Compiled by SEMA Editors
HAGAN, LANGDON AND LINE COLLECT WINS AT SEASON OPENER: Reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan opened the 2015 NHRA season by racing to victory last Sunday at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were winners at the first of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. After overcoming a spectacular engine explosion during qualifying Friday, Hagan and his team rallied to qualify 12th last Saturday. He then powered his Rocky Boots/Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to four round-wins Sunday, including a winning final-round performance of 4.011 seconds at 320.89 mph to hold off his teammate Ron Capps at the finish line.
"You try to put it out of your mind and not think about it," Hagan said. "These [race cars] are animals out there, and you never know what you are going to get when you crawl in there to drive one. It’s always an experience. You have to respect it, but you can’t fear it."
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PRO STOCK DRIVER IN THE K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE PEOPLE'S CHOICE: Once again in 2015, NHRA fans will be able to vote their favorite Pro Stock driver into the NHRA K&N Horsepower Challenge—a special bonus event for the factory hot-rod class. The K&N Horsepower Challenge will be held Saturday, April 11, during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The event is open to eight drivers, seven of whom will be determined by points earned at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. The eighth spot will be decided by the fan vote.
NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT RETURNS FOR 2015: The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within a race, will be conducted at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, with Top Fuel showcased Saturday, September 5, and Funny Car featured on Sunday, September 6. Teams qualify for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts by winning an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season event, holding the No. 1 spot in the standings after the event in Brainerd, Minnesota, or via a fan vote and lottery-style drawing. The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will award $100,000 to the winners in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car events.
He Said, She Said
"It’s incredible. I'm blessed for the opportunity, my family and all the companies that support us, from the Indianapolis Car Exchange, Ray Skillman Chevrolet to Axalta Paints and Valvoline Oil. Without them we couldn’t be here. I especially want to thank my family. They’ve sacrificed a lot to put me here and I’m glad to have the opportunity. I really learned a lot about how to drive the car today. I’ve got no secrets yet. I’m lucky to keep it going. These guys work their tails off to get us here. I’d like to win a race or two, do well, qualify well and make a good representation for what we’ve got. I learned just how well we work together. We really have a lot of opportunity here. I think we’re going to do well."
—NHRA Pro Stock rookie Drew Skillman on racing to a runner-up finish in his initial outing in the factory hot-rod category. Skillman qualified fourth and defeated V. Gaines, Allen Johnson and Erica Enders-Stevens en route to the finals where he was narrowly defeated by Jason Line.
Inside the Numbers
3.700: Number in seconds of Shawn Langdon’s pass during the third qualifying session at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Pomona. His run was the quickest pass in NHRA Top Fuel history and earned Langdon his 17th No. 1 qualifying position of his career. Langdon used the top qualifying position to his advantage and won the event for the second time in his career. He wasn’t able to earn 20 bonus points for a national record as he didn’t certify the pass during the weekend. Antron Brown holds the national record with his run of 3.701 set in Reading in 2012.
Did You Know
ENDERS-STEVENS NAMED TO AARWBA ALL-AMERICAN TEAM: Erica Enders-Stevens, who last year became the first woman to win the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock title, was named to the 2014 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association All-America Team. Since 1970, the AARWBA has selected the top motorsports performers for acknowledgement. Enders-Stevens won her historic title on the strength of six national event wins and 19 top-three qualifying runs. She clinched the title at the 2014 Auto Club NHRA Finals when she defeated championship rival Jason Line in the final round.