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Qualified: No. 4 (3.909 E.T. at 326.79 MPH)

Results: E1: 4.140 E.T. at 243.33 MPH defeated by John Force 3.890 E.T. at 333.74 MPH

Matt Hagan entered the race weekend as the two-time defending event champ and with his sights set on becoming the fourth Funny Car pilot in history to win the season-opening event three years in a row. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona E.T. and speed track record holder. Hagan was out of the gate first against opponent John Force. The MOPAR Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat held the lead until the 330-mark before slowing to a 4.140 and allowing Force’s session-best 3.890 E.T. to claim the win.

“Obviously not the Winternationals we were hoping for. We won this race the past two years in a row and were hoping to make it three. I think if maybe we struggle at the beginning of the season than we’ll do well at the end because the last couple of years we’ve done well at the beginning and then stumbled at the end. At least that’s how I’m trying to look at it right now. Our MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is going down the race track, but it was just one of those things. We hit the bump out there and the clutch came at it really hard and pulled the tires loose. No excuses, on to the next race but I think with the way we qualified and the way the cars been running, I’m happy with it."

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FC Mello Yello Points

POSITION DRIVER POINTS BEHIND
01 Robert Hight 330 0
02 Jack Beckman 225 -105
03 Matt Hagan 215 -115
04 John Force 200 -130
05 Tommy Johnson Jr 191 -139
06 Tim Wilkerson 165 -165
07 Bob Tasca III 163 -167
08 J.R. Todd 159 -171
09 Ron Capps 146 -184
10 Shawn Langdon 143 -18