The first day of the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals wrapped up with a record setting run by Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, and quick runs by Top Fuel racer Austin Prock, Pro Stock racer Erica Enders and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Matt Smith. Hagan and Prock each scored $15,000 for their respective teams by making the quickest runs to grab the provisional No. 1 spots on the eighth day of the Stampede of Speed. Enders nabbed the $7,500 bonus and Smith went back-to-back winning the Friday Night Live bonus of $5,000 for the second consecutive year.
In addition to the racing action the fans were treated to a live performance by Grace Good, nationally known fire performer and a pair of high-performance jet dragsters. The fire and power of Friday Night Live wowed the fans but it was Hagan’s record setting run that was the buzz of the evening.
“I want to say thank you to Billy and Christie Meyer Johnson because without them there was no money to win,” said Hagan. “I have been out here all week promoting this event to a PBR crowd and then the Stars Over Texas concert with Brett Young and Wade Bowen. It feels good to get the bonus after you have been camped out here. It is exciting to get in the car and get up on the wheel. You have your adrenaline going and you are chewing on your mouthpiece because there is money on the line.”
Hagan’s run of 3.825 seconds at 334.85 mph knocked Bob Tasca III’s best run of 3.879 seconds at 328.66 mph off the top spot and out of the saddle.
Before Hagan took his bonus Enders, who is racing for her fifth Pro Stock world championship, ran to the top of a tough Pro Stock field moving around Elite Racing teammate Cristian Cuadra’s 6.533 second run out of the bonus money. Enders flew across the finish line and to the Provisional No. 1 spot with a 6.524 second run at 210.53 mph. She is chasing her fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and she was quickest of both sessions today collecting six bonus points in addition to the $7,500 Friday Night Live bonus check.
“When we saw Cristian go out there and run 6.53 seconds, we knew we could run right there with him,” said Enders. “I was surprised to hear over my radio from my crew chief that we were No. 1. The Stampede of Speed is so neat thanks to the Meyer family and the Texas Motorplex team. It is definitely fun and it adds a really cool environment up on the starting line and being able to run up there under the lights is not something Pro Stock gets to do very often. It makes for a very fun Friday night.”
Smith, the reigning Texas NHRA Fall Nationals winner and five-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion is racing for his sixth world title and holding off a tough field of motorcycle racers. For the second year in a row Smith made the quickest run of the Friday Night Live session outrunning his wife and teammate Angie Smith for the $5,000 bonus check. Ironically, Smith’s run in the second qualifying session was quick enough for the bonus cash but only moved him up to No. 2 in the provisional qualifying with a 6.734 second at 203.58 mph run which was just behind provisional No. 1 Angelle Sampey’s run of 6.728 seconds at 202.05 mph.
Top Fuel driver Austin Prock closed out the show with a 3.682 second 334.57 mph pass to upend Clay Millican’s hold on the top spot with his 3.685 second 332.08 mph blast early in the Top Fuel season. Millican withstood runs from five pairs of Top Fuel drivers before Prock rocketed past the veteran driver. If the time holds as the No. 1 qualifier it would be a first for the 2019 NHRA Rookie of the Year. He was running beside teammate and championship contender Brittany Force at the end of the second qualifier of Friday.
“I have dreamt of getting a No. 1 qualifier, so I hope it sticks,” said Prock. “The coolest part was doing it beside my teammate Brittany and going 1-2 in qualifying. We won the $15,000 grand last year and this performance just shows how strong our team is. This car has been coming along since before Indy. We seem to be peaking at the right time to do something good like winning this $15,000.”
The final day of qualifying for the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals will get under tomorrow at noon and 4:00 pm. With final eliminations starting at noon CT. The conclusion of the Stampede of Speed will be highlighted by the quickest and fastest race cars on the planet duking it out for a purse in excess of $1 million and a custom cowboy hat from Motorplex sponsor American Hat Company.
Elon Werner PR