Drag racing action from the NHRA New England Nationals included a second consecutive/convincing win for DSR Racing star Funny Car driver; Matt Hagan….

Hagan, driver of the Mopar Dodge//SRT Dodge Charger completed a wire-to-wire weekend at New England Dragway, racing from the pole in dominant fashion to claim his second consecutive win at the NHRA New England Nationals, and his second win in a row of this season.

Steve Torrence and Chris McGaha were the other Professional class title winners during the “sold out” 6th annual event version, which was circuit stop number 13 for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Hagan’s triumphant ride at Epping, New Hampshire, was the third consecutive and fifth of 2018 for a Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Dodge//SRT Funny Car driver, and the seventh of the season for a Mopar Dodge in the NHRA Nitro class. The win was Hagan’s third of the season and 29th of his career. He is currently second in the standings after making up nearly 100 points on the leader.

Racing his special edition Sandvik Coromant Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Hagan who was also a winner at the most recent NHRA stop in Norwalk, Ohio, qualified No. 1 and began his march to the event win by taking out Terry Haddock with a 4.066-second elapsed time at 316.15 mph that was the quickest of all competitors in round one. Next, in a fight with DSR Dodge teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., Hagan’s 4.237/245.90 was more than good enough for the win after Johnson encountered problems early.

Matt Hagan was once again all business while winning at the NHRA New England Nationals

The defending 2017 Epping winner drew a second teammate, Ron Capps, in another all-Mopar Dodge matchup in the semifinals. Hagan was first off the starting line and first to the finish with a .062 reaction time paired with a 4.114/311.05 pass to advance to his 52nd final round and fifth of the season. The two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion remained on point in the final against Tim Wilkerson, recording a superb .042 reaction time in the money round and passing the finish line with a winning 4.156/292.01.

Torrence notched his fifth victory of the year by beating Antron Brown in the final round with a 3.909 at 320.74 in his Capco Contractors dragster to Brown’s 3.948 at 315.12 in his Matco Tools / U.S. Army dragster. Torrence notched his first career win in Epping as he continues to build on his points lead in the Top Fuel class.

It was season win #5 (and counting) for NHRA points leader Steve Torrence in Top Fuel!

“This was a rough weekend but my team did an excellent job of adjusting to the track prep and the conditions out here,” Torrence said. “Our team is more well-rounded than it has ever been, and that gives me confidence every time I get in this car.”

Torrence entered the day qualified third as he defeated Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed and Tony Schumacher en route to victory.

Brown qualified 12th on the weekend and bested Clay Millican, defending world champion Brittany Force and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett as he reached his first final round of 2018.

McGaha took home the win in the Pro Stock class with a 6.570 at 211.10 in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro during the final round to take down Erica Enders who red-lit. McGaha secured his second win of the season and first since Phoenix as he becomes the fourth driver in the class to record multiple victories in 2018.

After struggling early in qualifying – it was Chris McGaha’s Chevy Camaro that emerged a winner in Pro Stock.

“We knew we needed to be aggressive in the final round against Erica [Enders], and we were lucky enough to end up winning that one,” McGaha said. “It’s been a very competitive year in this class so we are happy with any wins we can get.”

McGaha qualified ninth and beat Jeg Coughlin Jr., No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson and Kenny Delco on his path to victory.


New Mexico’s Doug Vancil roared to victory in the event’s special edition Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley eliminator – which drew in 11 entries.

It was a close race in the final as Vancil faced off against key class rival Jay Turner. Turner was quick on the tree but Vancil reached him before they reached 60 feet and continued to pull away taking the win with a run of 6.283 seconds and 222.44 mph. Doug’s third win this season, came from the #1 qualified position (6.301 secs) and also included round wins over Peter Geiss and Rickey House.

Doug Vancil roared to a win riding the Vance & Hines Top Fuel Harley

Runner-up Jay Turner set both low ET and top speed for the TFH racers running 6.263 secs and 228.31 mph.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

It was lady racers that were front and centre during the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series portion of the New England Nationals!

That included Canadian star Pro Stock Sled racer Tiina Duncanson, who completed a “natural hat trick” by winning in that special added event category for the 3rd consecutive season!

Tiina riding her Acton Ontario-based 2010 Ski-Doo, and who was the only Canadian entered in the class, prevailed in dominating fashion. She qualified #1 for the 8-sled field and set low ET of the event in the final round when her 8.269 secs defeated Brian Garus’s 8.345 secs ET.

Canada’s premier Pro Stock Sled racer Tiina Duncanson won at the NHRA New England Nationals for the third straight time!

Lady racers Randi Lyn Ship, from Indiana, and local racer, Deborah DiGenova, Derry, N.H., also took home wins in Stock Eliminator and Top Dragster classes respectively.

Shipp, worked her way through the field in her spectacular ’68 Pontiac Firebird and ran 10.548 seconds at 119.12 mph in her final round victory over Howie Smith, Syracuse, N.Y., who clocked in at 11.938 seconds, 106.81 mph.

Randi Shipp won in Stock with her immaculate C/SA Pontiac Firebird

Di Genova faced off against Rebecca Miller, Canterbury, Conn., and posted a winning run of 6.802 seconds, 194.60 mph in her ’03 Dragster. Miller was right on her heels at 6.844 seconds, 193.99 mph for her runner up finish.

In the final round of Super Stock Anthony Bongiovanni, Hopatcong, N.J., defeated Tom Boucher, Byfield, Mass, in his ’14 Cobra Jet clocking in at 8.461 seconds, 158.24 mph. Boucher had the starting line advantage, but Bongiovanni had the power to take the win and his first national event win.

The Super Stock title went to New Jersey’s Anthony Bongiovanni in his Ford Mustang

At the tender age of 77 (!) Ken Bowers won in Super Gas 9.90 class racing

In Super Gas, 77 years young, Ken Bowers, Islip, N.Y., went against Justin Lopes, Lakeville, Mass. Bowers had a better reaction time and used it to his advantage taking home his first win with a run of 9.919 seconds at 162.49 mph.

Other racers visiting the winner’s circle this weekend were Mike Robilotto, Albany, N.Y., in Super Comp and Peter Maduri, N Tonawanda, N.Y., in Super Street. In the Top Sportsman class prevented by Racing RV’s, it was Dave Testa, Seekonk, Mass., taking the win.

Peter Maduri won in the Super Street class in his Chevy S-10

Dave Testa won in the Racing RV’s presented Top Sportsman class in his great looking ’63 Corvette.

Posted with files by Darren Jacobs, Bruce Biegler and NHRA Communications

Photos by Bruce Biegler – Steve Embling – Dave DeAngelis – Phil Hutchison

To view DragRaceCanada’s New England Nationals event photo gallery – click: HERE