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Matt HaganMatt Hagan, the cattle farmer from Christiansburg, VA, no longer wears the high speed badge of 335 mph.

He wears a faster badge.

When fellow Funny Car racer Robert Hight upped Hagan’s signature showcase speed to 337 mph during qualifying at Heartland Park Topeka last week, the cowboy hat and boot wearing two-time world champion hit an even more impressive stride.

Hagan raced down the runway of high horsepower fashion with the fastest run in drag racing history, 338.85 mph.

Equally impressive, Hagan also garnered the quickest elapsed time in NHRA Funny Car history with a 3.802-second time pass.

Hagan admitted, “This one actually had a lot of really fast shaft early and almost didn’t make it. It was fast early and then Dickie had the timing coming out of it. It settled down and then the clutch came to it and then it got back up on the tire and was floating around, like it let loose. Loose is fast, but it was definitely one of those floating feelings. It just felt fast.”

Hagan quickly learned what his crew chief Dickie Venable had referenced time and time again, about “truly getting all of it.” Hagan, who once tried his hand unsuccessfully at circle track racing, likened the experience to a dirt track car gliding along the top of the racing surface.

Unlike his signature 335-mph record from 2016, where his Mopar-sponsored Dodge Charger dropped two cylinders in the last 200 feet and lost 13-degrees of timing, this time Venables kept all of the candles lit all the way until the last 50 feet of the run.

“We had a crosswind, and then it put a cylinder out down there because it hit the rev limiter, so it was still a handful down there on the big end because of what was going on,” Hagan revealed. While the cynical critics of modern-day fuel racing are already declaring a change to the 8,250 NHRA imposed rev-limiter will go even lower, Hagan believes such a move would be detrimental to a big picture which is already facing many challenges.

“Come next race, we’ll probably have an even lower rev limiter,” Hagan admitted. “I think that’s very dangerous for NHRA to do to these Funny cars. Because they’re already pushing cylinders out and that’s more time and more chances to have bigger explosions on the top end. I think they should just let us roll. The tracks are going to get hotter, and we’re going to slow down anyway.”

Besides, as Hagan sees it, at 338 mph, Funny Cars and drag racing exemplify the most extreme sport there is in the world.

“You hear all these people talk about extreme sports and X Games and you have all those sponsors over there doing that stuff,” Hagan declared. “This is as extreme as it gets. At 338 mph with a steering wheel in your lap, I mean there is nothing on planet Earth that is cooler than that.

“I’ve never flipped two or three times on a dirt bike, but they can’t be close to this. It was just awesome. I don’t know what everybody else is looking at, but this is it. This is the extreme of the most extreme.”

Hagan, smiling from the experiences, challenges the other so-called extreme sports to try that on for size.

Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus

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FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1383)
2. Robert Hight (1247)
3. Matt Hagan (1214)
4. Tommy Johnson Jr. (1180 or 1200)
5. Jack Beckman (1160)
6. Courtney Force (1012)
7. John Force (954)
8. Tim Wilkerson (792)
9. J.R. Todd (788)
10. Alexis DeJoria (664)