‘Impressive’ Hagan tops qualifying at NHRA stop


BRAINERD, Minn. — Defending event champion Matt Hagan topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.

Paired with points leader Robert Hight for the final passes of the day, Hagan had a 3.843-second run at 331.36 mph in Tony Stewart Racing’s Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT. Hight topped qualifying for the fifth time this season and 48th overall. He has three victories this year.

“It’s impressive to do that, especially with the sun shining,” Hagan said. “That’s a testament to this track and the NHRA prep. I just think of what we might have been able to run if the cloud cover had stayed out. [But] we’re in a great spot tomorrow. We need to make sure we stay No. 2 [in points] and make sure we start the Countdown to the Championship in a great position.”

Top Fuel points leader Brittany Force also qualified No. 1. A four-time winner this year, she had a 3.661 at 334.65 for her sixth No. 1 of the season and 38th overall.

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