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SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2017) - Matt Hagan and the 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane Funny Car team had opportunities the last two races to take big chunks out of Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps led in the championship race.
 
Capps lost in the first round Sunday in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals near San Francisco as his team did the previous week at Denver.
 
But at Denver, Hagan lost in the first round at Sonoma on Sunday and in the second round at Denver.
 
With three NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events remaining before points are reset to start the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, Hagan continues ranked No. 2 but trails Capps by 183 points.
 
"Just a rough couple of weekends," said Hagan, the two-time world champion who has won three times in 15 races this year. "The Western Swing has not been treating us kindly. We need to focus on Seattle."
 
The Western Swings includes three races in three weeks and it concludes next weekend at Seattle.
 
"Unfortunately, we smoked the tires on four out of the five times that we were up there on the starting line and that's just not common for (crew chief) Dickie Venables and our guys to miss it that bad that often" said Hagan, whose only full pass was in Friday's first session was in 3.904 seconds at 330.39 mph that held up for the No. 6 qualifying position.
 
Hagan's car appeared to suffer a minor fuel leak on the prerace burnout before running Del Worsham, who also lost traction but his 5.142-second run at 210.87 mph was more than enough to top Hagan's 10.951 after he smoked his tires right at the start.
 
"Doing the burnout I was trying to talk to the guys (about the fuel leak) over the radio with one hand and back it up one-handed. I don't know if we really ended up staged where we needed to be.
 
"I probably should have slapped (the throttle) knowing that he clicked it off in two seconds. But when you smoke the tires at the hit like that you just kind of feel like it's over. The end result is we didn't turn the win light on, and It is what it is, man, we'll just roll into Seattle and hope for the best."

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Next NHRA Event 2018

FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Robert Hight (2548)
2. Ron Capps (2533)
3. Courtney Force (2423)
4. Jack Beckman (2396)
5. Matt Hagan (2387)
6. John Force (2306)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2276)
8. Tim Wilkerson (2237)
9. J.R. Todd (2233)
10. Cruz Pedregon (2163)