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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.

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.

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