Talking NHRA Racing with Matt Hagan!

posted by Scott Stevens -

2 time NHRA Funny Car Champion Matt Hagan talks about the upcoming action near Richmond at Virginia Motorsports Park, June 8th through 10th.   Listen to the interview below.  Read more under the audio link.  And find out more about the NHRA at: www.NHRA.com.

FUNNY CAR ICON JOHN FORCE THRILLED WITH NHRA’S RETURN TO VIRGINIA AT INAUGURAL VIRGINIA NHRA NATIONALS

DINWIDDIE, Va. — Count drag racing icon John Force as one of many who are thrilled the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is headed back to Virginia Motorsports Park. The inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals take place June 8-10, marking the first NHRA race at the facility since 2009, and the longtime Funny Car star is anxious to see the reception from the massive fanbase in the area.

It’s also a chance for Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champion, to get his 2018 season headed in the right direction at a track where he has four career wins. The most recent of those wins came in 2000, and nearly a decade after he last raced at the facility, Force is hopeful he can put on a memorable show in June in his 10,000-horsepower PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS.

“I am excited to return to Richmond,” said Force, who has 148 career Funny Car wins. “It is a great motorsports market for NHRA. It is really great that the NHRA is going back there. I have won races there, but it is kind of personal. They honored Eric Medlen after he passed away (in 2007). Having the opportunity to go back into that market and win races is big. They have a great race track and we will be doing a lot to promote that race.”

The top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will all try to pick up wins at a race that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 10. It is the 10th of 24 events during the 2018 NHRA season and comes as the second stop in a string of four consecutive race weekends.

Force is one of just a handful of current NHRA stars that has a victory at the facility, which added a brand new track surface at the beginning of 2018. In Funny Car, that list also includes Cruz Pedregon, who won earlier this year at Charlotte, and Del Worsham, but not surprisingly Force has the most in the class. Looking for his first win in a 2018 season that has been frustrating on a number of levels, Force hopes he can find a spark at a place where he won four times in six years.

“The fans in Richmond and across Virginia are unbelievable,” said Force, who is currently 12th in the Funny Car points standings. “They deserve to see 330 mph NHRA drag racing. When we used to race there we would have fans on the ropes from all over the east coast and they were great. I am looking forward to getting back there and seeing some old friends.”

With just five round wins in the first eight races, the trek to Virginia comes at a pivotal point for Force. He has watched his daughter, Courtney, win back-to-back races in Funny Car and take over the points lead, while John Force Racing Funny Car teammate Robert Hight is the defending world champ with three final round appearances in 2018. It gives John Force confidence he can start his turnaround in Virginia, but he will have his work cut out for him against a talented field that also includes Jack Beckman, 2016 world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, who has two wins in 2018, Pomona winner Matt Hagan, Jonnie Lindberg, Tommy Johnson Jr., and Shawn Langdon.

“Courtney and Robert have had success but without a doubt I know I am getting closer,” Force said. “I have been going through some struggles but we are seeing improvements every day. These race cars do the running for me. My guys are working with the brain trust and we are seeing results that will get us round wins hopefully starting in Richmond.”

Top Fuel veterans Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta have claimed wins at the facility, but both are chasing points leader Steve Torrence, who has three wins in 2018. Others to watch include Topeka winner Clay Millican, defending champ Brittany Force, Antron Brown, and Leah Pritchett.

Jeg Coughlin and Jason Line have Virginia Pro Stock wins, but are both seeking their first of 2018. There have been seven winners in eight races, including points leader Vincent Nobile, defending champ Bo Butner, Erica Enders, Chris McGaha, Tanner Gray, Deric Kramer and Matt Hartford.

Pro Stock Motorcycle will race at the track for the first time since 1998, with the event marking the fifth of 16 for the two-wheeled class in 2018. Everyone is chasing points leader and defending world champ Eddie Krawiec, who has two wins this season.

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service makes the fifth of 12 stops in 2018 at Virginia Motorsports Park. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

Those in attendance will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a few of the most renowned names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This will feature meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the Virginia NHRA Nationals include Joe Amato, Jim and Allison Lee, and Jim Yates.

As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:45 and 5:15 p.m. on Friday, June 8, and the final two rounds of qualifying at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 9. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 10.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com. ;

NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES RETURNS TO VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2009

DINWIDDIE, Va. — Virginia Motorsports Park will roar to life with the thrilling sights, sounds and 10,000-horsepower action of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for the first time since 2009 during the Inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals, June 8-10.

It is the 10th of 24 events during the 2018 NHRA season and is the second during a stretch of four consecutive race weekends. The adrenaline-fueled excitement of the 330-plus mph nitro-burning machines will return to the fan favorite facility, which has always been highly regarded for its fast conditions. With nearly a decade since its last appearance, the much-anticipated return of NHRA racing and its highlight reel action will be sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

A brand new track surface at the facility has also added to the excitement, as it has already yielded the quickest Top Alcohol Dragster field in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series history at the NHRA Northeast Division race in April.

The top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will all try to pick up wins at a race that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 10.

In Top Fuel, eight-time champ Tony Schumacher is the only active driver with a win at the facility, earning a win in 2008. Schumacher opened 2018 with a runner-up showing in Pomona to Doug Kalitta, but is still after his first win of the year. He is currently second in points, trailing Steve Torrence, who already has three wins in the first seven events. Others to watch include defending world champion Brittany Force, who won in Houston, Gainesville winner Richie Crampton, Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, three-time world champ Antron Brown, and the most recent winner Leah Pritchett.

Funny Car’s John Force has four wins at Virginia Motorsports Park, tying him with Top Fuel’s Cory McClenathan and Pro Stock’s Warren Johnson for most at the facility. His last came in 2000, while Cruz Pedregon, who won in Charlotte, also has a Virginia win. Force’s daughter, Courtney, has two wins on the season in the star-driven class as well as the points lead in the category and will try to grab her first title in Virginia. To do so, she will have to defeat Jack Beckman who was leading the points early this season, Pomona winner Matt Hagan, defending world champ Robert Hight, 2016 world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, who has two wins this season, Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jonnie Lindberg, Bob Tasca III, and class newcomer Shawn Langdon.

Jason Line won in Virginia in 2006, but is currently chasing KB Racing teammate Bo Butner, who won in Pomona and is the defending world champ. There has been impressive parity in the class thus far in 2018, with six different winners at the first seven races. That list also includes Vincent Nobile who has two event wins, Charlotte winner Erica Enders, Tanner Gray, Chris McGaha, and Matt Hartford. Others to watch include 2000 Virginia winner Jeg Coughlin, Greg Anderson, Drew Skillman, Deric Kramer, and Alex Laughlin.

Pro Stock Motorcycle will race at the track for the first time since 1998, with the event marking the fifth of 16 for the two-wheeled class in 2018. Defending world champ Eddie Krawiec started the season with a win in Gainesville and one in Atlanta but will face off against 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, who won in Charlotte, five-time world champion Andrew Hines, two-time world champ Matt Smith, three-time champion Angelle Sampey, Hector Arana Jr., LE Tonglet, Karen Stoffer, and Scotty Pollacheck.

The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service makes the fifth of 12 stops in 2018 at Virginia Motorsports Park. Winners already this year include three-time world champ Rickie Smith, Jim Whiteley and Jose Gonzalez. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

Along with the exciting on-track action, the Virginia NHRA Nationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.

Those in attendance will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a few of the most renowned names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This will feature meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the Virginia NHRA Nationals include Joe Amato, Jim and Allison Lee, and Jim Yates.

As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds on Friday, June 8, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 9. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 10.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com. 

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