By Briar Starr, NHRA Staff Writer
This special feature was held in the second round of qualifying for all classes such as Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock, Top Fuel, and Funny Car. The rule was simple as the drivers had to set the low ET of their respective class to pick up the bonus money. $5,000 in Pro Stock Motorcycle, $7,500 in Pro Stock, and $15,000 for both Funny Car and Top Fuel.
As for the popular Funny Car category, the one driver who was able to pick up the $15,000 grand was Tony Stewart Racing’s, Matt Hagan. Hagan has had five No. 1 qualifiers this season but has not scored one as of late. In fact, his last No. 1 qualifier came right before the U.S. Nationals where he scored the No. 1 qualifier at Brainerd with a pass of 3.843 and 331.36 mph.
“It’s incredible that we can come out here to this event, this facility and for Billy Meyer to put that money up there like that, it’s just exciting to get in the car and get up on the wheel,” Hagan said. “To go out there and do it, what a cool feeling to hang on to a car like that. The conditions and this facility at Texas Motorplex, it was just phenomenal, and it was great to put on a show for these fans. It was really digging out there and it just felt great. We just need to step up, be aggressive and leave everything on the table.”
However, with a little bit more on the line at the Texas Motorplex, Hagan was seeking to crash the party of the Funny Car front runners, Robert Hight and Ron Capps who have been dominant in the past few races. Hagan, who has three wins of the season (Gainesville, Houston, Epping) was one of the few lucky drivers to set the low ET of his class Friday night.
The Christiansburg, Virginia native posted an ET of 3.825 at 334.85 mph, which was good enough to grab the $15,000. Hagan bested his round one qualifying where he was placed third with a time of 3.938 and 327.01 mph. For his efforts, the Tony Stewart Racing driver will gain three bonus points heading into Saturday.
Current qualifying running order after Q2
- Matt Hagan, Christiansburg VA, ’22 Charger 3.825 334.85 334.85
- 8 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, ’22 Camaro 3.854 333.43 333.43
- 1 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, ’22 Supra 3.865 335.40 335.40
- 3 Bob Tasca III, Cranston RI, ’19 Mustang 3.879 328.66 328.92
- 256 Blake Alexander, Charlotte NC, ’19 Mustang 3.905 319.24 320.74
- 5 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, ’22 Camaro 3.907 331.93 331.93
- 373 J.R. Todd, Jupiter FL, ’22 Supra 3.908 327.01 327.34
- 473 Chad Green, Midland TX, ’18 Mustang 3.940 320.26 320.26
- 9 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, ’18 Mustang 3.953 323.76 323.76
- 6 Alexis DeJoria, Austin TX, ’22 Supra 3.981 321.41 321.41
- 4 Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg IN, ’22 Charger 4.024 317.24 317.24
- 10 Jim Campbell, Long Beach CA, ’22 Charger 4.042 316.34 316.34
- 116 Paul Lee, Anaheim CA, ’19 Charger 4.052 322.26 322.26
- 34 Jack Wyatt, Seymour IA, ’21 Charger 4.127 284.47 284.47
- 717 Jeff Diehl, Salinas CA, ’20 Camry 4.754 173.85 173.85
- 121 Terry Haddock, Temple TX, ’18 Mustang 5.450 129.67 129.67
Additionally, Austin Prock in Top Fuel, Erica Enders in Pro Stock, and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle also won their bonus money as well.
Qualifying continues Saturday afternoon with the third and final round taking place live on NHRA TV. The third round of qualifying is slated for 12 p.m./Central time. Qualifying highlights from this weekend will be shown Sunday morning tape-delayed on Fox Sports 1 at 10 a.m./ET.