Hagan, Mopar/Rocky Dodge Charger R/T holds pole at Las Vegas

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Antron Brown, Matco team is second heading to final Top Fuel qualifying.

LAS VEGAS - Matt Hagan holds the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T after leading both sessions of Funny Car qualifying Friday for Don Schumacher Racing at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals.

Hagan held the provisional pole after the first session with a time of 4.131 seconds at 306.74 mph under ideal conditions for fans with temperatures in the low 70s under sunny skies with only a slight breeze.

Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan

Photo by: Todd Steitle

Performances improved in the second session to the degree that by the time Hagan got his last shot of the day he had fallen to No. 11. Teammate Ron Capps was in the other lane with his NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge and had dropped from No. 2 to No. 14.

Crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Mike Knudsen stepped up to run 4.063 at 317.05 to regain the top position for Hagan heading into Saturday's last two sessions before the following day's championship eliminations that begin at 11 a.m. (PT).

Capps completed his last run in 4.075 seconds to move up to third in his quest to extend his track-record of five event titles in Funny Car.

"Dickie, with this car that we have right now, he can pretty much call the shots on it," said Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car world champion who won five titles with the car last year.

"We've been running our new car for the last three races and it's been kind of hit or miss so Dickie said let's go back to what we know. He did that and we pulled it out of the box and went straight to the top. We're just hoping to stay there.

"I love being here in Vegas. I love the track, the people. The whole thing is just a neat deal. It's nice to be able to go low in both sessions."

It was a big comeback for Matt and the team. After advancing to the championship round of the season-opener at Pomona, Calif., the Mopar/Rocky team lost in the first round at the next two NHRA events.

"Pomona was great, we thought we had it figured out when we went to the final, but at Phoenix and Gainesville we just struggled, even in qualifying."

In Top Fuel, Antron Brown and his Matco Tools team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald hold the No. 2 qualifying spot and continue to be the hottest Top Fuel team in NHRA over the past seven events.

Brown held the No. 1 spot after his second run of 3.797 seconds at 322.96, which held as the day's top speed. But in the last pair of dragsters, Steve Torrence edged Brown by two-hundredths of a second to take the provisional pole.

Brown, who ranks second in the points standings, has advanced into two of this year's three championship rounds and won the title near Phoenix in the year's second Mello Yello Series event. The 2012 Top Fuel world champion also won two of last year's final four events including the fall event at Las Vegas. He was runner-up at Las Vegas in the spring race.

Don Schumacher Racing

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Series NHRA
Article type Qualifying report
Tags antron brown, don schumacher racing, las vegas, matt hagan, nhra