Defending event champions Matt Hagan and Steve Torrence keep their winning ways in tact in New England….

Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) successfully defended their 2018 New England Nationals titles with repeat victories during a very hot and humid weekend event edition – season stop #13 — for the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Hagan won for the third straight year at the track in Funny Car, going 4.014-seconds at 322.81 mph in the final round in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to beat Shawn Langdon’s 4.046 at 317.49. Hagan, a two-time world champion, picked up his second win of 2019 and 31st in his career.

Hagan knocked off Don Schumacher Racing teammates Jack Beckman and Ron Capps, and Bob Tasca III, who entered the race on the strength of back-to-back wins, to reach the final round, going a weekend-best 3.958 at 326.24 to start his day. He stayed consistent the rest of eliminations to beat Langdon, who reached his second career final round in Funny Car with round wins against Jim Campbell, points leader Robert Hight and Tim Wilkerson.

“We went down the track in qualifying and that created a lot of confidence in our team,” said Hagan, who also picked up his 350th career round win during eliminations. “Rolling into race day, I knew we had a great car and I was confident in it.

Driving for Mopar and DSR – Matt Hagan roared to his 3rd consecutive NHRA New England Nationals fuel FC title.

“We kept lane choice every pass and that was big. I’m really excited we were able to get another win and we needed this to be our turning point this season. We needed to gather up some momentum and I feel like we’re making the right steps to move forward coming out of this race.”

In Top Fuel, Torrence, the points leader and defending world champ, kept his dominant stretch going, rolling to his seventh win in the past eight races during the 2019 season with a run of 3.861 at 321.58 to beat Scott Palmer in the final round in his Capco Contractors dragster. Torrence, who is nominated for the Best Driver Award at Wednesday’s 2019 ESPY Awards, picked up his 34th career win by beating Austin Prock, Terry McMillen and Richie Crampton to reach his eighth straight and 50th overall final round.

Points leader and defending World Champion Steve Torrence once again stood tall in Top Fuel.

Palmer advanced to his second career final round thanks to wins against Dan Mercier, Antron Brown and No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican, going 4.014 at 251.25 against Torrence. The victory also gives Torrence, who already clinched his spot in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship this weekend, his 13th win in the last 19 races dating back to last year’s playoffs and 26th win since 2017.

“I really, really want Scott Palmer to win a race, but we want to win them all, too,” said Torrence, who qualified ninth and won from the seventh different qualifying position in 2019. “That was a great final round. That’s a really good group of guys and to see the progression we’ve both made, it’s pretty neat and really special for us.

“Without being cocky and just being confident, you carry the mindset of you want to go everywhere and win. With doing that, you don’t treat anywhere any differently. This is a fun place to come to and it’s a pretty neat part of the country.”

The Epping NH event included race #7/10 for the Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley category and also the 4th and final Mountain Motor Pro Stock class demonstration scheduled for this season.

Defending TFH World Champion Tii Tharpe emerged the winner when he topped Rickey House in that final round by a 6.393 secs 214.69 mph to 6.424 secs 219.61 mph count.

Tii Tharpe (from North Carolina) won the event’s M/T Top Fuel Harley chase.

Tharpe’s victory, which increased his overall points margin lead for 2019 also included round wins over Randal Andras and Bill Jackson.

The quickest and fastest bike this weekend was the Vance & Hines entry driven by Doug Vancil which recorded both low ET and top speed at 6.332 secs 229.16 mph while qualifying #1 – however that machine broke during round one of eliminations.

John DeFlorian won his second NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock title of the year when he unloaded low ET of the event in the final round at 6.297 secs 224.28 mph in his Chevy Camaro to defeat the Ford Mustang of John Pluchino. Pluchino had a red-light foul in that championship round.

John DeFlorian won the 4th and final NHRA Mountain Motor Pro Stock race for 2019.

DeFlorian, who is from Missouri topped fellow Camaro racers JR Carr and Todd Hoerner in earlier rounds and also qualified #1 at 6.362 secs.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

NHRA’s backbone Lucas Oil drag racing series featured some great competition with event victories going to Byron Worner (Super Stock), Dean Cook (Stock), Iggie Boiesco (Super Gas) and Brian Sawyer (Super Street).

Pennsylvania-based firefighter Byron Worner won in Super Stock.

Dean Cook took this super cool ’71 Mustang to a first ever Stock eliminator win.

For the second year in a row – Brian Sawyer won in the S/ST (10.90) index class.

Iggie Boiesco won in Super Gas with his very consistent ATI-sponsored C7 entry.

It was Kenneth Moses (from New Jersey) however that grabbed the Sportsman spotlight when he collected two elimination wins racing his dragsters in Racing RV’s Top Dragster and also in Super Comp (8.90) competition. Those were in fact his 3rd and 4th career NHRA national event titles and he became the 26th different driver to accomplish that in NHRA national event history.

Kenneth Moses drove dragsters to wins in both Super Comp and TD classes!

David Miller was a first time winner in the Racing RV’s Top Sportsman class category. Miller topped a ferocious field with his cool 2000 Chevy S-10 Truck which is based from Canterbury CT. Miller raced by the Chevy Beretta of Richard Lachapelle in the championship round.

David Miller (from Connecticut) scored his first national event title in TS with this Chevy S-10 truck.

The Epping race did include an 8-entry field of Pro Stock Snowmobiles and that final round was a USA versus Canada match with John Parenteau (from New Hampshire) defeating Tiina Duncanson (from Ontario) by a 8.472 secs 154.90 mph to 8.779 secs 151.31 mph margin.

John Parenteau won the event’s special added attraction Pro Stock Snowmobile eliminator.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues July 19-21 with the 40th annual Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. It also marks the start of the NHRA’s famed three-race Western Swing.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler – Steve Embling – Dave DeAngelis

To link to LMLCMedia’s event photo gallery from the New England Nationals – click: HERE