NHRA: Ashlay, Hagan and Glenn score in Winternationals

Justin Ashley completed a double-double weekend at appropriately-named In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, following his win in Saturday’s  Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge with a Top Fuel win Sunday. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) also collected wins at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, the third race of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, All three winners also are the new points leaders.

Top Fuel

The Top Fuel final was a rematch of last year’s Winternationals money round and went the same way, with Ashley, winner last weekend of the NHRA Arizona Nationals, turning on the win light ahead of Austin Prock, 3.71 to 3.73, for his seventh career win and his second on the weekend after winning the Mission Challenge on Saturday.

“I’m not sure that it gets any better than this,” said Ashley. “I think it was just really an incredible job top to bottom. To win any race is special, and then to be able to win two races in a row, with the Mission Foods Challenge in between, is just amazing.

Justin Ashley

“I have a lot of respect for Austin. I think he does a great job on the starting line. He’s a great driver, but I think I’d be doing my team a disservice to my team if I was focused on what’s going on in the other lane. We’re just focused on doing the very best that we can and focus on and doing everything I can to go A to B as straight and as quick as possible”

Ashley, the No. 1 qualifier, came into the event on a hot streak, then ran his string of win lights nine by defeating Krista Baldwin and, after a second-round bye, Antron Brown, running a pair of 3.71s and a 3.74 to reach his 13th Top Fuel final, where he collected his 10th straight round win.

Prock, runner-up at the 2022 season finale in Pomona, reached his seventh career final round from the distant No. 12 spot. Prock, who won his first career Top Fuel title in Seattle in 2019 from the No. 12 spot, started there again and worked his way past Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon, and teammate Brittany Force with a pair of 3.73s sandwiched around an off-pace 3.82 in round two,

Funny Car

Hagan collected career win No. 45 by defeating reigning world champ Ron Capps with a 3.96. Capps had to click it off early after his car veered toward the centerline. Hagan won his fourth at the Winternationals title and his seventh at the famed Pomona track.

Matt Hagan

Hagan, at the wheel of his Dickie Venables-tuned Haas Automation/Tony Stewart Racing Dodge, qualified just 10th but found his mojo on Sunday, ripping off passes of 3.92 and a pair of 3.95s to defeat Blake Alexander, Alexis DeJoria, and upset-minded Terry Haddock, who was appearing in just his second career semifinal.

“It’s a great day when you can go from 10th and win the race,” said Hagan. “I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘We’ve got a little bit of a hill to climb,’ and it was just one of those deals where as things progressed, and as the car goes down the racetrack, you get more confident,. Just to watch what Dickie does out there on the racetrack … there’s very few weekends that that guy doesn’t impress me.

“Funny Car, it’s tough, you know what I mean? And that’s why today, I got up for the final round. I was like, ‘Man, I gotta be up for this guy,’ because Dickie and Guido [Capps crew chief Dean Antonelli], they run pretty close together. Same way with [Robert Hight crew chief Jimmy] Prock, They pretty much get all you can get out there, and you know that car running beside you is going to be pretty competitive.”

Capps, a four-time Winternationals champion, and crew chief Dean Antonelli cranked off three straight three-second passes to put Caps in his 142nd career final round. Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Toyota raced past Paul Lee, low qualifier Cruz Pedregon, and Bob Tasca III.

Pro Stock

Glenn, who had been a Winternationals runner-up in Stock in 2010, finally got a Winternationals Wally with a 6.54 to 6.55 final-round defeat of Saturday’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge champ Matt Hartford. The win is Glenn’s fifth in Pro Stock, his sixth overall, and gives him the points lead.

Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock)

“I got pretty lucky that Rob Downing and Dave Connolly and Nathan VanWassenhove gave me a really really good car for the final round,” said Glenn. “It went nice and straight, had a great 60 foot, hit all my shifts good and it was spinning a little bit through the lights, but we were good enough to hold on to the win. I don’t think Matt made quite the run that he wanted. And he was really good on the Tree, ao I was a little nervous when I left on that one. I didn’t feel like I got it at all [advantage Hartford, .016 to .025].

“It’s obviously a great long day. Annytime I’m worn out at the end of the day, I’m pretty happy. I’ve got an absolutely great car right now. We’re just making small tweaks to it and it’s just running really, really good. We’re really happy with it.”

“Double-oh Dallas” lived up to his starting-line-inspired nickname, cutting a .002 reaction time in the semifinals to beat Arizona Nationals winner Camrie Caruso, preceded by victories over Chris McGaha and tire-shaking Bo Butner with runs of 6.53 and 6.54.

After qualifying No. 2, Hartford, who looked like he had the car to beat the previous weekend at the NHRA Arizona Nationals before exiting in the semifinals, powered his GETTRX Camaro to the final, the 13th of his career, by defeating Deric Kramer, world champ Erica Enders, and, in the semifinals, Aaron Stanfield to reach his ninth final round with a consistent trio of passes: 6.53, 6.54, and 6.55.

Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock)


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