Qualified: No. 6 (3.916 E.T. at 318.47 MPH)


The Results:
E1: 3.946 E.T. at 318.62 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 4.807 E.T. at 166.87 MPH
E2: 3.948 E.T. at 312.93 MPH defeated Blake Alexander 4.011 E.T. at 306.40 MPH
E3: 4.613 E.T. at 255.79 MPH defeated Ron Capps 7.818 E.T. at 98.67 MPH
E4: 3.966 E.T. at 311.70 MPH defeated by Robert Hight 3.941 E.T. at 310.84 MPH

Race Recap:
Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan had visualized what the perfect outcome for this weekend’s MOPAR Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park Powered by Pennzoil would be. It was parking the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in the winner’s circle for the second time in 2019.  

Up first on Sunday for Hagan and his Dickie Venables-led team was a matchup with fellow Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Tommy Johnson Jr. Hagan’s lap of 3.946 seconds knocked out Johnson and advanced the 2010 SpringNationals winner into the second round. Hagan dismissed Blake Alexander with another consistent run of 3.948 to setup a semifinal showdown with another DSR teammate, Ron Capps. Hagan legged his way to a victory over Capps after losing traction near halftrack, ultimately crossing the finish line with a run of 4.613 to reach his 56th career final and first in Houston since 2010 when he won his first career Funny Car Wally.

In the final, Hagan lost the starting line advantage to Robert Hight, a .076 reaction time to a .056, and was never able to catch up. His run of 3.966 trailed Hight’s winning pass of 3.941. The run to the final moved Hagan from fifth to second in the championship standings through five of 24 events. 

“I had a great weekend here in Houston. I’ve got a great race car. Dickie Venables is doing an amazing job with this car. The result today falls on me. I was putting down some numbers that were unacceptable and I didn’t leave the way I needed to. We ran just as good as they did, maybe a little better. I put that weight on me. I should have been better (on the starting line). I should have been in the 40s (reaction time) and we would have won this race today. Sometimes you need things like this to make you dig deeper. I felt really good about my lights all weekend. In qualifying, I was where I needed to be and today the first three rounds I was there. In the final, I had a really long tree. I went inside my head and almost double-stepped the car, but I pulled it back. As soon as I’m pulling back the light is dropping. You just know to yourself that you are dead late. I would have loved to have won it for Pennzoil this weekend. Driving the chrome Pennzoil car right here in Houston with so many Pennzoil and MOPAR people out here to root us on was amazing. I couldn’t be happier with the car and team I have surrounding me. We’re ready to keep things going in Charlotte.”



Next NHRA Event

FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1 Robert Hight 717
2 JR Todd 556
3 Ron Capps 548
4 Tommy Johnson Jr. 527
5 John Force 524
6 Matt Hagan 506
7 Jack Beckman 477
8 Tim Wilkerson 463
9 Shawn Langdon 404
10 Bob Tasca 369
11 Cruz Pedregon 306
12 Terry Haddock 250
13 Jim Campbell 209
14 Jeff Diehl 191
15 Jonnie Lindberg 174
16 Blake Alexander 143
17 Dave Richards 94
18 Phil Burkart Jr. 88
19 Gary Densham 73
20 Paul Lee 52
21 Frank Pedregon 32
22 John Smith 31
23 Dale Creasy 10
24 Bob Bode 5