NHRA records fall in fast Friday sessions at Topeka

Matt Hagan powers his Funny Car down the strip during qualifying for the NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Anderson Studio

Records fell like a lead balloon Friday evening at Heartland Park – Topeka during first day qualifying at the NHRA Kansas Nationals.

Fresh off of his NHRA Southern Nationals victory, Matt Hagan obliterated the Funny Car elapsed time mark as he stopped the clocks in 3.862 seconds at 335.57 mph behind the wheel of his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger.

Shortly thereafter, Brittany Force established a new Top Fuel record by running 3.676 seconds in her Monster Energy dragster during the Q-2 session.

Jason Line rounded out the professional top qualifiers as he extended KB Racing’s qualifying dominance to 29 sessions where a member of the three-car team has led qualifying.

Funny Car qualifying delivered high entertainment value for the fans as far as Hagan was concerned.

“The fans got their money’s worth tonight,” said Hagan. “That was just a phenomenal session. Run after run, each car that ran kept lowering the bar. Our car is starting to really run strong. To come here and qualify No. 1 with the national record after winning last week in Atlanta, there’s a lot to be positive about.”

Jack Beckman ended the day as second quickest with a 3.866 at 332.10 mph, while Tim Wilkerson was third overall with a 3.869 at 333.74 mph.  Points leader Courtney Force was fourth with a 3.871 at 331.12 mph.

In Top Fuel, Force was in a zone as the only driver in her category to run 3.6-seconds during qualifying. Two-time 2016 winner Doug Kalitta posted a 3.701 elapsed time with a track record speed of 330.88 mph in his Mac Tools dragster.

“That was an incredible run for the entire Monster Energy team,” Brittany Force said. “I knew with the way the Funny Cars were running (tuning consultant) Alan Johnson and (crew chief) Brian Husen we were going to throw down. To be able to put a 3.67 on the board is just incredible. I was blown away when I found out what it ran at the top end. It really pumps us up going into tomorrow. This track is always fast. I love coming here, and I’ve always had good luck here. To end up in the winner’s circle on Sunday would be awesome.”

Steve Torrence was third with a 3.709 at 329.91 mph while defending event winner Richie Crampton was fourth with a 3.710 at 318.99 mph.

Pro Stock was more of the same with Line driving to the top with a 6.578 at 210.37 mph. The one aspect different for him was success in Topeka.

“We laughed on the way up here because I’ve never been to the media center at Topeka because I’ve never done anything good here, ever,” Line said. “It was two really great runs today by our Chevy Camaro. I’m going to sleep really good tonight.”

Line was followed by teammates Bo Butner (6.591, 209.59 mph) and Greg Anderson (6.600, 209.30 mph), who were second and third respectively.


Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus