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SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2017) - For people who visit the mile-high city of Denver, leaving the mountain could be a much-needed boost for their lungs that have been deprived of oxygen.
 
But for an 11,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T, it'll be a return to normalcy and everyone on the 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane Funny Car will be breathing easier. To say that the Mopar Mile-High Nationals was a challenge for two-time Funny Car champion Hagan and the Mopar team would be an understatement.
 
"Well, we went to the mountain and the mountain did not agree with us," Hagan said bluntly. "It was just a struggle from the moment we unloaded there. We had a pretty decent boomer there in the first round of qualifying and we just struggled all weekend after that. We hurt a lot of stuff, a lot of parts and we hate that. That's not like us, that's not what we do."
 
But this weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway in the wine country near San Francisco will be a breath of fresh sea-level air for crew chief Dickie Venables, assistant Michael Knudsen and the Mopar team.
 
"The great thing is, Denver is a one-off race. We won't see those conditions until next year. So we switched everything back over to what we normally have on the car and we'll go to Sonoma and have all the confidence in the world that we'll be just fine this weekend."
 
Hagan is seeking his first career win at Sonoma but was runner-up in 2012 and has two poles from the track that is known for quick elapsed times. The team has three event titles in four final round appearances through 14 of 24 Mello Yello events this season.
 
"We're ready to see what we can do in Sonoma," he said. "It's just a relief to return to what we know and we're ready to get after it this weekend. It's a beautiful place to go and they just pack the fans in there. So we'll do our best to try and put on a show for everyone... but not the kind of show we put on last weekend with all of those boomers."

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Next NHRA Event 2017

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)