Hagan, Brown, Edwards, Krawiec tops at Maple Grove

Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan clocked in with the fourth quickest pass in NHRA Funny Car history to take the provisional pole for Sundays 27th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec also took the provisional no. 1 qualifier spot in their respective divisions.

With the possibility of rain in the forecast threatening to wash out all of Saturdays qualifying sessions, teams went all out during Friday’s session to try and lock themselves into the field for Sunday’s money rounds. The extra effort combined with cool track temperatures resulted in record-breaking runs across the board.

Following up his record-setting performance two weeks ago at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., Hagan clicked off a 4.012 second pass at 316.67 mph in the days final session to take the provisional pole, knocking teammate Johnny Gray from the top of the ladder and moving into a tie with points leader Mike Neff.

“This is phenomenal," Hagan said. “We have a long ways to go to catch up to 'Superman' (Mike Neff) with Cruz (Pedregon) and all the other guys knocking on the door, so we're going to keep our fingers and toes crossed and stay at it.

“This is a great race track. 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."

Gray made a strong comeback in the second session, jumping from 13th to first with a run of 4.023 at 318.24 mph to break the track speed record. Gray nearly had his first career Funny Car no. 1 qualifier locked up until Hagan re-claimed the top spot in the final pairing of the session, settling for the second qualifying spot.

Ron Capps (4.059, 315.27) holds the third spot, followed by John Force (4.061, 314.31) and Neff (4.085, 312.35).

Antron Brown

Antron Brown was busy re-writing the record books as well in Top Fuel qualifying, taking the no. 1 spot with a run of 3.797 at a track record 324.44 mph to jump from third to first and bump teammate Spencer Massey from the top spot.

Larry Dixon made things close coming up as the final pairing of the session against Massey, just missing the no. 1 qualifier spot by posting a 3.798 at 320.74 mph to take the second spot. Massey held third with a 3.817, 322.27. Brandon Bernstein (3.822, 320.74) and David Grubnic (3.825, 316.60) rounded out the top five.

Mike Edwards was fastest of the Pro Stock class, topping both the track ET and speed records with an opening-session run of 6.541 at 211.66 mph, besting the mark of 6.544, 211.43 set by Greg Anderson last year.

“Actually hats off to my guys, the first run was really good. We went the wrong way on second one but the first was good," Edwards said. “We had a good first day, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m not racing the Summit guys, I’m racing whole field. The fact that we all ran the same just means there’s a lot of hard work going on. Teams are doing all they can do to go fast."

Anderson didn’t give up the track record easily, tying Edwards 6.541 during his own run in the opening session against points leader Jason Line, who also ran 6.541. However Anderson’s speed of 211.43 and Line’s 211.06 gave the honors to Edwards. Anderson and Line took second and third, respectively, followed by Rodger Brogdon (6.564, 209.95) and Erica Enders (6.570, 210.05)

Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Eddie Krawiec stomped the field in the opening round, killing the track ET and speed records with an impressive 6.826 at 197.97 mph.

“I’m excited, all I have to do here is make good clean laps down the track and we’ll be good," Krawiec said. “We left a little on the plate tonight, but it’s about making clean, good, consistent runs and showing the competitors what we’re all about."

Krawiec’s top speed was more than three miles-per-hour faster than second-place qualifier Hector Arana, who went 6.863, 194.74. Andrew Hines (6.871, 193.88) took third, followed by Hector Arana, Jr. (6.909, 195.05) and Angie Smith (6.923, 193.43)

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