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)



Next NHRA Event 2018

FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. J.R. Todd (2553)
2. Robert Hight (2479)
3. Ron Capps (2388)
4. Tim Wilkerson (2367)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2362)
6. Courtney Force (2324)
7. Matt Hagan (2321)
8. Jack Beckman (2283)
9. John Force (2277)
10. Shawn Langdon (2204)