(Photos by Wes Allison and Sandra Alberti) – Shawn Langdon kicked off the 2020 season opener in style, grabbing the Top Fuel provisional No. 1 qualifier spot on presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com after making the switch from Funny Car back to Top Fuel dragster.
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan and in Pro Stock Jeg Coughlin Jr. also claimed Friday’s No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories.
Past world champ Langdon knocked off Brittany Force during Q2 to claim the quickest run with a pass of 3.699-seconds at 322.42 mph in his DHL Toyota Top Fuel Dragster to kick off the season. Langdon is looking to start off the season strong after two years in the Funny Car class. Langdon has qualified #1 at Pomona.
“There are tracks you go to and it seems like everything just clicks. I could stage this thing in reverse and it seems like it just works out. There are tracks you go to and it feels like you fall out of bed awkwardly. Pomona is one of those tracks I feel like I’ve had good success at. I’m just excited about today. It’s a good start,” said Langdon.
Brittany Force, with new sponsor Monster Energy on the side of her Top Fuel Dragster, follows close behind in second with a 3.706 at 329.10 mph, which Leah Pruett in third after a 3.715 second pass at 324.75 mph.
Matt Hagan is looking to continue the momentum from 2019, posting a 3.867 at 331.20 to grab the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot for Funny Car in his MOPAR-backed Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Hagan is looking to grab his 37th career No. 1 qualifier and fifth at Pomona.
Jack Beckman is currently seeded second with a 3.868-second pass at 326.95 mph, while defending Funny Car champion Robert Hight trails close behind in third with a 3.885 at 330.31 mph.
Rookie Alex Miladinovich, just earned his pro license in his self-built Funny Car. He qualified 14th in his Hot For Teacher Toyota Camry with a 4.554 ET at 246.71; 15 pass. Miladinovich is no rookie to nitro racing, he raced for years in a Mustang bodied funny car in the NHRA Heritage Series, his wife Marcie is the teacher in the family.
After a two-year hiatus from NHRA funny car racing, Alexis Dejoria is back in competition at the 60th annual Winternationals this weekend. The 2014 U.S. Nationals winner is making her return to the track and seeking her first win at the historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Dejoria, Robert Hight and Erica Enders met at a sparsely attended pre-race press conference.
Dejoria is back with what she calls her family, “With Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante, yeah they’re family… they’ve all won championships.” While NHRA today emphasizes diversity with women participating in drag racing, Dejoria pointed to the women she followed growing up, “Yeah pioneers like Shirley Muldowney, Shelly Anderson (Payne) and Bunny Burkett were all badass, for years there have been some really strong female presences out here. Being a woman has never really been an issue, at the end of the day we all want to be the best driver.”
Pro Stock’s Jeg Coughlin Jr. sits in the provisional No. 1 qualifier spot with a 6.530 at 210.73 mph pass. If the position holds, this will be Coughlin’s 33rd career No. 1 qualifier. Close behind him in second place is Coughlin’s Elite Motorsports teammate and three-time Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders, who ran a 6.552 at 210.70mph. Kenny Delco follows close behind in third after running a 6.553-second pass at 210.60 mph.
Announced on Saturday by six-time world champion Coughlin Jr. that 2020 will be his last full-time season in professional drag racing. He’ll complete his efforts racing alongside teammate Erica Enders at Elite Motorsports, driving the JEGS.com Camaro tuned by Rickie Jones. Coughlin’s final campaign will be dubbed the “Breaking Barriers Tour,” in reference to his many racing accomplishments.
Beyond this season, Coughlin plans to continue competing in select NHRA events at the Sportsman level as well as some local and national bracket races. He also isn’t ruling out the possibility of returning to Pro Stock for the occasional race, should an opportunity present itself.
Check out our first Gallery of Wes Allison’s photos from the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals:
POMONA, Calif. — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Pomona.
Top Fuel — 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.699 seconds, 322.42 mph; 2. Brittany Force, 3.706, 329.10; 3. Leah Pruett, 3.715, 324.75; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.729, 329.75; 5. Shawn Reed, 3.735, 328.86; 6. Terry McMillen, 3.758, 325.45; 7. Clay Millican, 3.779, 283.55; 8. Antron Brown, 3.780, 322.42; 9. Brandon Welch, 3.841, 272.17; 10. Jim Maroney, 4.035, 294.43; 11. Justin Ashley, 4.094, 214.96; 12. Austin Prock, 4.361, 195.03.
Funny Car — 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.867, 331.20; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.868, 326.95; 3. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.885, 330.31; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.905, 318.02; 5. Paul Lee, Charger, 3.910, 332.92; 6. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.914, 327.11; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.918, 322.96; 8. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.947, 324.12; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.983, 325.37; 10. Bob Bode, Mustang, 3.984, 320.89; 11. John Force, Camaro, 4.130, 302.28;12. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.182, 233.96; 13. Steven Densham, Mustang, 4.361, 205.35; 14. Alex Miladinovich, Camry, 4.554, 246.71; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.930, 173.76; 16. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 10.951, 75.01.
Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.530, 210.73; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.552, 210.70; 3. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.553, 210.60; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.553, 210.18; 5. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.554, 210.01; 6. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.555, 210.41; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.562, 210.80; 8. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.564, 210.67; 9. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.565, 210.80; 10. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.566, 209.82; 11. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.600, 209.39; 12. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.605, 210.11; 13. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.611, 209.39; 14. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, 6.636, 207.62; 15. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.640, 205.79; 16. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.647, 208.46. Not Qualified: 17. Tom Huggins, 6.691, 207.40; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 6.695, 208.04; 19.Alan Prusiensky, 6.705, 207.43; 20. Martin Robertson, 7.555, 133.86.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com at 1:00 p.m. PT.