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NHRA New Hampshire: Hagan (FC), Pritchett (TF), Anderson (PS) early No. 1 qualifiers

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NHRA Media Release

EPPING, New Hampshire – Matt Hagan continued his recent hot stretch in the Funny Car class by earning the preliminary No. 1 qualifier at the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.

Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) are also preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 13th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

In Funny Car: Hagan jumped atop the category lead with a pass of 3.932-seconds at 322.04 mph in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T recorded during his second qualifying run of the day. He entered the weekend tied for second in the Funny Car points standings following his victory in Norwalk, Ohio as he also chases his second consecutive win in Epping.

“Coming off the race win in Ohio gives us confidence heading into this event, and so far we have continued to just build on that,” Hagan said. “I felt like we had a good handle on the track today, and it’s definitely something we can work off of for the rest of the weekend.”

Jack Beckman finds himself second currently after a 3.956 at 320.20 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T during the second round of qualifying.

In Top Fuel: Pritchett powered to the preliminary top spot with a run of 3.742 at 324.51 in her Mopar dragster during her second qualifying pass of the day. Pritchett earned the No. 1 qualifying spot a year ago at New England Dragway by setting the track record with a 3.673 pass, as she looks to make it two consecutive top qualifiers in Epping.

“Our last pass came together with some last-minute changes, but I have confidence in my team and we are starting to feel like we have our strongest car of the year,” Pritchett said. “We’re going to take it one round at a time to prepare for Sunday, but we feel very strongly about this run.”

Tony Schumacher winds up second after the initial day of qualifying with a 3.744 at 330.31 in his U.S. Army dragster during his second qualifying run.

In Pro Stock: Anderson currently leads the Pro Stock class after driving to a 6.517 at 211.73 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro during his second pass of the day. The four-time world champion is chasing his eighth No. 1 qualifying spot of the year and fourth in the past five races.

“It was very humid when we came out this morning which made it tough on our race cars, but the temperature went down enough to give perfect conditions for the Pro Stock class,” Anderson said. “This is a great racetrack and the air here is fantastic, so thankfully our team made the most of these conditions.”

Vincent Nobile is currently qualified second following a 6.528 at 211.20 in his Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro as he chases his second No. 1 qualifier of 2018.

Qualifying continues at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at New England Dragway.

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Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, the 13th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett, 3.742 seconds, 324.51 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.744, 330.31; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.756, 327.66; 4. Brittany Force, 3.775, 316.60; 5. Clay Millican, 3.778, 328.14; 6. Dom Lagana, 3.781, 326.16; 7. Scott Palmer, 3.803, 323.97; 8. Terry McMillen, 3.872, 317.05; 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.874, 303.64; 10. Shawn Reed, 3.895, 320.81; 11. Mike Salinas, 4.353, 185.05; 12. Dan Mercier, 4.530, 173.92; 13. Jim Maroney, 4.826, 153.51; 14. Audrey Worm, 5.791, 111.38; 15. Richie Crampton, 6.040, 103.44; 16. Antron Brown, 6.500, 104.50.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.932, 322.04; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.956, 320.20; 3. Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 3.976, 321.42; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.978, 320.89; 5. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.979, 324.44; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.988, 324.75; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.021, 319.67; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.023, 322.58; 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.044, 314.09; 10. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.261, 217.39; 11. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.316, 289.45; 12. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.885, 158.87; 13. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.917, 112.97; 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 7.633, 84.76; 15. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 7.793, 82.40; 16. Mike Smith, Dodge Stratus, 12.225, 102.11. Not Qualified: 17. Terry Haddock, 12.290, 49.11.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.517, 211.73; 2. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.528, 211.20; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.535, 211.03; 4. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.546, 210.50; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.546, 209.95; 6. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.547, 210.70; 7. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.548, 211.66; 8. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.553, 211.56; 9. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.560, 210.60; 10. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.566, 209.88; 11. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.588, 209.59; 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.604, 208.94; 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.623, 208.04; 14. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.627, 209.26; 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.671, 204.57; 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 7.224, 148.35.

F1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Grosjean Three Penalty Points Away from a One-Race Ban

Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean could face a one-race ban if he accrues three more penalty points, per Formula1.com.

Grosjean, who had seven penalty points to his name entering last week’s Grand Prix of Singapore was assessed two more for ignoring blue flags in last week’s race.

Grosjean was in the midst of a battle with Sergey Sirotkin as race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen approached. FIA rules dictate that when a driver is given a blue flag, he or she must move over and let the faster car(s) through, irrespective of any in-race battle they may be involved in.

However, Grosjean continued to push Sirotkin as they battled for position, and did not immediately yield to Hamilton, which allowed Verstappen to close in.

Hamilton and Verstappen both eventually got by, though Hamilton was particularly alarmed by the incident.

“These guys were moving around … and they wouldn’t let me by,” he said in the aforementioned Formula1.com story. “It was definitely close and my heart was in my mouth for a minute.”

Grosjean did issue an apology afterward, and offered his side of the story.

“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” Grosjean said. “I believe I did my best. I was fighting with Sergey, who was doing a little bit of go-kart racing out there. I couldn’t really slow down. Pierre [Gasly] was on my gearbox and Sergey was on my front wing. I passed him, then as soon as I passed him, I let Lewis by.”

Any driver who accumulates 12 penalty points in a span of 12 months is automatically handed a one-race ban. For Grosjean, his current tally began on October 29, 2017, meaning if he receives three more between now and October 29, 2018, he will be forced to sit out one race.

F1 Signs Sponsorship For In-Play Betting

Per BBC Sport, Liberty Media, which owns Formula 1, has signed a sponsorship rights agreement with Interregional Sports Group to develop and manage in-race betting platforms for grands prix.

The sponsorship, worth a reported $100 million U.S. dollars, would help generate “new ways to engage with the sport,” said managing director Sean Bratches in the BBC Sport story.

Liberty and F1 officials would also work with Sportradar, which collects and analyzes sports data, to track betting and ensure no fraudulent activities take place.

Arrivabene Takes Responsibility for Ferrari Missteps

Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has said he accepts full responsibility for the miscues Ferrari has made during the 2018 Formula 1 season.

“The only mistake you see in front of you is me. I’m responsible for the team,” Arrivabene said in a piece posted on Crash.net.

He added, “When the result is not coming, it’s my responsibility. Not the responsibility of Sebastian (Vettel) or the engineer or the responsibility of the mechanics. It’s my responsibility.”

The statement, made on the Friday press conference prior to the Singapore Grand Prix, is especially poignant in the wake of a somewhat clumsy Italian Grand Prix. The team faced criticism after Kimi Raikkonen scored the pole, ahead of the championship-contending Vettel.

Vettel, too, has not been infallible. Most notably, he had contact with Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix, spinning Bottas and damaging Vettel’s front wing – Vettel eventually finished fifth – and he crashed while leading the German Grand Prix. These incidents are among multiple black marks that have blighted Vettel’s championship challenge.

However, despite the errors, Vettel remains unshaken ahead of the final six races of 2018.

“We don’t have to fear any track that is coming, our car is working well in every track, so there’s nothing to fear until the end of the season. Russia should suit our car, it’s getting better for us every year,” Vettel said in a separate Crash.net piece.

He added, “There are still a lot of races to go and points to score. I never believed we have the faster car by a large margin like people said, but I know we have a very good car.”

Currently, Vettel trails Hamilton by 40 points in the driver’s championship, while Ferrari trails Mercedes by 37 points in the constructor’s championship.

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