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.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.