ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 16, 2016) – Two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan was powered by Pennzoil to his fourth win in six final round appearances this season on Sunday at the AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals at Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
The Pennzoil/Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T defeated John Bojec, Courtney Force, Robert Hight and current Funny Car points leader and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the final round to earn his 22nd career win.
“That’s a huge (final) round,” Hagan said. “Unfortunately we faced him (Capps) late in the race. In Reading, we had him in the semis and he left on me and spanked me on the tree. This time I got to leave on him and get a little payback. He’s a great guy, great individual and one of those guys that took me under his wing when I first came out here. I have lots of respect for him and I know he’s digging deep and working hard but we have a job to do for Pennzoil, Mopar, Freightliner, Rocky and all those folks that support us.”
Hagan with crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen got back into the championship hunt with an outstanding weekend.
The first seven runs by the Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge were in the 3.8-second range. The only run it missed the magic bracket was in his final race against Capps when Hagan’s quicker reaction time won on a holeshot to beat Capps quicker Dodge.
“We race heads up and that’s the way it’s going to be. When you earn a championship that’s what makes you feel good, that you earned it. We’re just keeping the old boy honest. I love him (Capps) to death and it was cool to see him in the final but I was glad to see that win light come on in our lane. We’ve had to get through some pretty tough cars today and had a little bit of luck go our way.”
Hagan and the Pennzoil team moved into third in Funny Car points standings with two Countdown to the Championship events remaining in 2016. With their win, they pulled within 88 of leader Capps and 22 of DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.
DSR holds the top-four spots in Funny Car standings with Jack Beckman in fourth.
It was Hagan’s second title from the Motorplex facility near Dallas.
“It’s a great race track,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of success out here. This track has shown me some love, I love all these Texas folks. Hopefully we can keep this ball rolling in the Countdown. It’s the fiercest competition that I’ve ever seen out here. You have to bring it every time. It takes everybody to do what we’re supposed to do. We are very, very blessed to be out here. You don’t take it for granted and you work hard for it every day.”
Hagan pushed his Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T to a 3.913 at 327.03 to beat points leader Ron Capps’ 3.906 at 322.19 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T on a holeshot in the Funny Car final round. Hagan, who won in Dallas in 2010, claimed his fourth victory of the year and 22nd of his career. The Virginia cattle rancher moved to third in points, trailing Capps by 88 and second-place Tommy Johnson Jr. by 24. He defeated John Bojec, Houston winner Courtney Force, and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight in the earlier rounds.
“That was a huge round,” said Hagan, a two-time world champion. “It’s just unfortunate that we’re facing [Ron Capps] so late in rounds. In Reading, I had him in the semi’s, and he spanked me on the Tree, and this time, I was able to get a little payback. I actually try to minimize everything out of my control and just focus on leaving on time, keeping it in the groove, and turning on the win light and let the rest take care of itself. We can’t worry about who might mess up or how many rounds someone might go; we just need to do the best job we can and turn on as many win lights as we can.” Full Race coverage
Funny Car (Unofficial)
1. Ron Capps (2465)
2. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2401)
3. Matt Hagan (2377)
4. Jack Beckman (2334)
5. Del Worsham (2320)
6. Robert Hight (2278)
7. John Force (2267)
8. Courtney Force (2238)
9. Tim Wilkerson (2228)
10. Alexis DeJoria (2151)