Jeg Coughlin continued his perfect season at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, taking home the No. 1 qualifying spot for the second consecutive event of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) also raced to the No. 1 qualifying spot in their respective classes after a rain delayed day in Phoenix, with the fourth qualifying session being cancelled due to weather. The trio were also No. 1 qualifiers at the season opener in Pomona.
Coughlin has dominated the season so far, having taken home the No. 1 qualifying position and event win in Pomona two weeks ago. Saturday qualifying in Phoenix was no different after Coughlin rocketed to the top with a pass of 6.536-seconds at 208.52 mph. The five-time Pro Stock world champion is currently embarking on his “Breaking Barriers Tour,” announcing that he will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2020 season. He will race rookie Marty Robertson in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
“I think coming into the weekend here we were obviously riding right off of back-to-back Pomona wins,” said Coughlin. “Coming into this weekend as the defending champion kind of gave us another little feather in our cap. The team has been aggressive. We’ve been very fortunate our car has been performing really, really well. From behind the wheel, I can tell you we have quite a rocket. It feels amazing. I think that gives us a lot of confidence going into race day.”
Coughlin’s teammate Erica Enders sits in the second position with a 6.554-second pass at 208.33, with Aaron Stanfield close behind in third after going 6.567-seconds at 207.69.
In Top Fuel, Force stole the top spot away from Steve Torrence after posting a 3.670-second pass at 327.11 in her Flav-R-Pac dragster. Saturday’s No. 1 qualifier marks Force’s second No. 1 of the season and the 20th of her career. Force is looking to take home her first win at Phoenix, set to face off against Terry Totten in the opening round of eliminations.
“We were trying to run a little bit quicker than that,” Force said. “That was barely around Torrence, but we stole the No. 1 spot. We got our second (green No. 1 qualifier) hat of the season. Really what our plan is, is to go out and win on race day. We’ve been consistent all weekend long with the three runs that we’ve had, but we need to do the same thing all day long tomorrow. It’s consistency. We made some mistakes carrying it over on race day a couple of weeks ago in Pomona. We’re ready for race day. We’re ready to go out and hopefully win the thing.”
Reigning Top Fuel champion Torrence sits in a close second after a run of 3.671-seconds at 326.48. Leah Pruett rounds out the top three with a pass of 3.680-seconds at 328.06.
Hagan finds himself in the No. 1 spot for the second race in a row this season with a run of 3.859-seconds at 331.61 in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Saturday’s No. 1 qualifier marks Hagan’s 38th career start from the No. 1 spot and the second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Hagan will face off against Jeff Diehl in the opening round of eliminations.
“We have a really great race car,” said Hagan. “It’s driving well and it’s handling well. The car has been really performing. I’m just really excited about tomorrow. We’re going to have great weather on race day and we’re going to get after it. Dicky (Venables, crew chief) is one of those guys that really rises to the occasion all the time. When you’re strapped in that car and the conditions are right he can really throw down and always put you right where you need to be. Not a lot of guys out there can really say that.”
Following close behind Hagan is John Force sitting in the second spot after posting a 3.861-second pass at 331.94. In the third spot is Robert Hight after a pass of 3.867-seconds at 330.55.
Eliminations for the NHRA Arizona Nationals will begin at 11:00 a.m. MT on Sunday.
Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the second 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. Brittany Force, 3.670 seconds, 327.11 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 4.126, 269.08; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.671, 326.48 vs. 15. Jim Maroney, 4.018, 266.11; 3. Leah Pruett, 3.680, 328.06 vs. 14. Doug Foley, 3.878, 311.13; 4. Terry McMillen, 3.696, 326.79 vs. 13. Antron Brown, 3.786, 324.44; 5. Justin Ashley, 3.707, 322.81 vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.778, 322.96; 6. Billy Torrence, 3.714, 328.14 vs. 11. Austin Prock, 3.775, 314.24; 7. Shawn Langdon, 3.733, 325.45 vs. 10. Clay Millican, 3.772, 319.14; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.740, 323.50 vs. 9. Shawn Reed, 3.749, 325.92.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Cameron Ferre, 14.887, 44.61.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.859, 331.61 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Camry, 6.987, 94.65; 2. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.861, 331.94 vs. 15. Terry Haddock, Ford Mustang, 5.612, 125.56; 3. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.867, 330.55 vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.352, 269.67; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.868, 323.81 vs. 13. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.257, 210.37; 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.883, 328.86 vs. 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.974, 319.75; 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.889, 329.42 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.962, 323.74; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.889, 329.10 vs. 10. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.916, 316.30; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.896, 327.66 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.916, 317.64.
Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.536, 208.46 vs. 16. Marty Robertson, Ford Mustang, 6.695, 206.39; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.554, 208.33 vs. 15. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.656, 206.13; 3. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.567, 207.69 vs. 14. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.644, 206.32; 4. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.579, 209.20 vs. 13. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.639, 205.38; 5. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.580, 208.42 vs. 12. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.634, 208.04; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.581, 209.01 vs. 11. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.596, 207.91; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.581, 208.55 vs. 10. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.592, 208.30; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.583, 208.14 vs. 9. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.589, 207.88.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Fernando Cuadra, 6.745, 205.66; 18. Steve Graham, 7.139, 162.43; 19. Joey Grose, 7.446, 138.97.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019