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Qualified: No. 10 (3.960 E.T. at 321.12 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.164 E.T. at 257.97 MPH defeated by John Force 4.007 E.T. at 326.87 MPH

Race Recap:
The two-time Funny Car world champion’s campaign for a third title got off to a rocky start at the first race of the NHRA playoff series.
 
Matt Hagan entered the race weekend fresh off of a runner-up finish and ranked second in the Funny Car standings. The 2014 Reading champion qualified 10th for race day and faced John Force in the opening round. Hagan and Force were locked in a close race until just past halftrack when Hagan’s machine slowed to a 4.164 E.T. and Force was able to take the win with his 4.007 second pass.

Hagan will enter Countdown race No. 2 ranked fifth.

Quotable:
“Life is full of bounce back situations. You have to be down in order to be up sometimes. Obviously, going out first round like that is not how we wanted to start this Dodge race. At the end of the day, it comes down to digging deep and working hard and figuring out what the issues are and racing our car the way we know how. I came in this morning thinking that we really had the car to beat John (Force). He’s a good racer and I have a lot of respect for him, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have the best crew chief out there, and I think that’ll show at the end of the season. We’ve got another race coming up really quick, we don’t have to worry about sitting on this loss for a whole weekend. Thank you so much to Mopar and Dodge for what they put into this deal.”

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Qualified: No. 10
The Competition: No. 7 John ForceThe Results: 

Q1: 8.756 E.T. at 77.86 MPH
Q2: 3.960 E.T. at 321.12 MPH
Q3: 4.556 E.T. at 189.52 MPH
Q4: 4.973 E.T. at 154.23 MPH

Quotable: “Tomorrow’s race day, it’s the Countdown, anything can happen. Got a good team behind us, working hard, and we’re going to put this Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the winner’s circle.”
MATT HAGAN
Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
 
Qualified: No. 3 (3.943 E.T. at 324.05 MPH)
 
The Results:
E1: 4.401 E.T. at 217.56 MPH defeated Jonnie Lindberg 9.208 E.T. at 80.50 MPH
E2: 4.397 E.T. at 219.58 MPH defeated Courtney Force 4.557 E.T. at 219.15 MPH
E3: 4.129 E.T. at 298.60 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 4.148 E.T. at 307.16 MPH
E4: 4.141 E.T. at 300.60 MPH defeated by J.R. Todd 4.062 E.T. at 311.70 MPH
 
Race Recap:
Matt Hagan raced the new Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to its first ever final-round appearance at the 64th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals.
 
Hagan earned the No. 3 starting spot and the 2016 event winner at Indy began race day by defeating Jonnie Lindberg in a challenging run that saw Hagan deftly manage traction and engine issues to lock down the round win. Matched up against points leader Courtney Force in the quarterfinals, both drivers hazed the tires near halftrack with Hagan once again using his driving skills to pedal his car to the finish line for his 330th round win.
 
In the semifinals, three-time 2018 race winner Hagan recorded his best run of the day, a 4.129-second elapsed time at 298.60 mph, to knock off Shawn Langdon and advance to his sixth final round of the year and 53rd of his career. Lacking lane choice in the final against J.R. Todd, Hagan was first off the starting line but Todd soon pulled ahead, and Hagan’s solid 4.141 second run wasn’t enough to close the gap. Hagan will start second when the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs begin at the next race, the Dodge NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania.
 
Quotable:
"We’re going into the Countdown with some good points and a good lead on some of the heavy hitters. All we can focus on now is these next six races coming up. They’re important, but like I was telling my guys, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in points. We all want to do the best job we can and want nothing more than to put this new Hellcat body in the winner’s circle, and I feel like we’re going to do it two or three times in the Countdown, it’s just a matter of time. My take on it is to have some fun. The Countdown is always tough. You’ve got to figure out how to just enjoy the ride. We all deal with pressure and different things in a different way, but for me, it’s just rising to the occasion when the opportunity is there. We’re going to make opportunities for ourselves, we’ll capitalize on them, and hopefully turn that it into win lights on race day."

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NHRA Indianapolis Event Highlights: 

  • 2016 event champion 
  • Five-time No. 1 qualifier (2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) 

 
2017 Indianapolis Recap:
Qualified No. 1; First round exit (defeated by Jim Campbell in E1)
 
Last event (Brainerd):
Qualified third; First round exit (defeated by Jack Beckman in E1)

2018 Season Statistics:
24 round wins; ranked fifth in points 
 
Career Statistics:
233 races; 29 wins; 34 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy:

  • Reset the track speed (338.77-mph) and Funny Car E.T. (3.799 seconds) record en route to claiming the 2017 Funny Car pole  
  • career-best E.T.  
  • Made his NHRA Funny Car debut at the 2008 U.S. Nationals 


Quotable:
"We changed our motor combination around during Indy test so I feel like we'll come out with a new game plan; everything stronger. We've been off a little bit but after the test session, I feel like we're headed in the right direction going into the big Indy race and also the Countdown. We've got positive vibes rolling into this deal. 

"It's also a big weekend with Riley Kids. It's a cause near and dear to my heart, obviously, because I have four kids and couldn't imagine that helpless feeling if one of them was sick. When we go to Riley and visit the kids earlier in the week, it really hits home. I want to put a smile on their face more than I want my race car to go fast. 

"We've got a lot coming up. Indy is a big race. I'm glad I've won it and been able to check it off the list, so no pressure there but i want to win it again. We're all greedy like that."

matcotoolchest donschumacher johnforceIncluded in the items up for bid at the silent auction are a Matco Tools toolbox signed by Don Schumacher and John Force.

On Friday, August 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT, DSR will pull back the curtain and open the doors to its 145,000-square foot state-of-the-art racing facility for the 13th annual DSR Open House presented by Pennzoil. The annual Open House event, along with the yearly ‘This is How We Roll’ bowling function, taking place on December 5, are the team’s two major fundraisers for Riley Hospital. Since the partnership began in 2006, the largest team in drag racing has successfully raised more than half a million dollars for Riley.

In addition to meet-and-greets with DSR’s star-studded lineup of drivers Jack Beckman, Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Leah Pritchett, Tony Schumacher and Tommy Johnson Jr., fans will also have the opportunity to interact with International Motorsports Hall-of-Fame team owner, Don Schumacher, at the Open House.

There will be more than 200 custom muscle cars and motorcycles on display, and attendees will be treated to a cacklefest when nitro-burning vintage dragsters fire up simultaneously. Food trucks and Papa John’s Pizza will be available for hungry patrons, and guests will have the opportunity to bid on rare and one-of-a-kind items in the silent auction benefitting Riley. To support the DSR/Riley Children’s Foundation partnership, please visit donate.rileykids.org dsr18 or dsr2018.givesmart.com to bid on Open House auction items. 

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Next NHRA Event 2018

FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car

1. J.R. Todd (2166)
2. Robert Hight (2143)
3. Courtney Force (2141)
4. Ron Capps (2137)
5. Matt Hagan (2112)
6. Tim Wilkerson (2101)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2090)
8. Jack Beckman (2080)
9. John Force (2064)
10. Shawn Langdon (2054)