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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.

Dean Wilson’s life as a privateer reconnects the rider to his roots

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One of the added benefits of subscribing to NBC Sports Gold is the in-depth interviews from each Saturday’s action. Last week between the first and second rounds of qualification for the Glendale Supercross race, a relaxed and confident Dean Wilson joined Race Day Live’s Daniel Blair and Jim Holley to review his fourth-place finish in the season opener and his mindset moving forward.

Losing factory support from Rockstar / Husqvarna at the end of 2018 was not exactly what Wilson had in mind, but after getting off to a great start in the first two races this season, it may well have been a blessing in disguise.

The life of a privateer is not exactly relaxed, but it affords a rider the opportunity to call his own shots. For Wilson, it is also a way to reconnect with the grassroots feel that attracted him to Supercross in the first place.

“I think that’s what I like,” Wilson said on Race Day Live. “I think that’s the environment and atmosphere I like – it’s just more low key. At Anaheim I, you would think I was local racing at Glen Helen. I had a Sprinter and I had another trailer just to chill in, do my spins. It was so cold I had a little propane heater to warm me up. But I like that. That’s what works for me.”

MORE: Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim 

The program Wilson was able to put together during the offseason produced back-to back top 10s – a much better start to the 2019 season than he experienced last year.

In 2018, Wilson did not score a top 10 until his fourth feature at San Diego. His first top five would not come until late March in Indianapolis.

This year Wilson got the hole shot and led 14 laps at Anaheim in the opener before finishing fourth. Last week in Glendale, he finished eighth.

“What was going through my head was ‘it’s about time; it’s about five years too late to lead some laps here,’ ” Wilson described his emotion as he led at Anaheim. “It was nice because I did a lot of work in the off-season and my starts were really good. The thing is I haven’t over-analyzed my starts and practice.”

At Anaheim I, Wilson struggled with visibility as his goggles began to get fouled by mud. A once comfortable lead was eroded by Justin Barcia. With pressure from behind, Wilson made a minor mistake that was then compounded by lapped traffic.

“I was leading my laps; I was just trying to hit my marks. I was doing really well until I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn’t hit that middle double, double … the rut was getting real chewed out, but I was already on the right side where you couldn’t double the middle part so you had to go roll, roll, roll – and Barcia was already on me.”

Wilson’s pair of top 10s was enough to keep him fifth in the standings, three points behind Glendale’s winner Blake Baggett.

For more, watch the video above.

Next Race: Anaheim II Jan. 19, 11 p.m., NBCSN

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