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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.

Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

IndyCar.com
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Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

MORE: Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 shootout

The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”