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Funny Car Chargers qualify 1, 2, 3, in Reading

by Bill Cawthon on

Funny Car: Led by Matt Hagan’s hot 4.012-second ET, the fourth-fastest in NHRA Funny Car history, Dodge Chargers took the top three spots in Friday’s qualifying round at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.

“This is a great racetrack,” Hagan said following Friday’s runs. “When I’m sitting in the race car in cool, dark conditions, it runs good most of the time. Tommy [DeLago, crew chief] has a good handle on the tune-up. We’re having fun. You probably can’t tell while the car’s running, but I have a big ol’ smile underneath my helmet.”

Hagan has now tied Mike Neff for the lead in the Countdown to the Championship.

Not to be outdone, Johnny Gray turned in a personal best, and track record, speed of 318.24 miles per hour as he qualified second. Ron Capps qualified third in the NAPA Charger.

Both Hagan and Gray are running special graphics this weekend. Hagan’s Charger has a special DieHard Gold Batteries coating and Gray’s Service Central Charger is sporting bright yellow Alex’s Lemondae Stand colors.

Jack Beckman qualified tenth.

Another Dodge was entered in the Funny Car class: Mike Smith in the Ultimate Warrior Dodge Stratus showed up for the second round but failed to make the cut after losing traction in his one-and-only run.

Psn Driver Funny Car Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Matt Hagan DieHard Charger 4.012 316.67
2 Johnny Gray Service Central Charger 4.023 318.24
3 Ron Capps NAPA Charger 4.059 315.27
4 John Force Castrol GTX Mustang 4.061 314.31
5 Mike Neff Ford Drive One Mustang 4.085 312.35
6 Tim Wilkerson Levi Ray & Shoup Mustang 4.085 307.16
7 Robert Hight Auto Club Mustang 4.090 312.21
8 Jeff Arend DHL Solara 4.094 311.63
9 Cruz Pedregon Snap-On Solara 4.095 305.42
10 Jack Beckman Aaron’s/Valvoline Charger 4.103 313.22
11 Jim Head Head Racing Solara 4.104 300.40
12 Bob Tasca III Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang 4.142 306.95
    Did Not Qualify    
13 Blake Alexander Monte Carlo 4.182 267.48
14 Dale Creasy Jr. Tek Pak Inc. Impala SS 4.393 289.20
15 Tony Pedregon Nitro Fish Impala SS 4.546 277.83
16 Leah Pruett ProCare RX Toyota 7.941 80.91
17 Mike Smith Ultimate Warrior Motorsports Stratus 8.333 73.78
18 Terry Haddock Acme Refining Solara 9.438 96.76
19 Paul Lee Jim Dunn/Rislone/Bars Leaks Impala SS NT NS

Pro Stock: Decent passes from Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines had all the Dodges in the field after the first of qualifying. No improvement in the second round and Gaines’ first round time was no longer good enough to dodge the cut.

Psn Driver Pro Stock Sponsor & Car ET Speed
1 Mike Edwards Penhall/K&N/Interstate GXP 6.541 211.66
2 Greg Anderson Summit Racing Equipment GXP 6.541 211.43
3 Jason Line Summit Racing Equipment GXP 6.541 211.06
4 Rodger Brogdon The Edge GXP 6.564 209.95
5 Erica Enders ZaZa Energy Cobalt 6.570 210.05
6 Allen Johnson Mopar/J & J Racing Avenger 6.571 210.97
7 Vincent Nobile Mountain View Tire Avenger 6.579 210.93
8 Larry Morgan Lucas Oil/Summit Mustang 6.584 209.69
9 Ron Krisher Valvoline GXP 6.585 209.82
10 Ronnie Humphrey Genuine Hot Rod Hardware GXP 6.588 209.52
11 Kurt Johnson Total Seal GXP 6.592 209.88
12 Greg Stanfield Nitro Fish GXP 6.592 208.81
    Did Not Qualify    
13 Shane Gray Service Central GXP 6.598 209.85
14 Warren Johnson K&N Filters GXP 6.599 209.04
15 V. Gaines Kendall Oil Avenger 6.608 209.20
16 Buddy Perkinson Wealth Mgt Strategies/AXA Mustang 6.619 208.07
17 Bob Benza BNB Racing GXP 6.628 208.04
18 Mark Martino Desantis Crane Service GXP 6.674 206.89
19 Grace Howell Cunningham Sand & Gravel Mustang 6.682 206.92
20 Frank Gugliotta F5 Motorsports Mustang 6.719 204.85

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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