Motorsports

NHRA Wrap-Up: Anderson Wins Pro Stock; Pritchett & Hagan Win Again

 
Arizona NHRA Nationals Winner's Circle - Pritchett, Hagan, Anderson 2017

(Image/NHRA)

Greg Anderson won Pro Stock to make it two in a row to start the season for Team Summit, and Leah Pritchett repeated as the Top Fuel winner for the second consecutive race at the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ.

Matt Hagan also made it two in a row to start off the year by winning Funny Car at the second of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events slated for 2017.

Anderson Makes it Two in a Row for Team Summit

Anderson raced his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.547-second, 211.43 miles-per-hour pass to defeat Drew Skillman and his Chevy Camaro‘s 6.565 at 210.50 for the 87th victory of his career and second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. It was Anderson’s 140th final round.

“It was brutal today, but I knew it was going to be coming in,” Anderson said. “The class is awesome right now. I think every race I had today was decided by less than a foot. You just don’t get better racing than that. It’s fantastic out there. It’s just a Battle Royale every time you stage the car. Anybody can win and that’s what it’s all about. ”

Anderson defeated Kenny Delco, Shane Gray and rookie Tanner Gray in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectfully. Skillman got past Anderson’s KB Racing teammate and reigning world champion Jason Line and Jeg Coughlin on his way to the final round.

Pritchett is First Top Fueler to Win First Two Races Since 1997

Pritchett’s first career win was in Arizona one year ago, and for the second-consecutive year, Pritchett defeated Brittany Force in the finals. Pritchett’s 3.705 at 328.22 in her dragster earned her her third career victory, second of the season and second at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Force raced to a 3.704 at 330.39, losing to Pritchett on a holeshot.

“I’m learning to do what it takes to get into that extreme, severe mindset of what it takes to do what we’re doing,” said Pritchett who won the season opening event at Pomona, CA. “Honestly, I’m trying to keep up with my team for how well they’re doing and make them proud of me as a driver and do the job that is expected of a Don Schumacher racing team, and I think we’re doing pretty okay with that. We’re blessed with the equipment and the talent capabilities of the people and everyone that it takes to make it. I’m happy I can hold up my end of the bargain.”

It is the first time a Top Fuel pilot has won the first two races of the season since Gary Scelzi in 1997. Pritchett was the event’s #1 qualifier and set the elapsed-time national record with a 3.658 pass in qualifying.

Pritchett outran Clay Millican and Shawn Reed en route to the win while Force faced off against Terry McMillen, three-time and reigning world champion Antron Brown, and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher before falling to Pritchett in the finals.

Hagan Joins Pritchett as Back-to-Back Winner

In Funny Car, Hagan won his second-consecutive Funny Car race to remain undefeated in 2017.

Hagan’s 3.878 at 330.88 in his Sandvik Coromat Dodge Charger R/T bettered reigning world champion Ron Capps’ 3.883 at 330.88 in his Charger.

“It’s just great. We got ourselves a hotrod right now,” Hagan said. “The car is running strong. My lights are on point right now. I’m just feeling it, feeling this race car, this race team. We’re just digging. Everybody is working hard. The car is going down the race track every lap. How much more could you ask for? It’s a great feeling to crawl in the car knowing that you have the confidence that it’s going to run strong. And then when your lights are good, it’s a real hard combination to beat.”

Hagan has two wins at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, the first coming in 2015. He raced Cruz Pedregon, 2016 race winner Tim Wilkerson and # 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. on his way to the winner’s circle. Capps defeated Jeff Arend, Gary Densham, and Jim Campbell.

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season continues with the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL, March 16-19.

NHRA Pro Stock Point Standings

1. Jason Line           126
2. Greg Anderson        103
3. Bo Butner             77
4. Erica Enders          75
5. Vincent Nobile        58

NHRA Funny Car Point Standings

1. Matt Hagan           119
2. Courtney Force        99
3. John Force            80
4. Ron Capps             77
5. Jack Beckman          53

NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Leah Pritchett       122
2. Doug Kalitta         105
3. Antron Brown          79
4. Tony Schumacher       70
5. Brittany Force        57
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