News

Latest News

d99a5509-d335-44b3-83fc-f5fb3351c5b3.jpg

Qualified: No. 1 (3.872 E.T. at 333.58 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.114 E.T. at 275.11 MPH defeated Jonnie Lindberg 4.998 E.T. at 162.98 MPH
E2: 4.005 E.T. at 323.04 MPH defeated Ron Capps 6.338 E.T. at 83.99 MPH
E3: 4.015 E.T. at 326.95 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.977 E.T. at 324.59 MPH

Race Recap:
Behind the wheel of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, Matt Hagan charged his way into the final race of the 2019 season on the heels of back-to-back Countdown wins. The two-time Funny Car world champion was looking to make it three straight victories and close his campaign by clinching a third world title. His winning momentum continued in qualifying with Hagan grabbing the No. 1 position and 10 qualifying points to close to within 44 points of first, and on Sunday, the ladder put his championship destiny in his team’s hands. 

Hagan began eliminations with a rematch of the final from two weeks ago in the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil at Las Vegas. The result was the same with Hagan coming out victorious versus Jonnie Lindberg. His teammate Ron Capps was the next opponent and Hagan cruised to his 10th consecutive round win behind the wheel of the Dickie Venables-tuned Hellcat. The victory setup the season-defining race with point leader Robert Hight. In his 600th career round of competition, Hagan posted a 4.015-second pass, but was outrun by Hight’s 3.977 E.T.

The surge during the later stages of the Countdown moved him from ninth after St. Louis to finishing third in the final Countdown standings. 

Quotable:
“I think we gave it a great shot. I know we might have been counted out after St. Louis. We finished really strong and gave ourselves a chance. I’m really proud of my guys – Dickie Venables, Mike Knudsen, Alex Conway – those guys fought all the way through and never gave up. I think we put on a great show for everyone including our sponsors MOPAR, Pennzoil, Sandvik Coromant. I’m proud to wheel the car for them. It’s one of those things where you never give up. We fought all the way to the end. We lost lane choice today and couldn’t push as hard which put us at a disadvantage. We came in here and earned the No. 1 position in qualifying and put on a good show. We gave the fans what they wanted. It was a great show all the way up to the end. Congratulations to Robert Hight. Those guys won more races than anyone out here this year. They beat us today in the semis and deserve to be champions.” 

matt.jpg

CREDIT NHRA - Matt Hagan held onto his Friday No. 1 in Funny Car as teams mostly put away their hero tune-ups in favor of getting ready for a warmer Sunday. Jack Beckman was the only one who got a real good swing at Hagan’s field-leading 3.872 with a 3.876 in the cooling air of the final session.

Eight of the 16 qualified made their run in that final qualifying session to set the field and another two made their best run of the meet in Q3 after the majority of the team -– save for Hagan’s Dickie Venables-led group -– struggled Friday and Venables used Saturday as a tune-up day for Sunday.

“I asked Dickie if we were going to go for some more qualifying [bonus] points today and he said not at all; we’d already made sure that we did what we needed to do -– to not let Robert [Hight] put another round on us –- and so he was just going to back everything down and try to figure out where the racetrack was going to be and where he could push," said Hahan. "Our runs were real safe, very raceable. I’m proud to see him do that; he’s a smart racer and the reason we’ve won so many races. I love that he’s a racer at heart and not out here just trying to stroke his ego trying to throw down all of the time.

“I’m excited. I’m hungry for it. We all live to be in this position but we’re not going to do anything stupid, We’re just going to race our racecar and stay in our lane and do what we’ve been doing to get here.”


MATT"S CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES

Robert Hight held serve during qualifying despite not making a Jimmy Prock-esque pass until the final session of the Auto Club NHRA Finals. He holds a two-round lead over Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan and controls his destiny. Here are the scenarios:

Hight will automatically win his third title if he reaches the final round. There are still five racers in title contention on the final day of the 2019 season. 

Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan must go at least two rounds further than Hight to win a championship. Hagan can take Hight out himself in the semifinals, while Beckman is on the opposite side of the ladder. 

John Force can take out his teammate in the first round of the race, setting up a drama-filled first round. If Force wins the race, the title battle is on in Pomona. He only needs to go two rounds further than Beckman (who, again, is on the opposite side of the ladder). Force also would need to go two rounds further than Hagan, who the 16-time champion could face in the semifinals. He would not control his destiny, but he would open the door for everyone else. 

Bob Tasca III must win the race AND Force must defeat Hight in the first round for the Ford Mustang driver to have an opportunity. 

Ron Capps, J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr. have been eliminated from championship contention. 

5dcc74362e017.image.jpg

Thanks to a stellar late-season push, Christiansburg’s Matt Hagan has put himself in contention for a third NHRA Funny Car title this weekend.

He still has plenty of work to do, however.

Hagan enters this weekend’s final event at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, third in the Funny Car standings. He trails leader Robert Hight by 56 points and, depending on qualifying results, would need to advance at least two rounds further than Hight to win the title.

Full Story

 

DSD_1668.JPG

After stumbling in the first two rounds of the Countdown to the championship, winning just one round, the Mopar team of driver Matt Hagan and tuner Dickie Venables have come alive and inserted themselves right back into the points battle with his second straight win. In front of a packed house that included executives from both of his primary sponsors, Dodge and Pennzoil, Hagan defeated upset-minded Jonnie Lindberg in the final, 3.87 to 3.94, to climb to third in points.

After early outs in Reading and St. Louis, the DSR Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody entry came alive in Charlotte with a semifinal finish then won all four rounds two weeks ago in Dallas to keep themselves in the title fight.

Hagan carved his way to the final the same way he did in Dallas with a steady string of runs: 3.90 to beat Paul Lee, 3.86 to defeat Tommy Johnson Jr., and a 3.881 to put the brakes on Bob Tasca III’s hopes to continue to climb the points ladder. The final round was the 64th of Hagan’s career.

Hagan took advantage of the early outs by the top two drivers in points, Jack Beckman and Robert Hight, to pull to within 56 points.

mhologo250

   

Next NHRA Event

FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

2019 Funny Car

1 Robert Hight 2637
2 Jack Beckman 2629
3 Matt Hagan 2563
4 John Force 2471
5 Bob Tasca III 2446
6 Ron Capps 2414
7 J.R. Todd 2391
8 Tommy Johnson Jr 2360
9 Shawn Langdon 2358
10 Tim Wilkerson 2283