Report courtesy Bobby Bennett, Competition Plus
NHRA preseason testing came to a close Saturday after fielding three successful days of test runs for drag racers who compete in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing.
In the end, returning Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon and Funny Car driver Matt Hagan emerged as the head of their respective classes.
Langdon stopped the timers behind the wheel of the DHL dragster with a 3.685 second elapsed time at 325.77 miles per hour. Proving the run was no fluke, he returned in warmer temperatures and added a 3.691 follow-up.
"To come out and run a 3.685, and a 3.691, you cannot help but feel really good," Langdon said. "We came out in the first two days and made planned shut-off runs, and still the incrementals showed we could make the runs we did today.
"It's Conrad [Kalitta]; he came out and laid something down. He was happy enough with it that he hopped on his plane and flew back home."
It was a busy day for Langdon, who pulled double-duty not only driving his dragster but also making laps in Doug Kalitta's MAC Tools-sponsored dragster, where he ran a 3.728 best.
Leah Pritchett was second quickest with a 3.689-second pass at 327.66.
It took Hagan three days, but he was finally to end the John Force Racing domination in Funny Car. Hagan ran a 3.839 elapsed time at 329.83 to bypass then quickest John Force.
Hagan, who battled a head cold all weekend, showed no weakness behind the wheel of his Mopar Dodge Charger on Saturday.
"We have a bunch of confidence rolling into Pomona," Hagan explained. "We ran a 3.88, .87, .86 and finished the day with an .83. How can you not have confidence when your car is working that good.
"Dickie [Venables] has this thing dialed in, and coming off a strong run last season; I can't wait to get to Pomona. I will be rested up and ready to go once we get to Pomona."
Force ran a score of 3.8-second passes before ending the day with a 3.860, 328.62 best. Jack Beckman was third quickest with a 3.891, 328.62. J.R. Todd was fourth with a 3.905, 322.65.