NORWALK, Ohio (June 26, 2016) – The Rocky Boots/Mopar Express Lane team entered this weekend’s 10th annual Summit Racing NHRA Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, on a high note from their runner-up finish last weekend at Bristol, Tenn.
But the Rocky Boots team wasn’t able to continue their hot weather success Sunday when Matt Hagan was ousted in the opening round of eliminations by John Force.
“Obviously that was not what we wanted,” Hagan said. “We want to win every race we come to. We had so many great folks from Fin, Feather and Fur outdoors store here and we wanted to celebrate with them in the winner’s circle.”
Instead, Hagan’s 10,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T lost traction and slowed to a 5.042-second, 272-mph pass as Force got the win light with a subpar 4.25.
“At the end of the day, we’re not satisfied,” Hagan said. “We were just up there trying to press a little too hard. We were trying to run a 3.93 on a racetrack that probably wouldn’t hold that. We just overstepped it a little bit and were trying to run too hard. We’ll learn from it and and head to Chicago in two weeks and start over.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has ended its most grueling stretch of four events in four weekends. The Rocky Boots team led by crew chief Dickie Venables had one final round appearance and two quarterfinal finishes during the Eastern Swing. Hagan qualified in the top-six at each of the four events.
“Overall, this stretch of races was good for our team. No doubt it was some of the toughest racing we’ve seen but we put this behind us now and turn our focus to Chicago in a couple weeks and then we’re off on the Western Swing after that.”
The Rocky Boots/Mopar team fell two spots to sixth in Mello Yello Funny Car standings.
FUNNY CAR Event winner: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing) No. 1 qualifier: Del Worsham (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.875, 328.70 – track records
MATT HAGAN, Rocky Boots /Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 6
First round: John Force (4.254 sec., 237.71 mph) def. HAGAN (5.042, 272.78)
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 19, 2016) – Matt Hagan reached his third final round in the past five NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events on Sunday at the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Hagan considers Bristol a home track since it is only two hours from his home and cattle operation in Christiansburg, Va. And last year, it was the Rocky Boots team that earned the NHRA Wally trophy at the Thunder Valley Nationals.
But Hagan had to settle for a runner-up to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. on Sunday.
“Just another good race weekend for this Rocky Boots/Mopar team,” Hagan said. “We made it to the final round and when you get that far, all you want to do is win it for your team, for the folks out here, especially for me this weekend. We had a whole pile of people out here supporting me, and I wish we could’ve treated them with a trip to the winner’s circle.”
Hagan and the Rocky Boots/Mopar Express Lane team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen opened eliminations with the best elapsed time of the day, 3.945 seconds at 309 mph, to take out Tim Wilkerson. Hagan then disposed of Courtney Force and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, who has won the last two Mello Yello titles, before meeting DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round.
Johnson just edged Hagan and the Rocky Boots team with a 4.038 pass to Hagan’s 4.030-second lap.
“Tommy, he was just on it on the starting line, just a little bit better than me and that’s what made the difference,” Hagan said. “We just pack up and move on and head to the next one next weekend and try to get the job done there.”
The Rocky Boots/Mopar team entered this weekend’s event sixth in Funny Car points standings but advancing to the final round moved them to fourth.
“We’re in the top-five now and that’s important to us,” Hagan said. “We need to keep climbing and with the way this Rocky Boots car is running right now, I feel like we can really do that here over this summer stretch of races.”
Event winner: Tommy Johnson Jr.
No. 1 qualifier: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing) 3.884 sec.-track record, 323.66 mph
MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 4
First round: HAGAN (3.945 sec., 309.49) def. Tim Wilkerson (4.614, 176.12)
Second round: HAGAN (4.048, 316.82) def. Courtney Force (4.048, 313.66)
Semifinals: HAGAN (5.190, 220.98) def. Ron Capps (5.989, 158.13)
Final: Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.038, 313.22) def. HAGAN (4.030, 317.57)
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (966)
2. Courtney Force (836)
3. Jack Beckman (832)
4. Del Worsham (760)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (750)
6. Matt Hagan (747)
7. Tim Wilkerson (723)
8. Robert Hight (722)
9. John Force (668)
10. Alexis DeJoria (640)