Matt Hagan gets his kicks on John Force at Route 66
Magneti Marelli Dodge driver Matt Hagan has taken a hard fought win at Route 66 Raceway in Chicago, the latest round of the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Funny Car Series, beating home John Force who made his third final in succession.
In one of the finals of the year, Hagan tore down the strip in a 4.06 second pass to Force’s 4.113 in the Castrol GTX Mustang – his slowest run of the weekend.
Force came through an odd moment in the semi-final when his parachute was caught up in top qualifier Ron Capps’ NAPA machine. Both cars survived the incident without damage (see video below).
To take his third Wally of season 2013, Hagan had to get around his team-mates Johnny Gray and Jack Beckman and then Bob Tasca III in the semi-finals, a tough task in anyone’s language. Force defeated Tony Pedregon, Del Worsham and Capps in his path through to the final. Last round winner, Courtney Force was eliminated in round one by Tim Wilkerson.
During qualifying, Capps set the third quickest pass in Funny Car history on the 1000 feet (300m) distance, a 3.988 second pass at 516.4kph (320.88mph).
By virtue of his good run of late, Force has advanced from 10th to third in the points standings.
The intense Top Fuel Mello Yello Championship race continued at Route 66 with Tony Schumacher also joining the three time winners club in 2013 when he got home over Clay Millican who was aiming for his first NHRA Top Fuel win.
“It seems as though everyone gets their first Top Fuel victory against me, but it wasn’t going to happen today,” a jubilant Schumacher said post race. “I don’t care where Clay gets his first win, as long as it isn’t against me here at my home track and when I’m in the points lead!”
The track record fell twice during qualifying as Morgan Lucas set the quickest time then was taken out in the first round by Terry McMillen.
Second top qualifier Schumacher got to the final by getting around Australian Dave Grubnic (who qualified 15th), Khalid alBalooshi and Championship aspirant Antron Brown.
Millican arrived at the showdown by defeating Leah Pruett, Doug Kalitta and Terry McMillen.
One of Schumacher’s main Championship rivals, Shawn Langdon was eliminated in the first round by Steve Torrence.
Australian team Rapisarda Autosport International made the field by Larry Dixon qualifying 12th but was eliminated by Kalitta in the first round.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. took his second win of the 2013 season beating home Greg Anderson in the Pro Stock car final, moving to second in the points standings.
Coughlin beat Rodger Brogdon, Jason Line and last round winner Allen Johnson in his path to victory, whilst Anderson had to negotiate V Gaines, Erica Enders-Stevens and Mike Edwards.
“When I let out the clutch, the car didn’t feel the best that it had all day, and by the time I got into second and third gear I was just cracking the whip on the thing as hard as I could,” said Coughlin. “I didn’t know that Greg was struggling next to me, but to see that win light come on in my lane and to have such a huge win here feels amazing.”
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Michael Ray took his second victory of the season and third of all time in the Pro Stock Motorcycle final, defeating his former team owner, Matt Smith.
He defeated John Hall, Scotty Pollachek and Hector Arana in his advance to the final, whilst top qualifier Smith had to ride by Eddie Kraewic, LE Tonglet and Hector Arana Jr., the latter pair aiding Smith’s path by red lighting.
Ray’s reaction time in the final was outstanding – leaving the line just 0.08 of a second after the light went green!
The next round of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is next weekend at Norwalk, Ohio for the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals as the charge to the Countdown intensifies.
VIDEO: John Force gets hooked up with Ron Capps: