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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (September 26, 2020) – Matt Hagan and the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Funny Car team continue to be red-hot. Qualifying at the rescheduled NHRA Gatornationals featured soupy, swampy conditions, and proved to be challenging for most crew chiefs, but Dickie Venables had the combination to take on the hot Florida weather as he tuned Hagan’s machine to low E.T. of qualifying to capture the pole heading into race day.
 
Hagan, who recently earned milestone victory No. 350 for Don Schumacher Racing, continued to build on his momentum during the Gatornationals. Right out of the gate, he clocked the second-quickest E.T. of Q1, crossing the beams in 4.006 seconds. During Q2, he blasted the Mopar Hellcat Redeye to the only three-second Funny Car run of the day, posting a 3.975 E.T. at 321.35-mph to catapult him to his third No. 1 qualifier of 2020.
 
The two-time world champion’s strong qualifying performance earned him five bonus points and helps to put him one step closer to taking over the No. 1 spot in the Funny Car championship standings, currently occupied by his teammate, Jack Beckman. Hagan, who entered the weekend second in points, is seeking his third victory of the year and his first at Gainesville Raceway.
 
“Our race car is running great,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native who runnered-up in Gainesville in 2018. “This Dodge Hellcat Redeye Funny Car is running strong. It runs like a Hellcat but drives like a 300C. Dickie is doing such a great job putting a tune-up in this car. What a great race car I have underneath me. This is one of the more fun seasons I’ve had. The car is just so smooth. It shows the caliber of guys we have, to take so much time off and all the adversity with COVID, and to come back out here and put together a great race car. We’ve been No. 1 qualifier several times in 2020 and won a few times also."
 
Hagan will start race day from the No. 1 spot for the 39th time in his career and will have a head start on achieving a first Gatornationals victory when he has the advantage of a bye run in the opening session. A Gainesville victory would also give DSR its 10th straight Funny Car win dating back to October 2019."We have a real car that can compete for the next five races and do big things," added Hagan. "I’m extremely excited. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever had a bye run and I just can’t say enough about this team who makes it all happen.” 

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: Bye

The Results:
Q1: 4.006 E.T. at 315.64 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.975 E.T. at 321.35 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Next NHRA Event

FC Points

Unofficial NHRA Championship Standings

Funny Car

1 Matt Hagan 842
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 800
3 Jack Beckman 799
4 Ron Capps 679
5 Bob Tasca III 595
6 J.R. Todd 584
7 Tim Wilkerson 570
8 Alexis DeJoria 489
9 Cruz Pedregon 388
10 Paul Lee 382