Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals Friday photo gallery
Friday, June 20, 2014

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NHRA New England Nationals
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For the second straight year, rabid race fans from the New England area have flocked to New England Dragway for the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals. NHRA Mello Yello qualifying begins at 4:15 p.m.

Fans old and young are enjoying time in the pits with NHRA's stars, including 16-time Funny Car champ John Force (above) and Gatornationals Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Steve Johnson (below).

The region's and the sport's rich history is well represented by a display that also is promoting the upcoming NHRA Hot Rod Reunion, featuring several restored or recreated nitro burners, including Rodalyn Knox's Country Girl Funny Car (above) and the famous glass-sided trailer of "TV Tommy" Ivo (below).

Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. (above) and team ready their JEGS Dodge Dart for the opening qualifying session with a trip to the scale to check their car's weight. (Below) Larry Morgan, right, and son Nick meanwhile do a little tuning on their Lucas Oil Mustang.

Tommy Johnson Jr. (above), who scored his first Funny Car win since 2007 last weekend in Bristol, and crew warm up their Make-A-Wish Dodge. Alexis DeJoria (below) and crew chief Tommy DeLago, winners already this season of two Funny Car trophies, also fired up their Patron XO Café Toyota prior to their first pass.

Jenna Tavares' beautiful Mashpee, Mass.-based Super Gas '41 Willys is the subject of the National Dragster cameras for the popular Featured Flyers section of the official magazine of the NHRA. 

NHRA Members and site subscribers can get up-to-the-minute, detailed coverage from this weekend's event on

[4:45 p.m.]  Hector Arana Jr. (right) grabbed the early lead in Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying with the Lucas Oil Buell after setting both ends of the track record at 6.821 and 197.57 mph. The old records, set last year by Michael Ray, were 6.832 and 197.05.

Atlanta winner Eddie Krawiec (above), who sits just over a round in points behind his Harley teammate Andrew Hines, had the session's second-best pass, a 6.852.

[5:20 p.m.] Hot off of her win last weekend in Bristol, Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens put the Elite Motorsports Camaro on the provisional pole with a track-record pass of 6.514, bettering the 6.533 mark set last year by Jeg Coughlin Jr. Coughlin (below) in turn broke Mike Edwards' Pro Stock track speed record of 212.79 with a blast of 213.94 mph on a 6.519 that has his JEGS Dodge Dart in the No. 2 spot.

[6 p.m.] Alexis DeJoria (above) raced her Patron XO Café Toyota to a field-leading 4.053, just shy of the 4.051 track record set last year by John Force. Matt Hagan (below) was an even three-hundredths back of DeJoria’s impressive charge with a 4.083 from his Mopar Express Lane Dodge.

[6:35 p.m.] Englishtown Top Fuel winner Richie Crampton (above) broke the track e.t. record in the first session with a 3.774, supplanting the 3.795 set last year by Doug Kalitta. J.R. Todd (below) reset the track speed record to 324.83 with a 3.778 pass that qualified him No. 2. The old mark was 324.67 by Shawn Langdon.

Antron Brown, right, shared his thoughts about how to take the No. 1 qualifying spot with Funny Car star Courtney Force and her boyfriend, IndyCar racer Graham Rahal, who was visiting the drags for the day.

  [7:40 p.m.] Hector Arana Jr. ran 6.807 to better the new track record he set in Q1 and solidify his hold on the No. 1 spot, but reigning Mello Yello champ Matt Smtih (above) is right on his heels with a strong 6.816 from the NitroFish Buell to rank second halfway through qualifying.

Smith's run temporarily gave him the No. 1 spot until Arana ran later in the session to retake the top position.

Andrew Hines (left) ran 6.858 to pull into the No. 4 spot behind his Harley teammate, Eddie Krawiec, who had to shut off on his second pass after running 6.852 on his opening lap.

[8 p.m.] A pair of Shanes provided the highlights in the second Pro Stock session. Shane Gray (above) took the No. 1 spot after a 6.485 track-record pass. The track record, which was reset in Q1, was reset three times in the session, first by Australian Shane Tucker (below) with a 6.496, the first 6.4-second pass at New England Dragway. Dave Connolly bettered Tucker’s pass with a 6.493 before Gray took it for good. Incoming qualifying leader Erica Enders-Stevens improved on her 6.514 with a 6.489 in the final pair of the session.

[8:30 p.m.] Robert Hight made the first three-second Funny Car pass in New England Dragway history to complete a wild session of qualifying. Teammate Courtney Force ran 4.031 to break her dad’s year-old 4.051 track record, but that was quickly bettered by Cruz Pedregon (below), who ran 4.026 to take the top spot that Hight stole on the final run of the session. Courtney also destroyed Matt Hagan’s 317.49-mph speed record with a 323.35-mph blast.

[9 p.m.] Doug Kalitta (above) took over the No. 1 spot from Richie Crampton, running a thousandth of a second quicker with a 3.773, but it didn’t last the round. Antron Brown (below) fired right back with a 3.770. Brittany Force reset the track speed record to 325.45.