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NHRA Seattle No. 1 qualifiers: Hagan, Torrence, Coughlin Jr. entering Sunday’s eliminations

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NHRA Media Release

SEATTLE – Matt Hagan secured his fourth No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car this season Saturday at the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 16th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Hagan powered to his first career No. 1 qualifier at Pacific Raceways in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat after his run of 3.913-seconds at 324.75 mph from Friday stood strong through Saturday’s qualifying. Sitting fourth overall in the category points, Hagan will strive to narrow the points gap on Sunday as he looks for his third victory in five races.

“I think the new body is just a little bit of a learning curve,” Hagan stated. “The car is obviously running great with No. 1 qualifier but there’s still some things we are learning about this new Hellcat body. I feel confident about it though.”

Defending world champion Robert Hight secured the No. 2 position in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro with his pass of 3.919 at 327.82 during the second qualifying run. He will toe the line against Gary Densham during the first round.

In Top Fuel, category points leader Torrence continued to extend his points lead by securing his second No. 1 qualifying position of the year, as his pass of 3.723 at 331.61 in his Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing dragster from Friday held up. This is Torrence’s first career No. 1 qualifier at Pacific Raceways and he is seeking his second career victory at the facility.

“This season has been a lot of fun,” Torrence said. “The car ran well throughout qualifying and I’m not too concerned with its performance tomorrow. The last time we were No. 1 qualifiers it didn’t bode well for us so hopefully we can turn that around.”

Doug Kalitta will start second in his Mac Tools dragster after his 3.730 at 326.00 on Friday. He will meet Bill Litton in the first round.

Pro Stock’s Coughlin Jr. grabbed his second top qualifier in 2018 as his 6.501 at 212.16 fromFriday in his JEGS.com/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro remained the best in the category. Coughlin, who most recently won at Sonoma, will look to secure his first victory at the facility since 2002 on Sunday.

“I feel pretty good, honestly,” Coughlin stated. “The first run we made today we were third of the session. I think we will use that as a little motivation and an attention grabber for game daytomorrow. We will be on our toes to race and race aggressively.”

Coughlin Jr. will race Joey Grose in the first round of eliminations, while category points leader, Greg Anderson, starts second after his run of 6.503 at 211.79 on Friday in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. He will meet Steve Graham in round one on Sunday.

Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PT Sunday at Pacific Raceways.

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KENT, Wash. — Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 31st annual CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.723 seconds, 331.61 mph vs. 16. Ron Smith, 4.861, 190.08; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.730, 326.00 vs. 15. Bill Litton, 3.970, 307.86; 3. Clay Millican, 3.743, 330.47 vs.
14. Jim Maroney, 3.932, 283.13; 4. Tony Schumacher, 3.751, 327.11 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.891, 311.34; 5. Antron Brown, 3.761, 330.80 vs. 12. Shawn Reed, 3.869, 318.84; 6. Leah Pritchett, 3.764, 322.34 vs. 11. Troy Buff, 3.867, 304.80; 7. Mike Salinas, 3.768, 327.98 vs. 10. Scott Palmer, 3.815, 323.81; 8. Brittany Force, 3.785, 326.32 vs. 9. Richie Crampton, 3.792, 323.50.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.913, 324.75 vs. 16. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.182, 296.63; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.919, 327.82 vs. 15. Gary Densham, Ford Mustang, 4.085, 309.98; 3. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.927, 325.69 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.073, 307.09; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.943, 321.19 vs. 13. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.056, 315.71; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.963, 320.58 vs. 12. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.041, 305.84; 6. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.977, 325.37 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.028, 317.79; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.977, 321.35 vs. 10. John Force, Camaro, 4.028, 318.39; 8. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 3.995, 315.42 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.008, 319.22. Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.211, 289.94; 18. Terry Haddock, 4.299, 289.32.
Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.501, 212.16 vs. 16. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.708, 206.80; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.503, 211.79 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.637, 209.07; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.506, 212.66 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.615, 209.01; 4. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.510, 212.09 vs. 13. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.564, 210.54; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.518, 211.73 vs. 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.557, 209.95; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.522, 211.56 vs. 11. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.553, 211.13; 7. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.526, 211.96 vs. 10. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.541, 210.80; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.527, 211.33 vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.541, 211.83.

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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