- Clay Millican sets Top Fuel national record with a 3.628-second pass to earn No. 1 qualifying spot
- Matt Hagan uses a track record 336.32 mph run to move atop the Funny Car qualifying order
- After missing the last five races of the 2017 season, Vincent Nobile debuts with a No. 1 qualifier in Pomona
POMONA, CA – February 10, 2018 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Clay Millican powered to the Top Fuel No. 1 qualifying position with a national elapsed time record of 3.628-seconds at 322.04 mph in his Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster at the 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the first of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Millican stands atop the Top Fuel category after setting the record, breaking his record of 3.631 seconds set in St. Louis last year. After tallying a career-best five No. 1 qualifiers in 2017, he locked down his first of the season and the 11th in his career.
“My crew chief David Grubnic runs this car differently than anybody else out here and he is just one of a kind,” Millican said. “I knew it was a special run at the 330-foot mark, and I even shut the car off a bit early so we know we can improve upon those numbers at some point.”
Millican will face Steve Chrisman on Sunday in the first round of eliminations. The defending Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force qualified second after running 3.675 at 322.04 in her Monster Energy dragster and faces Terry Haddock. Steve Torrence narrowly ended up third following his 3.676 at 329.83 run and will match up with Steve Faria.
Hagan paces the Funny Car category with a run of 3.822 at a track record 336.32 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T recorded during his second lap of the day. After securing four top qualifying positions last year, Hagan notched the 31st of his career at the season-opener.
“I can’t say enough about Dickie Venables (crew chief), he’s worth his weight in gold,” Hagan said. “My team does what it has to in order to make those big numbers pop up on the board, and it shows how smart these crew chiefs really are.”
Hagan will race Jim Campbell in a first round match-up. Defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight is second after running a 3.850 at 334.24 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro and will race Jeff Diehl.
In Pro Stock, Nobile took over the top spot after driving to a 6.529 at 210.41 run in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro during the first qualifying pass of the day. He locked in his eighth career top qualifying position, his first since Reading in 2016, and races Alan Prusiensky in the first round of eliminations.
“I feel on top of the world, especially after taking off a couple of races at the end of last season,” Nobile said. “I’ve got a great car and a great group of people behind me, this team put in a ton of work over the winter and we definitely made a few improvements to our engine and we have to keep moving forward.”
Drew Skillman qualified second with a 6.547 lap at 210.54 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro, and Greg Anderson rounds out the top three with his run of 6.554 at 211.00, the top speed in the class during qualifying.
Eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
POMONA, CA – Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 58th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the first 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. Clay Millican, 3.628 seconds, 327.74 mph vs. 14. Steven Chrisman, 8.066, 90.75; 2.
Brittany Force, 3.675, 322.04 vs. 13. Terry Haddock, 4.133, 254.76; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.676,
329.83 vs. 12. Steve Faria, 4.081, 249.44; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.687, 330.23 vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.796, 325.53; 5. Doug Kalitta, 3.703, 330.15 vs. 10. Richie Crampton, 3.782, 314.75; 6. Antron Brown, 3.717, 332.51 vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.748, 326.71; 7. Terry McMillen, 3.727, 327.03 vs. 8.
Tony Schumacher, 3.732, 331.20.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.822, 336.32 vs. 16. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.059, 311.92; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.850, 334.24 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 4.059, 313.58; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.860, 332.84 vs. 14. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.984, 322.50; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.877, 328.94 vs. 13. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.950, 322.58; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.882, 331.12 vs. 12. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.949, 328.06; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.886, 327.43 vs. 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.943, 320.97; 7. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.908, 326.79 vs. 10. John Force, Camaro, 3.937, 314.75; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.924, 326.48 vs. 9. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.932, 320.36.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Bob Bode, 4.151, 259.76; 18. Richard Townsend, 4.242, 258.91; 19. Gary Densham, 4.291, 225.18; 20. Brandon Welch, 6.313, 105.60.
Pro Stock — 1. Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.529, 210.41 vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.733, 207.02; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.547, 210.60 vs. 15. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.699, 207.46; 3. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.554, 211.30 vs. 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.691, 207.91; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.557, 209.33 vs. 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.624, 207.40; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.558, 209.62 vs. 12. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.621, 208.30; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.569, 210.54 vs. 11. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.598, 209.98; 7. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.577, 209.14 vs. 10. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.596, 209.14; 8. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.580, 209.75 vs. 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.582, 210.37.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association