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Qualified: No. 1 (3.891 E.T. at 331.53 MPH)
 
The Results:
E1: 3.935 E.T. at 327.11 MPH on a Bye run
E2: 3.983 E.T. at 328.06 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 3.956 E.T. at 324.44 MPH

Race Recap:
Starting race day from the pole for the 41st time in his career and first time this season, three-time defending New England Nationals Funny Car champion Matt Hagan put himself in prime position to vie for a fourth straight Epping win on Sunday. He began his quest for the 2021 New England trophy by powering the DSR Performance Dodge Hellcat down the dragstrip in 3.935 seconds on a Bye run, which held up to be the quickest  E.T. of the round. The defending Camping World Series Funny Car champion then faced Tim Wilkerson in round two where he took his machine on another smooth, solid pass but found himself on the wrong side of a good drag race when Wilkerson was able to outrun to the finish line, recording a 3.956 E.T. to Hagan’s 3.983.
 
Quotable:
“It was a pretty good weekend at Epping. We qualified No. 1 for the first time this year and got that yellow No. 1 Camping World hat. The car ran really well, and we have a really good race car. We were just on the bad side of a good drag race that second round against Tim Wilkerson. You’re going to have those. You lose more than you win, but when you do win them, it makes them that much more special. Our turn for a win is right around the corner, so I’m really looking forward to Norwalk. We’re doing everything right to turn on the win lights, but sometimes you get on the bad side and that’s just racing. Last year we were on the right side of most of those races. You pay your dues, work hard and it will come around for ya, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’ll roll into Norwalk and be excited for a great weekend. We’re glad to get DSR Performance and the DSR.parts website some good exposure with getting the No. 1 qualifier this weekend. The car looked good and it ran good, too. There’s so much racing left this season. This is only our sixth race in and there’s so much racing left, but it’s all about the finish and we’re a marathoner, not sprinting.”
 

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By no means has Matt Hagan had a bad start to the season. But the defending Funny Car world champ hasn’t had a winning start to the year, either, which means New England Dragway is popping up at the perfect point in the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule.

Hagan has the last three wins there and he’ll look to make it four straight in Epping at next weekend’s TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila. For a multitude of reasons — some explainable and others not — Hagan feels right at home at the facility, and it’s brought out the best in his team.

“Some tracks just treat you well and show you a lot of love,” Hagan said. “It’s kind of one of those things where we seem to qualify well and run well there. Our car likes to have that cooler weather and it’s a great racing surface there. When it’s a little cooler, the car just wants to run. That’s the wheelhouse for (crew chief) Dickie Venables. He just wants to throw down.”

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NHRA - As a Funny Car pilot on the weekend, and cattle and hemp rancher during the week, it’s safe to say Don Schumacher Racing’s Matt Hagan is certainly deserved of the moniker of "world’s fastest farmer." The reigning three-time world champion has enjoyed a successful NHRA Drag Racing and farming career for more than a decade, and his two "day jobs" often intertwine. For the last eight years, Hagan has relied on New Holland’s hay and forage equipment on his Christiansburg, Va., property, and will now benefit from New Holland’s support on the racetrack, as he welcomes the global agricultural machinery brand to his Funny Car team as an associate partner.
 
“New Holland has been a crucial partner for me on my farm,” said Hagan, a multi-hyphenate who launched Hagan Cattle Company, a farm-to-table beef delivery service, to his portfolio of businesses, which also includes TruHarvest, a burgeoning CBD company, and a successful cattle sales business. “Over the past four years, I’ve transitioned almost all of my machinery to New Holland equipment, and I’m excited to now be able to represent their brand on the side of our race car. I know many of our fans are farmers themselves, especially in many of the mid-Western states that we visit on the NHRA tour. I always enjoy talking farming at the ropes with people, so it just made sense to now bring New Holland on board with the race team and expand our current partnership beyond my Virginia farm.”
 
When not wrangling his 11,000-hp Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Hagan spends his days on his 3,400-acre property, where he raises about 750 “momma” cows that produce calves for the market and is active in cultivating his hemp farming endeavor, which requires many of the same types of processes and machinery as cattle farming. He is hands-on in all aspects, from growing feed to being able to handle every chore on the spread.
 
“There is so much plowing, baling, raking, and cutting involved with operating both of my farming businesses, and using New Holland’s equipment makes my life, and everyone else that works on the farm, so much easier,” added Hagan. “Cattle farming is year-round, and hemp farming is seasonal. I’m fortunate we can use most of the same equipment.”
 
Hagan’s expanded partnership with New Holland will include associate branding on his Dodge Funny Car at all 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series events, and he will fly the company’s signature blue and yellow colors in St. Louis, where New Holland will join the 2020 Funny Car world champ as his primary sponsor at the NHRA Midwest Nationals later this season.

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A few years ago, Darrell Gwynn asked a media member if the drivers appreciate what they bring to the mix. It was a remarkably thoughtful question – and the answer is a matter for another day.

However, it raised the notion that the media and the fans often take for granted all the processes and the feelings behind them that the drivers experience. We see them with “that look” in their eyes. We see them make thrilling runs. We see them make disappointing ones. We see them win. We see them lose. We see their cars run into tire shake or explode. We see how they react when they get out of the car. And we only can imagine what they’re thinking and why they’re reacting in whatever way they do. We might not understand all of it or even misinterpret it.

Three-time and current NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan took time to walk Dragzine through some of the emotions and impulses of a driver’s day at the racetrack – and some of it just might be surprising.

It’s no surprise that racecar drivers are wired a little differently than the rest of us. But the notion of competition is a logical place to start figuring out why.

Hagan likened it to the “fight or flight syndrome” – “as a competitor, I’ve really tried over the years to learn how to take a pressure situation and turn it into something that’s positive. Some people are like, ‘Man, I don’t want to mess this up.’ For me, I look at it like ‘Give me the ball. I want that opportunity.’

“I think that that aggression, that adrenaline and that everything-that-it-takes-to-get-there puts you in, almost an old-school gladiator kind of feel. It’s just the last of what we do, of our primal instincts, to just be adrenaline-filled. That’s why people used to come and watch people fight tigers in an arena,” he said.

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Matt Hagan Spring Nationals

Driver of the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye
 
Qualified: No. 6 (3.961 E.T. at 324.12 MPH)
 
The Results:
E1: 3.946 E.T. at 312.78 MPH defeated Chad Green 3.969 E.T. at 320.38 MPH
E2: 3.964 E.T. at 317.87 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.929 E.T. at 325.30 MPH
 
Race Recap:
Despite launching to the third-quickest pass of Q1, reigning Funny Car world champ Matt Hagan started Monday’s elimination rounds from the No. 6 seed after rain washed out his opportunity to make a second qualifying pass. Hagan was first out of the gate against E1 opponent Chad Green and took his Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye on a winning 3.946-second ride to set up a meeting with teammate Ron Capps in E2. Against Capps, crew chief Dickie Venables tuned Hagan to a solid 3.964 E.T., but Capps started to pull away early into the run, ending Venables’ shot at finishing race day in the winner’s circle with Hagan and the team at his hometown track.
 
Quotable:
“It was a wild weekend here at Houston. I’ve been here since Wednesday and we only got three runs in. I’m glad we were able to get the race in here at the Pennzoil Proving Grounds, but we’d have liked to gone more rounds for our friends at Pennzoil at their home track. It was a challenging weekend for us and all the teams. We’re on the right track to turn on more win lights. These Funny Cars are a handful to run. We had a boomer in E1 and then it was a mad dash and a quick turnaround for E2. I  was really happy with the guys and how they put everything together safely and properly, and we made the turnaround in 35-40 minutes. The guys are meshing really well and we’re going to do big things in the future.”

Next NHRA Event

Summit Nationals 4c 0

FC Points

Camping World Funny Car Top Ten

1 Bob Tasca III 495
2 John Force 480
3 J.R. Todd 450
4 Robert Hight 423
5 Matt Hagan 375
6 Ron Capps 372
7 Tim Wilkerson 364
8 Alexis DeJoria 325
9 Cruz Pedregon 305
10 Terry Haddock 226

 

Hagan Cattle Co

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