Hagan, Billy Torrence, Anderson earn No. 1 qualifiers for New England Nationals

Following the Friday qualifying session at New England Dragway, Matt Hagan, Billy Torrence and Greg Anderson looked to continue their momentum heading into Saturday afternoon for two rounds of qualifying.

Funny Car

Don Schumacher Racing driver, Matt Hagan, kept his No. 1 qualifying in a good solid race against John Force. Hagan got off the starting line ahead of Force and actually was starting to lose traction near the start/finish line.

Despite losing traction to Force, Hagan powered to 3.929 seconds and 326.95 mph in the third round of qualifying to secure his first No. 1 qualifier of the 2021 season and the 41st of his career.

The qualifying run from Friday night of 3.771 seconds and 331.53 mph was ultimately what helped Hagan keep the top spot.

“With (crew chief) Dickie Venables, it’s just a matter of time,” said Hagan, who is seeking his first victory of 2021 as well. “We’ve struggled a couple of races here and there trying some things, but Dickie is tired of messing around and he’s like, ‘Let’s go get it.’ I’m excited about tomorrow. We’ve won three races in a row here and we want to make it four. It’s going to be tough to do, but we’re going to try to see if we can do it.”

Hagan will have a bye run and will automatically advance into the second round. The Don Schumacher Racing driver is looking for his fourth consecutive win at the New England Dragway Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, after a wild run on Friday night, Cruz Pedregon, who originally wasn’t locked into the show, made a run of 3.972 seconds and 326.71 mph to put him sixth on the board. Pedregon’s first-round opponent will be the No. 9 qualifier of J.R. Todd.

“I want to give it to JC (John Collins, Pedregon’s Crew Chief) and the team,” Pedregon said about his qualifying run. “They’re really giving me a good car. The Snap-On car is running better all the time. If I fight to keep up with the car, which I know I can, we’ll have a good car here soon.”

Top Fuel

In Top Fuel, Billy Torrence’s run from Friday also secured him his second No. 1 qualifier of the 2021 season with a time of 3.744 seconds and 324.98 mph. The run gave Torrence and the CAPCO team the fifth No. 1 qualifier of his career.

Torrence has had some solid runs this year making the quarter round four times but has yet to make a semi-final appearance.

“These boys have had me in a good car all year,” said Torrence, who has six career victories. “I just have to step up my game and get in there, and get from point A to point B faster than everyone else.”

He will face the No. 12 qualifier, Joe Morrison, in the first round Sunday morning. Speaking of Morrison, he nearly had a scary moment during his burnout process. The parachute came out the back end when Morrison was doing his burnout. He began backing up while the chute was still on the ground. Had Morrison ran over the chute, the chute would have caused major damage to his Top Fuel dragster. Fortunately, his crew was able to get Morrison to stop before running over the chute.

Pro Stock

The current Pro Stock Championship Points leader Greg Anderson won the No. 1 qualifier for the 111th time of his career Saturday after three rounds of qualifying in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson went 6.526-seconds and 209.10 mph to give him his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the 2021 season. The qualifying run was an emotional one for Anderson, as he wants to bring a Wally home to Mr. Hendrick.

“I certainly can’t complain,” said Anderson, a two-time winner at New England Dragway. “It’s pretty much a dream scenario to start the season. I’ve made a couple of mistakes on the driver end, otherwise, we could a seriously good run going already, but I’ve got a lot of time yet to win some races out here. This car has been pretty bad to the bone all year and it’s a beautiful-looking car. I really want to present that first drag racing trophy to Mr. Hendrick and I can’t think of a better weekend to get that job done.”

Anderson is scheduled to face No. 16 qualifier John Gaydosh in the first round Sunday.

As a reminder, Pro Stock Motorcycles are not scheduled to run as this event is not on their 2021 schedule.

Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET Sunday with coverage on NHRA.TV(subscription service). FOX TV will pick up live eliminations at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Top Fuel — 1. Billy Torrence, 3.744 seconds, 324.98 mph vs. 12. Joe Morrison, 6.746, 103.36; 2. Mike Salinas, 3.771, 321.35 vs. 11. Buddy Hull, 5.185, 135.82; 3. Justin Ashley, 3.774, 322.58 vs. 10. Leah Pruett, 3.927, 278.92; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.785, 320.13 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.852, 295.72; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.788, 320.51 vs. 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.811, 314.53; 6. Antron Brown, 3.792, 323.89 vs. 7. Brittany Force, 3.798, 319.82.

Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.891, 331.53 vs. Bye; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.927, 324.59 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 4.876, 161.36; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.929, 326.95 vs. 12. Cory Lee, Mustang, 4.306, 265.27; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.962, 323.97 vs. 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.081, 314.75; 5. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.963, 320.58 vs. 10. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.992, 325.53; 6. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.969, 326.71 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.976, 324.05; 7. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.972, 322.04 vs. 8. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.974, 320.89.

Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.526, 209.10 vs. 16. John Gaydosh Jr, Camaro, 6.841, 201.37; 2. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.538, 210.28 vs. 15. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.631, 208.97; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.545, 210.83 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.625, 208.33; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.545, 210.14 vs. 13. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.595, 209.14; 5. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.551, 210.37 vs. 12. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.586, 210.01; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.552, 209.62 vs. 11. Richie Stevens, Camaro, 6.585, 210.50; 7. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.554, 210.28 vs. 10. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.583, 209.59; 8. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.578, 209.30 vs. 9. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.580, 210.28.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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