Johnson, Schumacher and McGaha top qualifying at New England
New England Nationals eliminations on Sunday.
EPPING, N.H. – Tommy Johnson Jr. earned the No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car and will lead the category into Sunday's eliminations at the New England Nationals.
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) will also lead their respective categories into tomorrow’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Boston.
Johnson Jr. had the quickest run of the third session and second quickest of the fourth Saturday at New England Dragway, holding on to his top spot with his Friday best run of 4.047 seconds at 319.45 mph in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T. This is his first No. 1 since Chicago last season, first at Epping and the 11th of his career. He will face Bob Tasca III in the first round.
“Today was in my opinion more impressive than yesterday,” said Johnson Jr., who is looking for his first win of the season. “To have a car that goes out and runs 4.13 twice in the conditions we had today makes you very confident in your car.”
Two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon qualified second with a 4.052 at 306.46 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. Pedregon, who had the quickest run of the final session, races Jeff Diehl in the opening round.
John Force, a 16-time world champ and runner-up at the inaugural running of this event, qualified his PEAK Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS third with a 4.055 at 318.24, setting up a matchup with Dave Richards. Force’s youngest daughter Courtney Force qualified fourth, while teammate Robert Hight will enter race day fifth.
In Top Fuel, Schumacher ran a track-record 3.742 at 324.12 in his U.S. Army dragster on Friday night and that run held to secure his 78th career No. 1, second of the season and first at this event. Schumacher, the eight-time and defending world champ, will be paired with Morgan Lucas in the first round.
“We are getting the data we need,” Schumacher said. “Mike [Green, crew chief] and Neal [Strasbaugh, assistant crew chief] with this new car, every round they get stronger and better. It’s going down the track. We made four runs down the track and because of that we have more data.”
Two-time season winner Richie Crampton will enter eliminations as the No. 2 seed following a 3.744 at 325.92 in his Lucas Oil dragster. The reigning Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner will face Canadian Dan Mercier in the first round. Mercier is making his first Mello Yello Series start.
Shawn Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champ, qualified third after a 3.745 at 324.98 in the Bass Pro Shops/Knuckle Sandwich/AJPE Toyota dragster, earning a matchup with Terry McMillen. Steve Torrence and track speed record holder Spencer Massey qualified fourth and fifth respectively. Torrence will race Dave Connolly and Massey will meet Larry Dixon in the opener.
McGaha's third top spot
McGaha ran a 6.520 at 212.66 in his Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro during Friday’s sessions to pace the Pro Stock field. It is McGaha’s fifth career top qualifying spot and third of the season.
“It feels pretty good to start the show with signs of consistency,” said McGaha, who will have a bye into the second round. “That’s the important thing at this point. We did some experimenting today. It showed signs of improvement.”
Four-time world champ Greg Anderson qualified second in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro with a 6.521 at 213.30. Anderson, the most recent Pro Stock winner at Englishtown, will open eliminations against Alan Prusiensky.
Jason Line, a two-time world champ, enters eliminations in third after a 6.530 at 212.69 in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro and will race V. Gaines. Defending world champ Erica Enders qualified fourth and will meet John Gaydosh while No. 5 seed Vincent Nobile and Kenny Delco will face off.
EPPING, N.H. -- Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the third annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway and Motorsports Park, the 10th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.742 seconds, 324.28 mph vs. 16. Morgan Lucas, 10.229, 302.48; 2. Richie Crampton, 3.744, 325.92 vs. 15. Dan Mercier, 4.376, 295.21; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.745, 324.98 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 4.056, 305.70; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.765, 323.04 vs. 13. Dave Connolly, 3.870, 309.84; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.773, 327.66 vs. 12. Leah Pritchett, 3.861, 315.05; 6. Antron Brown, 3.784, 320.74 vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.824, 321.88; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 323.12 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.819, 320.89; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.813, 322.27 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.817, 318.17.
Funny Car -- 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.047, 319.45 vs. 16. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.650, 219.90; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.052, 308.14 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.632, 237.55; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.055, 318.24 vs. 14. Dave Richards, Solara, 4.624, 195.17; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.059, 319.45 vs. 13. Dom Lagana, Solara, 4.240, 301.87; 5. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.068, 320.13 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.187, 288.15; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.070, 318.24 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.145, 308.50; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.073, 313.66 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.095, 310.20; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.075, 309.42 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.081, 315.42.
Did Not Qualify: 17. John Hale, 4.747, 180.19.
Pro Stock -- 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.520, 212.90 vs. Bye; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.521, 213.30 vs. 15. Val Smeland, Chevy Cobalt, broke; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.530, 212.83 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.673, 209.62; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.543, 212.66 vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.643, 211.00; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.552, 212.39 vs. 12. John Gaydosh Jr, Pontiac GXP, 6.641, 209.82; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.553, 212.09 vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.602, 210.01; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.562, 211.63 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.590, 211.10; 8. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.563, 212.26 vs. 9. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.569, 212.69.
Schumacher, Johnson Jr. and McGaha top qualifying leaderboard Friday at NHRA New England Nationals
Warm temperatures hold down Force team qualifying speeds