Events / Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Nobile Goes Back-to-Back, Joins Hagan and Lucas in Winner’s Circle

Image courtesy of NHRA.com

Image courtesy of NHRA.com

Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile won his second Wally in as many weeks, defeating Jeg Coughlin for the second week in a row as well, as he and his race team appear dialed in for the upcoming NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Nobile’s Dodge Avenger posted a 6.586 at 210.54 while Coughlin ran a 6.615 at 210.60 in his Avenger. Nobile also improved to 3-0 in final round appearances against Coughlin this season.

“Luckily we came out on top, just like last weekend,” Nobile said. “I think I try a little bit harder when I’m going up against my teammates in Jeg and Allen, and it definitely means a lot beating Jeg. He’s just unbelievable and to be able to beat a champion, it means a lot to me and my team.”

Mike Edwards, who lost to Coughlin in the semifinals, stayed as the points leader in Pro Stock, while Nobile climbed to fourth. Greg Anderson also clinched a position in the Countdown to the Championship. Nobile, who posted his quickest run of the day in the finals, beat Chris McGaha, Allen Johnson and Anderson to reach the final round.

“I owe it a lot to my team because they’re doing a tremendous job right now,” said Nobile, who clinched his Countdown spot on Saturday during qualifying. “This is definitely a great time to turn it on for the Countdown. I was struggling in the beginning of the year, but I think I figured out what I was doing wrong.”

In the championship round of Funny Car, Matt Hagan, the 2011 world champion, powered his 8,000-horsepower Dodge Charger to a time of 4.171 seconds at 294.75 mph. Tasca, seeking his first win in nearly a year, slowed to a 5.324 at 164.81 in his Ford Mustang.

Hagan, who also picked up his ninth career win, outran Alexis DeJoria, Johnny Gray and Courtney Force, ending her six-round winning streak at the track, to reach the final round.

“The chemistry of this team is something I’ve never had before,” Hagan said. “It shows on the racetrack, and it trickles down from the top, where (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is a great leader. It’s phenomenal to strap into this Don Schumacher Racing car and know I have the opportunity to win every time I sit in it. I like to get patted on the back as much as anyone, but this is 100 percent hats off to my team.”

In Top Fuel, Morgan Lucas claimed his first victory of the season and eighth of his career, knocking off David Grubnic in the final round. Lucas covered the distance in his 8,000-horespower dragster in 3.908 at 296.57 to knock off Grubnic, who was making his first final round appearance in 2013 and went 4.253 at 256.31.

Lucas made his second straight final round appearance, finishing the job in Seattle after losing last weekend to points leader Shawn Langdon in Sonoma, CA.

“We’ve had our struggles, but this is a sign that we’re getting there and turning the corner,” Lucas said. “We’re starting to show some consistency. To win here in front of these fans with an amazing team, it’s probably as cool and as big as any win I’ve had. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of my team.”

Langdon maintained his points lead in Top Fuel, though Lucas was able to extract revenge in Seattle by beating the Al-Anabi Racing driver in the semifinals on Sunday. Despite a first-round loss, Tony Schumacher moved back into second place. Lucas, who has now made three final round appearances in 2013 and stayed seventh in points, also knocked off Khalid alBalooshi and Doug Kalitta en route to his first victory at Pacific Raceways.

“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this track,” said Lucas, who went as quick as 3.817 at 318.32 during eliminations. “Hopefully we can maintain this consistency the back half of the season because I really want to make a serious run at a championship.”

Pro Stock Championship point standings

  1.  Mike Edwards              1,421
  2.  Allen Johnson             1,333
  3.  Jeg Coughlin              1,241
  4.  Vincent Nobile            1,032
  5.  Shane Gray                  999

Funny Car Championship point standings

  1.  Matt Hagan                1,151
  2.  Cruz Pedregon             1,034
  3.  Ron Capps                 1,017
  4.  John Force                  996
  5.  Johnny Gray                 991

Top Fuel Championship point standings

  1.  Shawn Langdon             1,292
  2.  Tony Schumacher           1,145
  3.  Spencer Massey            1,140
  4.  Antron Brown                958
  5.  Doug Kalitta                956

The NHRA and Drag Race Central contributed to this report.

 

 

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