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NHRA New England winners: Torrence (TF), Hagan (FC), McGaha (PS)

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NHRA Media Release

EPPING, N.H. — Matt Hagan remained one of the hottest Funny Car racers by winning his second straight event of the season at the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals. Hagan drove to victory in front of a sellout crowd for the second consecutive day at New England Dragway.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the 13th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

IN FUNNY CAR: Hagan powered to the winner’s circle with a run of 4.156 seconds at 292.01 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to take down Tim Wilkerson’s 4.181 at 287.35 in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. Hagan secured his third win in 2018 as he has now earned victories at New England Dragway in back-to-back years.

“We’ve got a good racecar, we were the No. 1 qualifier and this car just continues to go down the track,” Hagan said. “This car is responding well to what Dickie Venables is asking it to do, and that makes my confidence continue to grow.”

Hagan was the No. 1 qualifier for the weekend and took down Terry Haddock and teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps on his way to victory.

Wilkerson qualified ninth and defeated J.R. Todd, Jack Beckman and Shawn Langdon as he reached his first final round of the season.

IN TOP FUEL: Torrence notched his fifth victory of the year by beating Antron Brown in the final round with a 3.909 at 320.74 in his Capco Contractors dragster to Brown’s 3.948 at 315.12 in his Matco Tools / U.S. Army dragster. Torrence notched his first career win in Epping as he continues to build on his points lead in the Top Fuel class.

“This was a rough weekend but my team did an excellent job of adjusting to the track prep and the conditions out here,” Torrence said. “Our team is more well-rounded than it has ever been, and that gives me confidence every time I get in this car.”

Torrence entered the day qualified third as he defeated Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed and Tony Schumacher en route to victory.

Brown qualified 12th on the weekend and bested Clay Millican, defending world champion Brittany Force and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett as he reached his first final round of 2018.

IN PRO STOCK: McGaha took home the win in the Pro Stock class with a 6.570 at 211.10 in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro during the final round to take down Erica Enders who red-lit. McGaha secured his second win of the season and first since Phoenix as he becomes the fourth driver in the class to record multiple victories in 2018.

“We knew we needed to be aggressive in the final round against Erica [Enders], and we were lucky enough to end up winning that one,” McGaha said. “It’s been a very competitive year in this class so we are happy with any wins we can get.”

McGaha qualified ninth and beat Jeg Coughlin Jr., No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson and Kenny Delco on his path to victory.

Enders qualified second on the weekend and defeated Alan Prusiensky, Matt Hartford and Vincent Nobile as she took over the category points lead with her fifth runner-up finish of the season.

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, Colorado from July 20-22.

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FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Leah Pritchett; 4. Tony Schumacher; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Shawn Reed; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Richie Crampton; 9. Terry McMillen; 10. Mike Salinas; 11. Dan Mercier; 12. Dom Lagana; 13. Jim Maroney; 14. Clay Millican; 15. Scott Palmer; 16. Audrey Worm.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Tim Wilkerson; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. John Force; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Robert Hight; 9. J.R. Todd; 10. Jonnie Lindberg; 11. Cruz Pedregon; 12. Courtney Force; 13. Bob Tasca III; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Terry Haddock; 16. Jeff Diehl.

PRO STOCK: 1. Chris McGaha; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Vincent Nobile; 4. Kenny Delco; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Jason Line; 7. Matt Hartford; 8. Drew Skillman; 9. Jeg Coughlin; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. John Gaydosh Jr; 14. Val Smeland; 15. Fernando Cuadra; 16. Tanner Gray.

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FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Steve Torrence, 3.909 seconds, 320.74 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.948 seconds, 315.12 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.156, 292.01 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.181, 287.35.

PRO STOCK: Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.570, 211.10 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, Foul – Red Light.

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FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Shawn Reed, 3.900, 320.58 def. Dom Lagana, 4.832, 169.23; Antron Brown, 4.275, 236.42 def. Clay Millican, 6.083, 105.53; Leah Pritchett, 3.945, 305.70 def. Audrey Worm, 9.559, 82.04; Tony Schumacher, 3.878, 319.75 def. Jim Maroney, 4.841, 154.72; Steve Torrence, 3.843, 321.19 def. Dan Mercier, 4.240, 253.52; Brittany Force, 4.186, 245.81 def. Mike Salinas, 4.182, 214.93; Richie Crampton, 4.291, 246.98 def. Scott Palmer, 8.093, 88.54; Doug Kalitta, 4.143, 275.45 def. Terry McMillen, 4.175, 268.49; QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.923, 314.83 def. Force, 3.935, 305.15; Pritchett, 3.888, 316.30 def. Kalitta, 4.900, 212.46; Schumacher, 3.906, 318.54 def. Crampton, 5.316, 138.33; Torrence, 3.878, 320.13 def. Reed, 3.992, 290.51; SEMIFINALS — Brown, 3.955, 315.42 def. Pritchett, 3.945, 304.80; Torrence, 3.942, 309.77 def. Schumacher, 3.963, 314.97; FINAL — Torrence, 3.909, 320.74 def. Brown, 3.948, 315.12.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.463, 246.98 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.581, 242.89; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.066, 316.15 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 6.490, 113.11; Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.152, 304.80 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.837, 173.47; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.075, 312.42 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 6.633, 98.87; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.083, 306.19 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.489, 200.11; John Force, Camaro, 4.143, 310.84 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.305, 264.29; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.091, 313.29 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.132, 306.19; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.131, 297.94 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.408, 215.20; QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 4.134, 276.41 def. Hight, 7.226, 98.83; Wilkerson, 4.245, 264.39 def. Beckman, 4.252, 294.05; Hagan, 4.237, 245.90 def. Johnson Jr., 4.741, 179.23; Langdon, 4.134, 307.93 def. J. Force, 4.204, 262.39; SEMIFINALS — Hagan, 4.114, 311.05 def. Capps, 4.122, 311.20; Wilkerson, 4.118, 309.91 def. Langdon, 4.144, 305.42; FINAL — Hagan, 4.156, 292.01 def. Wilkerson, 4.181, 287.35.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.576, 210.87 def. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.569, 211.63; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.583, 211.39 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.617, 210.54; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.578, 211.49 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.605, 209.82; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.616, 210.60 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 7.378, 204.51; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.563, 212.09 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.557, 211.10 def. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.651, 208.46; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.544, 212.19 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.717, 206.76; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.537, 211.03 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.624, 207.94; QUARTERFINALS — Delco, 8.308, 152.54 def. Skillman, 10.430, 126.39; Nobile, 6.570, 210.80 def. Line, 6.600, 210.11; McGaha, 6.585, 210.90 def. Anderson, 6.574, 211.89; Enders, 6.572, 210.54 def. Hartford, 8.788, 101.04; SEMIFINALS — McGaha, 16.762, 49.34 def. Delco, Foul – Red Light; Enders, 6.567, 210.67 def. Nobile, 6.580, 210.83; FINAL — McGaha, 6.570, 211.10 def. Enders, Foul – Red Light.

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UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Steve Torrence, 1,086; 2. Tony Schumacher, 896; 3. Clay Millican, 881; 4. Leah Pritchett, 820; 5. Doug Kalitta, 801; 6. Antron Brown, 717; 7. Terry McMillen, 679; 8. Brittany Force, 634; 9. Richie Crampton, 522; 10. Mike Salinas, 506.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, 1,069; 2. Matt Hagan, 914; 3. Jack Beckman, 847; 4. Ron Capps, 834; 5. Robert Hight, 829; 6. J.R. Todd, 800; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 692; 8. John Force, 632; 9. Shawn Langdon, 614; 10. Bob Tasca III, 564.

PRO STOCK: 1. Erica Enders, 936; 2. Greg Anderson, 920; 3. Tanner Gray, 917; 4. Vincent Nobile, 893; 5. Drew Skillman, 808; 6. Chris McGaha, 803; 7. Jeg Coughlin, 766; 8. Bo Butner, 750; 9. Jason Line, 680; 10. Deric Kramer, 659.

Sebastien Ogier in driver’s seat for sixth straight World Rally Championship title

Sebastien Ogier leads the way in the WRC title chase. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) — Thierry Neuville finished the sixth stage of Rally Australia on Friday without a rear left tire, damaging his chances of catching five-time defending champion Sebastien Ogier for the World Rally Championship title.

The Belgian driver entered the rally just three points behind Ogier in the closest title fight in 15 years.

He held the upper hand on his French rival, building a near-10 second gap through the first five stages at Coffs Harbour before hitting a chicane and finishing the stage with only three tires on his Hyundai.

Neuville was fortunate the puncture occurred late enough in the day to finish all six forestry stages and avoid a retirement. But the mistake cost him 40 seconds and gave Ogier, who is 33 seconds ahead of him, a clear run at his sixth straight championship.

In his last start with Ford before a move to Citroen next year, Ogier struggled as the first to drive the dusty, slippery forest routes.

“I pushed like crazy, I was on the limit over the jump and everywhere, I can’t do (any) more,” Ogier said. “I was on the limit.”

With Ogier on sweeping duties the back markers flourished, and Mads Ostberg took the lead in his return to the series.

Ostberg was forced to miss the previous round in Spain to make way for rally winner and nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb, who was making the last of his three guest appearances for Citroen.

Now back in the seat, Ostberg leads Jari-Matti Latvala by 6.8 seconds in the Australian rally, with sixth-stage winner Craig Breen in third.

Ogier was seventh, 38.2 seconds off the pace, but only needs to finish ahead of Neuville to claim the championship title. Neuville is in 10th place after six stages.

Roles will reverse on Saturday, with Ogier to start further back in the field and do his best on cleaner roads to make up the day-one deficit before Sunday’s final stages.

Andreas Mikkelsen, the 2016 Rally Australia champion, was an early dropout after rolling into a ditch in his Hyundai. Mikkelsen had only just avoided a tractor that had found its way onto the course.

Former winner Molly Taylor and co-driver Malcolm Read were also forced out of their event when their Subaru hit a hay bale at high speed on the morning’s second stage. Both reported soreness but suffered no serious injuries.

The 24-stage rally totals 319 kilometers (197 miles). Ten stages are scheduled Saturday with the final six on Sunday, most of them through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.