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NHRA: Crampton, Hagan, Enders take Thunder Valley Nationals

Matt Hagan won at his home track in Funny Car for the first time in his career Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categorie...

Matt Hagan won at his home track in Funny Car for the first time in his career Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at the historic dragstrip in northeast Tennessee.

Hagan, a native of Christiansburg, Va., powered to a 4.164-second run at 303.23 mph in his Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T to defeat Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the final. The victory was Hagan's first at Bristol Dragway, fourth of the season, and 18th of his career.

Hagan outran Jeff Diehl, Cruz Pedregon, and Jack Beckman in earlier rounds en route to the final. With the victory, the two-time and defending Funny Car world champion increased his series points lead.

Capps was appearing in his fifth final of the season in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. The three-time Bristol winner defeated 2009 world champ Robert Hight, 16-time world champ John Force, and two-time world champ Tony Pedregon to reach the final, which keeps him second in points.

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Crampton, last season's Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner, raced his Lucas Oil dragster to a 3.884 at 321.04 to take the win over three-time world champ Larry Dixon, whose C&J Energy Services dragster slowed to a 4.004 at 250.41. The win was Crampton's first in Bristol, third of the season, and fifth of his career. He is now 5-0 in finals and moves to third in points.

Dixon was appearing in his third final of the season, all three against Crampton. The three-time world champ is still searching for his first win since Phoenix in 2011. Dixon is now fourth in points leaving Bristol.

In a Pro Stock final featuring a battle between Chevy Camaros, Enders defended her Bristol win from last season with a final round 6.685 at 206.95 to Chris McGaha's 6.689 at 207.46. Enders, the defending Pro Stock world champ, defeated John Gaydosh, Jason Line, and Shane Gray en route to the final. The win was Enders' fourth of the season and 16th of her career, two behind Top Fuel's Shirley Muldowney for second on the all-time wins list for women in the Mello Yello Series.

McGaha was appearing in his second career final, his first coming in Houston earlier this year. His Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro has been competitive in both, losing to Enders in the two finals. He beat Kenny Delco, Vincent Nobile, and Jonathan Gray to reach the final.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues in Norwalk July 2-5 with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

Rickie Smith claimed his first win of the season in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the event. This weekend's Pro Mod competition, presented by the Will Kinzer Foundation for Autism Research in association with the Autism Society of East Tennessee, was the fifth of 10 events in the season.

Smith, the two-time and defending world champ, powered his IDG '15 Chevy Camaro to a winning performance of 5.944 seconds at 244.52 mph over Gainesville winner Bob Rahaim's TLC Waste Management '15 Corvette. The win was the King, N.C., native's eighth career victory and third at Bristol Dragway. He is now fifth in points.

Rahaim, the No. 1 qualifier with the ninth fastest Pro Mod run ever in qualifying, fouled out with a red-light during the final, negating his 5.962 at 230.72. He was searching for his second career win. Rahaim is second in points.

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The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series next heads to Norwalk for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, July 2-5.

-nhra.com

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