pruitt 3.754, 318.92. 8. Shawn Langdon 3.724, 308.71 against 9. Doug Foley 3.733, 318.69.
funny car – 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.853, 331.45 vs Bay; 2. Rune Caps, Toyota Supra, 3.864, 332.75 for 15. Mike McIntyre, Toyota Camry, 8.573, 79.85; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.896, 326.95 for 14. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 8.165, 91.14; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.905, 323.27 against 13. Phil Burkart, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.543, 103.13; 5. JR Todd, Supra, 3.906, 329.18 v 12. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.099, 323.58; 6. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.929, 323.35 against 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.019, 310.77; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.938, 322.96 against 10. Robert Haight, Camaro, 4.017, 270.64; 8. Del Cressi Jr., Charger, 3.974, 319.07 for 9. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.975, 305.22.
Pro Stock Motorcycles – 1. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.756, 201.37 opposite eBay; 2. Angel Sambi, Suzuki, 6.786, 199.52 for 15. Gianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 7.147, 178.52; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki 6.826, 198.12 for 14. Lance Bonham, Boyle 7.147, 187.44; 4. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.827, 199.32 for 13. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 7.068, 189.58; 5. Jim Anderdahl, Suzuki, 6,828, 197.28 for 12. Kelly Klontz, Suzuki, 6,988, 192.91; 6. Karen Stover, Suzuki 6.843, 198.00 for 11. Ryan Ohler, EBR, 6.932, 198.15; 7. Mark Injursen (EBR) 6.858, 197.57 for 10. Ron Turnau Victory 6.925, 190.14. 8. Eddie Krawick, Suzuki 6.868, 196.79 for 9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki 6.875, 195.25.