Matt Hagan grabbed the No. 1 spot on the opening day of the Funny Car season, powering his Mopar Charger to a 3.867 in the opening session, and a run that lasted throughout the day and the cooler second qualifying session where a number of cars improved.
Hagan, who qualified No. 1 just once last season (Brainerd) and crew chief Dickie Venables smoked the tires in the second session but nonetheless remained at the top of a quick field that featured 10 three-second teams.
Hagan’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, who won the season finale here in Pomona in November, is qualified No.2 with a 3.868, also recorded in the first session, but impressively backed up with a 3.885 in Q2.
World champ Robert Hight posted a 3.885 and a 3.890 for the No. 3 spot with the third DSR car, the MD Anderson Cancer Center Dodge of Tommy Johnson Jr., slotted No. 4 after a 3.905 best.
Joining that foursome in the threes were Paul Lee in his debut with Global Electronic Technology on his entry (3.910), former world champ J.R. Todd (3.914), Tim Wilkerson (3.918), and Ron Capps (3.947).
Alexis DeJoria made her triumphant return to the class after a two-year hiatus, powering her Del Worsham-tuned ROKiT Phones/ABK Beer Toyota with runs of 4.04 and 3.98. She’s currently qualified No. 9.
Bob Bode impressed with a 3.984 for the No. 10 spot.
Nostalgia Funny Car racer Alex Milanovich made his debut with 4.55 in his “big show” debut in his Hot For Teacher Toyota and ended the day in the No. 14 spot.
Cruz Pedregon, who had to shut off on the starting line in Q1, is on the bump spot with a tire-smoking 10.95 in Q2.