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NHRA New England Nationals Saturday News and Notes

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the second day of the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway. Updated throughout the day.
01 Jun 2024
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Jordan Lazic

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the second day of the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway. Updated throughout the day.

After last year’s NHRA New England Nationals was interrupted by rain (and ultimately completed a week  later in Bristol), it’s a welcome relief for Epping fans to arrive at the track on Saturday with nary a cloud in the sky.

On Friday, Doug Kalitta, Austin Prock, and Erica Enders took the top spots in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, and each appears safe at the top since Saturday’s forecast is for warmer temperatures.

While the top spots aren’t likely to change, there should be plenty of jockeying for positions especially since all three pro categories have full fields.



Jordan Lazic made the quickest run in Saturday’s second Pro Mod qualifying session with a 5.705 in his Bahrain1 entry to put himself firmly in the 16 car field in Epping. Ken Quartuccio remained atop the field with yesterday’s 5.688, and made a solid back-up run with a 5.723 in his ProCharger equipped Camaro.

A few other drivers also found the 5.7s including Justin Bond (5.724), Kevin Rivenbark (5.724), championship leader Jose Gonzalez (5.764), Tony Wilson (5.780), and Billy Banaka (5.789) as the field tightened.



The final round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge will feature Team Elite’s Aaron Stanfield and KB Titan’s Dallas Glenn in a rematch of the Route 66 Raceway final two weeks ago.

In the opening pair, Stanfield left first, and outran Jerry Don Tucker, 6.573 to 6.591 while Glenn used a slight holeshot to take out five-time world champ Greg Anderson, 6.540 to 6.537. Glenn will have lane choice in the final round.

Aside from the Mission contestants, Matt Hartford made the quickest run of the round with a 6.553 followed by Troy Coughlin Jr., with a 6.557. Provisional low qualifier Erica Enders, who ran 6.488 under the lights last night, shut off early after shaking the tires in her JGH Camaro.



Steve Torrence will take on Dan Mercier in the final round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Epping. Torrence slowed to a 3.897 at just 270.64 mph in the opening round, but that was enough to beat Chicago winner Antron Brown, who lost traction at half track and slowed to a 4.440 in his Matco Tools dragster.

Mercier, who reached the semifinals for the first time in Chicago, continued his forward momentum when he outran Shawn Langdon, 3.857 to 3.896.

Justin Ashley, who has won more Mission Challenge events than anyone else in Top Fuel, did not participate in this week’s event, but he did make one of the best runs of the round with a 3.826 in his SCAG Power Equipment dragster.  Ashley remains solidly in the field with a 3.756 run from Friday night.



Provisional low qualifier Austin Prock made the quickest run of Saturday’s third Funny Car qualifying session while Blake Alexander and John Force made it to the final round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

Alexander got the best of Chicago winner Matt Hagan when he drove Jim Head’s Pronto Ford to a 4.026 to 4.104 victory.  Alexander will be able to choose his lane when he meets Force, who defeated Daniel Wilkerson’s SCAG Ford with a 4.133.

Prock, on pace for his fifth low qualifier award in seven events this season, backed up Friday’s 3.83 with a solid 3.973 in the heat of the day on Saturday. Chad Green also found the three-second zone with a 3.984 in his Bond Coat Ford.



There was plenty of bumping in the final session for the Congruity Pro Mod series presented by LearnEV+. The bvump spot dropped from a 7.456 to a competitive 5.810 as several drivers who began the session out of the field worked their way into the 16-car field.

Ken Quartuccio held on to the top spot with Friday’s 5.688 and he was also the quickest in the final round with a 5.742. One of the more impressive performances came from J.R. Gray, who wheeled Mike Janis’ Camaro to a 5.750 to secure his spot in the show. Billy Banaka also turned a few heads with a 5.755, improving upon his earlier 5.789.



By a margin of just eight thousandths of a second, Dallas Glenn backed up his win at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago with a victory in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Epping. In a rematch of the final, Glenn held off Aaron Stanfield 6.545 to 6.551. Both drivers were great on the starting line with Glenn grabbing a slight lead, .024 to .026.

The bump spot remained unchanged after Val Smeland was unable to get his Camaro off the starting line. That allowed Brandon Miller and Fernando Cuadra Jr., who were No. 15 and No. 16, to retain their spots in the field.

In Pro Stock, perhaps more than any other NHRA class, it’s not where you start but where you finish and to that end, Matt Hartford has to like his chances on Sunday after recording the best run of the session with a 6.539 to score three qualifying bonus points. It has been a dramatic turnaround for Hartford, who missed qualifying at two events earlier this year.



Steve Torrence will head into Sunday’s final eliminations with a lot of momentum following a win in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Torrence drove his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.866 to secure the win against Dan Mercier, who was ahead at half-track, but lost the lead when hs dropped a cylinder and slowed to a 3.897 at just 298.27 mph. Torrence finished qualifying as the No. 2 seed behind Doug Kalitta, and will take on Smax Smith in round one.

Shawn Langdon and Justin Ashley made a pair of strong tune-up runs with side-by-side 3.823 passes that shared the stage for low elapsed time of the round. Langdon scored the additional qualifying bonus points due to his faster speed, 327.43 to 3.24.83.

Tony Stewart also posted a solid run with a 3.843 in preparation for his round one match against Chicago winner Antron Brown.



John Force deep staged in the final round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and it paid off with a holeshot win against Blake Alexander. Force’s edge on the starting line contributed to a 4.048 to 3.994 victory. Force also finished the day as the No. 2 qualifier, behind his teammate, Austin Prock.

In what most crew chiefs described as challenging conditions, Chad Green and Bob Tasca III lead the way in the final Funny Car qualifying session with runs of 3.953 and 3.987, respectively. Green, winner of last season’s Pomona finale, used the run to move into the top half of the field, earning lane choice for tomorrow’s opening round. Tasca previously ran a 3.923 best.