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CREDIT NHRA - Matt Hagan held onto his Friday No. 1 in Funny Car as teams mostly put away their hero tune-ups in favor of getting ready for a warmer Sunday. Jack Beckman was the only one who got a real good swing at Hagan’s field-leading 3.872 with a 3.876 in the cooling air of the final session.

Eight of the 16 qualified made their run in that final qualifying session to set the field and another two made their best run of the meet in Q3 after the majority of the team -– save for Hagan’s Dickie Venables-led group -– struggled Friday and Venables used Saturday as a tune-up day for Sunday.

“I asked Dickie if we were going to go for some more qualifying [bonus] points today and he said not at all; we’d already made sure that we did what we needed to do -– to not let Robert [Hight] put another round on us –- and so he was just going to back everything down and try to figure out where the racetrack was going to be and where he could push," said Hahan. "Our runs were real safe, very raceable. I’m proud to see him do that; he’s a smart racer and the reason we’ve won so many races. I love that he’s a racer at heart and not out here just trying to stroke his ego trying to throw down all of the time.

“I’m excited. I’m hungry for it. We all live to be in this position but we’re not going to do anything stupid, We’re just going to race our racecar and stay in our lane and do what we’ve been doing to get here.”


MATT"S CHAMPIONSHIP CHANCES

Robert Hight held serve during qualifying despite not making a Jimmy Prock-esque pass until the final session of the Auto Club NHRA Finals. He holds a two-round lead over Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan and controls his destiny. Here are the scenarios:

Hight will automatically win his third title if he reaches the final round. There are still five racers in title contention on the final day of the 2019 season. 

Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan must go at least two rounds further than Hight to win a championship. Hagan can take Hight out himself in the semifinals, while Beckman is on the opposite side of the ladder. 

John Force can take out his teammate in the first round of the race, setting up a drama-filled first round. If Force wins the race, the title battle is on in Pomona. He only needs to go two rounds further than Beckman (who, again, is on the opposite side of the ladder). Force also would need to go two rounds further than Hagan, who the 16-time champion could face in the semifinals. He would not control his destiny, but he would open the door for everyone else. 

Bob Tasca III must win the race AND Force must defeat Hight in the first round for the Ford Mustang driver to have an opportunity. 

Ron Capps, J.R. Todd and Tommy Johnson Jr. have been eliminated from championship contention. 

Next NHRA Event

FC Points

Unofficial NHRA Championship Standings

Funny Car

1 Matt Hagan 1020
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 915
3 Jack Beckman 848
4 Ron Capps 828
5 Bob Tasca III 679
6 J.R. Todd 663
7 Tim Wilkerson 615
8 Alexis DeJoria 605
9 Paul Lee 464
10 Cruz Pedregon 436