NHRA: Long journey to victory at Bristol home track ends for Matt Hagan

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While it is only 115 miles away from his hometown of Christiansburg, Va., it took Matt Hagan tens of thousands of miles – both on the road and the racetrack – over the years to finally arrive at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway.

The defending and two-time NHRA Funny Car champ, Hagan realized a dream that began in 2008 (his first season in Funny Car) by winning for the first time ever at his home track in Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Other winners in the pro ranks were Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock).

Hagan muscled his Funny Car to a race-winning run of 4.164 seconds at 303.23 mph, defeating Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the final round.

It’s Hagan’s fourth win of 2015 and the 18th of his Funny Car career. It also allowed him to increase his points lead over Capps in the standings.

“This is just such a special race for me,” Hagan said in an NHRA media release. “I’m two hours down the road and have so many friends and family out here. It just makes it special. I’ve wanted to win Bristol for a long time. I consider it my home track.”

In Top Fuel, Crampton, last year’s rookie of the year, outran (3.884 seconds at 321.04 mph) former three-time world champ Larry Dixon (4.004 seconds at 250.41 mph).

Like Hagan, it was Crampton’s first-ever win at Bristol, his third of the season and fifth of his career (5-0 now in final rounds). He also moved up in the standings to third place.

“To have a winning record over a former world champion is pretty exciting for me,” said Crampton, who is now 3-0 (all this season) against Dixon (still looking for his first win in 2015, but moved up to fourth place) in final rounds.

“I can’t believe we keep racing each other in final rounds,” Crampton added. “They are a great group of guys. The law of averages says he is going to get me back real soon.”

In Pro Stock, Enders (6.685 seconds at 206.95 mph) won for the second straight year at Bristol, defeating Chris McGaha (6.689 at 207.46).

It was Enders’ fourth win of 2015 and 16th of her career, which leaves her two triumphs behind legendary Top Fuel driver Shirley Muldowney for second on the all-time wins list for women in the NHRA pro ranks.

Enders also regained the points lead in Pro Stock with Sunday’s win.

“I’m not shy to say that Bristol is one of my favorite places to race,” Enders said. “It’s always been good to me. I guess every driver has their tracks that no matter what you do wrong it always ends up right, even if it’s not always pretty. That was what last year here was. Today we earned it.”

The NHRA takes next week off before resuming July 2-5 in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, the halfway point of the 24-race schedule.

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Richie Crampton; 2.  Larry Dixon; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  J.R. Todd; 5.  Shawn Langdon; 6.  Leah Pritchett; 7.  Dave Connolly; 8.  Tony Schumacher; 9.  Spencer Massey; 10.  Brittany Force; 11. Steve Torrence; 12.  Troy Buff; 13.  Antron Brown; 14.  Terry McMillen; 15.  Pat Dakin; 16.  Clay Millican.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Matt Hagan; 2.  Ron Capps; 3.  Jack Beckman; 4.  Tony Pedregon; 5.  Cruz Pedregon; 6.  Del Worsham; 7.  Tim Wilkerson; 8.  John Force; 9.  Courtney Force; 10.  Robert Hight; 11.  Jeff Diehl; 12.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 13.  Chad Head; 14.  John Hale; 15.  Alexis DeJoria; 16.  Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Erica Enders; 2.  Chris McGaha; 3.  Jonathan Gray; 4.  Shane Gray; 5.  Jason Line; 6.  Larry Morgan; 7.  Vincent Nobile; 8.  V. Gaines; 9.  Allen Johnson; 10.  Drew Skillman; 11.  Greg Anderson; 12.  Richie Stevens; 13.  Rodger Brogdon; 14.  Kenny Delco; 15.  John Gaydosh Jr; 16.  Bo Butner.

FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Richie Crampton, 3.884 seconds, 321.04 mph  def. Larry Dixon, 4.004 seconds, 250.41 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.164, 303.23  def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.186, 307.02.

PRO STOCK: Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.685, 206.95  def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.689, 207.46.

FINALS ROUND-BY-ROUND:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, 3.822, 321.58 def. Brittany Force, 3.870, 290.26; Larry Dixon, 4.046, 242.50 def. Clay Millican, 18.597, 102.34; Shawn Langdon, 3.827, 319.07 def. Pat Dakin, 10.947, 71.07; Doug Kalitta, 3.814, 321.88 def. Terry McMillen, 9.128, 74.82; Tony Schumacher, 3.851, 321.19 def. Troy Buff, 3.875, 303.64; Leah Pritchett, 3.837, 301.40 def. Spencer Massey, 3.843, 317.42; Richie Crampton, 3.863, 314.39 def. Antron Brown, 4.242, 224.62; Dave Connolly, 3.883, 311.27 def. Steve Torrence, foul; QUARTERFINALS — Dixon, 3.931, 302.41 def. Pritchett, 4.244, 246.80; Crampton, 3.885, 315.12 def. Langdon, 4.219, 253.33; Todd, 4.945, 146.07 def. Schumacher, broke; Kalitta, 3.901, 302.62 def. Connolly, 6.081, 110.59; SEMIFINALS — Crampton, 3.859, 319.14 def. Kalitta, 3.906, 316.97; Dixon, 3.907, 317.79 def. Todd, 5.364, 131.59; FINAL — Crampton, 3.884, 321.04 def. Dixon, 4.004, 250.41.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.100, 314.97 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 15.737, 36.19; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 4.133, 301.87 def. John Hale, Charger, 5.693, 124.78; Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.116, 309.98 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.648, 192.66; Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.124, 308.78 def. Jeff Diehl, Solara, 4.310, 277.83; Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.261, 247.66 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 8.822, 80.36; Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.151, 303.71 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.350, 228.11; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.125, 301.07 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.193, 300.20; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.141, 307.86 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.270, 257.83; QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 4.228, 295.14 def. J. Force, 4.739, 198.09; Hagan, 4.139, 300.66 def. C. Pedregon, 4.163, 287.72; T. Pedregon, 4.180, 299.66 def. Worsham, 4.171, 302.48; Beckman, 4.188, 301.47 def. Wilkerson, 4.222, 294.31; SEMIFINALS — Capps, 4.183, 304.46 def. T. Pedregon, 9.268, 88.07; Hagan, 4.201, 302.55 def. Beckman, 4.214, 295.27; FINAL — Hagan, 4.164, 303.23 def. Capps, 4.186, 307.02.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.702, 206.83 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.707, 206.20; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.730, 206.42 def. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.711, 206.57; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.702, 206.95 def. Richie Stevens, Dodge Dart, foul; Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.708, 206.92 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.692, 206.42; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.704, 206.54 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 29.314, 23.12; V. Gaines, Dart, 6.713, 206.01 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.707, 207.24; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.695, 206.51 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.787, 196.27; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.678, 207.24 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.750, 204.51; QUARTERFINALS — J. Gray, 6.748, 205.01 def. Gaines, 6.756, 205.22; S. Gray, 6.745, 205.07 def. Morgan, 6.730, 207.11; Enders, 6.698, 206.64 def. Line, foul; McGaha, 6.697, 206.73 def. Nobile, 6.731, 206.29; SEMIFINALS — Enders, 6.703, 206.45 def. S. Gray, 6.724, 206.20; McGaha, 6.731, 205.82 def. J. Gray, foul; FINAL — Enders, 6.685, 206.95 def. McGaha, 6.689, 207.46.

UPDATED POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Antron Brown, 826; 2.  Tony Schumacher, 824; 3.  Richie Crampton, 754; 4.  Larry Dixon, 699; 5. Spencer Massey, 693; 6.  Doug Kalitta, 666; 7.  Shawn Langdon, 626; 8.  Brittany Force, 585; 9. J.R. Todd, 563; 10.  Clay Millican, 511.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 866; 2.  Ron Capps, 779; 3.  John Force, 713; 4.  Del Worsham, 704; 5.  Jack Beckman, 669; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 643; 7.  Cruz Pedregon, 592; 8.  Robert Hight, 576; 9.  Alexis DeJoria, 574; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 570.

Pro Stock: 1.  Erica Enders, 964; 2.  Greg Anderson, 950; 3.  Jason Line, 828; 4.  Chris McGaha, 750; 5. Allen Johnson, 588; 6.  Shane Gray, 583; 7.  Drew Skillman, 573; 8.  Larry Morgan, 570; 9.  Vincent Nobile, 561; 10.  Rodger Brogdon, 526.

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Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.


Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX