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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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IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

Live race coverage of IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCsports.com and the NBC Sports app with an encore presentation of the race airing later in the evening at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter