CLERMONT — Rain interrupted racing Saturday, Aug. 31, at the NHRA’s U.S. Nationals, which was fine with Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan.
A thunderstorm rolled across the sweltering drag strip shortly before 5 p.m., with the fuel coupes barely into their second round of qualifying. More than three hours later, on a cool, sticky track, everything changed.
In the first run under the lights, Paul Lee’s Dodge Charger snatched the provisional pole from Bob Tasca III and his Ford Shelby Mustang with a 1,000-foot elapsed time of 4.072 seconds. Tasca’s 4.085 set the pace Friday night.
Times fell pair after pair until Hagan, in a Charger, roared to the top with a track record 4.007 at 319.22 mph.
Rookie Brittany Force (3.820 to 1,000 feet) remained No. 1 in Top Fuel, Allen Johnson’s Dodge Stratus held on to the pole in Pro Stock (6.661 in the quarter mile) and Hector Arana’s Buell grabbed the lead in Pro Stock Motorcycle (6.968).
The Traxxas Top Fuel Shootout cut the field from eight to four Saturday and concludes today, Sept. 1, during the final two rounds of qualifying. The Traxxas Funny Car Shootout is scheduled today.
Eliminations begin Monday, Sept. 2, at 11 AM.