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NHRA: Pritchett, Hagan, Anderson hang on to No. 1 for Sunday’s New England eliminations

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As 1960s music heartthrobs Herman’s Hermits used to sing, “Second verse, same as the first.”

That was the tune for Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) during the second and final day of qualifying for Sunday’s sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.

Pritchett, Hagan and Anderson were No. 1 qualifiers after Friday’s first day of qualifying and then held on to their positions Saturday to go into Sunday’s race as favorites in their respective classes.

Pritchett earned her second consecutive Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying spot at New England Dragway, while Hagan is looking for his second straight win in Epping.

Anderson, meanwhile, earned his eighth pole in the first 13 races of the 24-race season.

In Top Fuel: Pritchett’s Friday pass of 3.742 seconds at 324.51 mph held up through Saturday’s session. It is her ninth No. 1 qualifying spot in her career.

“Today was all about practicing for Sunday, and we got the results that we wanted heading into tomorrow,” Pritchett said. “I have all the confidence in the world for this team because they never give up, and their hard work is definitely paying off.”

Pritchett will square off with No. 16 qualifier Audrey Worm in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.

Tony Schumacher qualified No. 2 (3.744 seconds at 330.31 mph). He’ll face No. 15 Jim Maroney in Sunday’s first round.

In Funny Car: Hagan’s best Friday pass of 3.932 seconds at 322.04 mph also held up during Saturday’s two rounds of qualifying.

It was Hagan’s first No. 1 of the season as he looks to move up from a second-place tie in the Funny Car standings heading into Sunday’s finals.

“We have a great racecar right now and that builds confidence for me with each run,” Hagan said. “When you give Dickie Venables (crew chief) a few chances to figure out the track he can be deadly, and we have had some really strong runs this weekend that we need to build on tomorrow.”

Hagan will face No. 16 Terry Haddock in Sunday’s first round of eliminations. Jack Beckman (3.956 seconds at 320.20 mph) qualified No. 2 and will face No. 15 Jeff Diehl in Sunday’s opening round.

In Pro Stock: Anderson rode Friday’s best round (6.517 seconds at 211.73 mph) through Saturday’s second day of qualifying for the No. 1 spot heading into Sunday.

Anderson has been on a strong roll: he’s qualified No. 1 in four of the last five races and eight of the season’s first 13 races.

“Yesterday we had the racetrack figured out and today we struggled a bit with the sun out on the track,” Anderson said. “Today was definitely a learning experience and we will get another shot tomorrow, we will just have to learn what to do differently.”

Anderson faces No. 16 qualifier Val Smeland in Sunday’s first round of eliminations.

Erica Enders (6.521 seconds at 211.63 mph) qualified No. 2 and will face No. 15 Alan Prusiensky on Sunday.

Eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday at New England Dragway.

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SUNDAY’S FIRST ROUND PAIRINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Leah Pritchett, 3.742 seconds, 324.51 mph vs. 16. Audrey Worm, 5.791, 111.38; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.744, 330.31 vs. 15. Jim Maroney, 4.826, 153.51; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.756, 327.66 vs. 14. Dan Mercier, 4.530, 173.92; 4. Brittany Force, 3.775, 316.60 vs. 13. Mike Salinas, 4.004, 281.77; 5. Clay Millican, 3.778, 328.14 vs. 12. Antron Brown, 3.974, 276.58; 6. Dom Lagana, 3.781, 326.16 vs. 11. Shawn Reed, 3.895, 320.81; 7. Scott Palmer, 3.803, 323.97 vs. 10. Richie Crampton, 3.884, 316.97; 8. Terry McMillen, 3.857, 322.19 vs. 9. Doug Kalitta, 3.874, 303.64.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.932, 322.04 vs. 16. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 5.873, 102.77; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.956, 320.20 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 4.316, 289.45; 3. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.976, 321.42 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.203, 300.26; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.978, 320.89 vs. 13. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.165, 304.46; 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.979, 324.44 vs. 12. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.126, 281.01; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.988, 324.75 vs. 11. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.118, 307.93; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.021, 319.67 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.104, 308.35; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.023, 322.58 vs. 9. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.044, 314.09. Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Smith, 8.701, 102.11.

PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.517, 212.33 vs. 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 7.224, 148.35; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.521, 212.49 vs. 15. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.656, 209.01; 3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.528, 211.43 vs. 14. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.617, 209.75; 4. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.538, 212.63 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.590, 210.60; 5. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.540, 212.69 vs. 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.581, 210.77; 6. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.546, 211.99 vs. 11. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.564, 211.96; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.546, 212.16 vs. 10. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.554, 212.06; 8. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.547, 212.16 vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.547, 211.79.

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Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: