Steve Torrence set a new ET record in New England. (NHRA photo)
EPPING, NH – Steve Torrence, the reigning four-time Top Fuel world champion, posted the fastest run in New England Dragway history, heading to the provisional first place Friday at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway .
Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) are also the No. 1 provisional qualifiers at the eighth of 22 races in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
In a thrilling side-by-side qualifying race with points leader Brittany Force, Torrence set the ET track record with a run of 3.664 seconds at 329.50 mph in his 11,000 horsepower Capco Contractors dragster.
After seven races, the four-time champion is still looking for his first win of the 2022 season and could also claim his second No. 1 qualifier this year.
New England Dragway has also been good for the Torrence family, with Steve winning back to back before his father won last year. After the exceptional race on Friday, Steve also has the track record with his stellar breath to close the day.
“There was so much emotion behind that race just because we worked so hard and diligently to really make this car do that,” said Torrence. “(I) couldn’t be happier for each of these guys on the team because it’s so much work and it’s like seven or eight races now without us winning one and that’s quite a sacrifice. you have to do. You have to tear things down to build them back stronger and that’s where we are. I’m not going to say we’re there yet, but we’re definitely a step in the right direction. That’s a confidence booster for me and for each of the guys. It’s what we had to do, and it happened at the right time.
Force finished in second place with the only other run in the 3.60 on Friday, dropping from 3.687 to 329.50. This is her fourth win this season. Mike Salinas, who has two wins in 2022, is third with a 3.705-328.06 run.
Points leader Hagan continued to put on spectacular races in Funny Car, delivering an impressive 3.878-332.51 blast in his 11,000 horsepower Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat.
Hagan’s knack for delivering a big Friday run this year continued, helping him close in on his second straight No. 1 qualifier. If it holds, it will also give Hagan his 46th career No. 1 qualifier as he seeks his fourth career win at New England Dragway.
Hagan won three straight years at Epping before his streak was interrupted last year, and his bid for a third victory in 2022 for the freshman Tony Stewart Racing team got off to a good start on Friday.
“This Dodge Power Brokers is exciting to drive all the time,” Hagan said. “Having (crew chief) Dickie Venables under the hood is a godsend. Those are Dickie’s conditions. The guy is just a brain, and I’m just trying to do a good job riding him. You see guys there -bottoms that shake the tires, smoke them, don’t do full pulls because the track is so good A lot of the crew chiefs underestimated him, but one thing about this team is they don’t underestimate anything. They go for the jugular, and they seem to be hitting it a lot. I think it’s gonna have to step up (Saturday). If you get another day like today, you better put your mouthpiece on and hang on.
Blake Alexander took second place with a solid run of 3.911 at 325.22, while Jim Campbell’s career-best pass of 3.965 at 315.64 puts him third after the first run. Tim Wilkerson is right behind in fourth after going 3.966 to 320.66.
Glenn, the reigning NHRA Rookie of the Year, closed out his first No. 1 qualifier of the year, clocking 6.543 at 209.33 in his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro. As Pro Stock makes its first appearance since late April, it was Glenn who made the biggest impression on Friday. Racing for only the second time at Epping in his career, Glenn is after his second career No. 1 qualifier, as well as his second win this season.
“We were pretty happy. I’m sure the team bosses probably feel like there’s more left, but to go out and have a good lap clearly shows that we’ve been working hard over the past few weeks and somehow staying on the pace. Glenn said we didn’t have too much rust to get rid of. The race was nice and smooth, it felt natural, and I’m just glad I didn’t make any mistakes on my part.
“Tomorrow is going to be good. I would really like to stay in that No. 1 spot and see Greg [Anderson, KB Racing teammate] get down the track and have a good solid run. Our ultimate goal for this team is one, two and three, so that’s what I would like to see. But with such a tight field as it is, you can see the other teams have been working as well.
Glenn’s KB Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky is just behind in second after going 6.544 to 209.95, while Aaron Stanfield, who has two wins this year, is almost as close to third with his 6.545 to 211.00.