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Brown, Hagan, Glenn and Herrera Pick Up Wins at Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals

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Three-time Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown picked up his 75th career win on Sunday at Route 66 Raceway, powering past Shawn Langdon in the final round of the 24th annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance.

Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the sixth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Brown went 3.838-seconds at 324.75 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/Toyota dragster in the championship round, winning for the first time in 2024 and the 75th time overall. Brown picked up wins against Jasmine Salinas, points leader Justin Ashley and Steve Torrence to reach the finals, leading wire-to-wire against Langdon, who went 3.869 at 322.04 in the finals, to claim his sixth overall Chicago victory and fourth in Top Fuel.

“This weekend, this track was medieval,” Brown said. “It was tricky. We didn’t get down in Q1 so we had to be safe in Q2 because that was Friday night where all the good numbers came up. We ran quick enough to get in the show. Now today was hot, and a lot of cars weren’t making it down. We just had to focus on what we were doing.

“In the final, we had to step it up. We figured we needed to go 3.82-83 because that’s how (Landgon) ran in the semifinals. We got down from start to finish and that was the key. I just try to stay humble and stay hungry. That’s my game. The race here has a lot of special meaning and it was a total team effort to get the job done. I always love racing here in Chicago.”

Langdon advanced to the final round for the third time this year and 41st time in his Top Fuel career, picking up wins against Cody Krohn, Shawn Reed and Dan Mercier. Ashley remained in the points lead.

In Funny Car, defending world champion Matt Hagan became the first two-time winner in the category, taking down John Force in a thriller of a final round with a run of 3.998 at 323.31 in his 11,000-horsepower Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat for Tony Stewart Racing. It’s also the second straight victory for Hagan, who won in Charlotte, and now appears to have found his groove, moving into the points lead in the process. The Charlotte victory was the 50th in his career and he added to that on Sunday, getting to the final round with wins against Ron Capps, Paul Lee and Blake Alexander.

Remarkably enough, the pass in the finals was the first 3-second run of the weekend for Hagan, but it came at the perfect time, as the four-time world champion held off Force’s 4.096 at 311.05 to win in Chicago for the fourth time, taking plenty of momentum into the summer.

“This was a tricky track but I think the thing I’m most proud of is how we got down it every time today,” Hagan said. “We qualified 11th which meant we got stuck in the left lane. Usually one lane is just a bit better than the other and today it was the right lane, but my guys did a great job. They killed it today. At the end of the day, we had a good car and I felt like I was seeing the light great today.

“I’m honored to race John Force. He’s the GOAT. He’s the best there’s ever been. We’ve had our moments but I have nothing but respect for him. Overall, this is the toughest the class has been since I remember.”

John Force made his second final-round appearance of 2024 and the 268th in his legendary career, taking down Buddy Hull, Alexis DeJoria and Daniel Wilkerson.

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Dallas Glenn remained perfect in his Pro Stock career at Route 66 Raceway, claiming his second straight victory at the facility with a run of 6.567 at 208.20 in his RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Aaron Stanfield in the championship round. Glenn also moved into the points lead after his impressive day, driving away with his second win this season and the 10th in his Pro Stock career. He made his first Pro Stock appearance in Chicago last year and made strong improvements on Sunday after qualifying in the seventh spot.

He beat Eric Latino, Troy Coughlin Jr. and KB Titan Racing teammate Greg Anderson to reach the final round, making his quickest run of the weekend against Anderson (6.565) before leading wire-to-wire against Stanfield in the finals.

“I felt good today. I was nice and relaxed, and I hit the tree when I needed to,” Glenn said. “We had a good car and in Q4 when I scored a bonus point that was good for my confidence. Being the No. 7 qualifier was not representative of how good our car was. Racing Greg, you never know what you’re going to get. He might be low for the weekend and lately he’s been driving extra good.

“As for the rivalry with Elite (Motorsports), it’s good for Pro Stock and I love it. I’m not the guy leading the charge. I prefer to let my car do the talking.”

Stanfield advanced to the finals for the second time this season and 17th time overall, taking down Fernando Cuadra Jr., Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Jerry Tucker.

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera found another level on Sunday in Chicago, winning his eighth straight race to tie Dave Schultz for the most consecutive wins in class history. In the final round at Route 66 Raceway, Herrera went 6.713 at 200.68 on his RevZilla/Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, holding off Chase Vant Sant to stay perfect in 2024. It’s his third victory this season and eighth straight dating back to the second race in the Countdown to the Championship a year ago, also giving the defending world champion his 14th career victory in just his 24th career start.

Herrera saw his streak of 11 straight No. 1 qualifiers snapped on Saturday to Matt Smith, but he was dominant on Sunday, going 6.694 at 200.47 in the opening round. He added victories against John Hall and LE Tonglet to reach the championship round, leaving first on Van Sant and cruising to another memorable victory.

“First, congrats to Chase Van Sant. He did a great job today and he’s on his way,” Herrera said. “As far as tying Dave Schultz, I’m honored. I wish I’d had a chance to meet him, but I’ve heard a lot of great stories and I know what he did for this Pro Stock Motorcycle class. It’s still hard to believe I’m mentioned in the same sentence as him.

“We qualified No. 2 behind Matt, but today was a different day. The weather was consistent and that let us really work on our tune-up. I honestly thought I would be me and Matt in the final round. I was consistent and my bike was on rails. We had a very consistent motorcycle this weekend.”

Van Sant, the reigning NHRA Rookie of the Year winner, advanced to his first career final round thanks to victories against Steve Johnson, M. Smith and Angie Smith.

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns to action May 31-June 2 with the 14th annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

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This story was originally published on May 20, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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