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Matt Hagan knew the enormity of the situation headed into race day.

Hagan was one of three drivers with a strong chance to win the 2020 NHRA Funny Car championship, and the Christiansburg, Va.-based competitor was in the driver's seat to score it all.

Hagan needed this championship.

He didn't need this title for the prestige or to pad his resume. Nor did he need it for job security.

Hagan needed to win this one for his brother Kyle and gain a measure of closure in losing his younger sibling.

Kyle, 32, passed away on January 8, 2016, suddenly in his sleep. Since then, Hagan has tried to win a championship in memory of Kyle, who was going through a very rough patch in his life; one that the Funny Car champion didn't know how to help his sibling fight through.

Matt and Kyle"Growing up, we fought like cats and dogs, as most brothers do," Hagan said. "I had always been playing sports and some different things like that, and he'd always tried to, but he had scoliosis. He had almost a 90-degree curvature of his spine, which basically makes your head feel like it's six pounds heavier than normal. And it just makes things more challenging to get around and do stuff. He lived more of a reserved life than I did."

"He still tried. He wanted to play but was really challenged to do that, so we got into cars together and started drag racing a little bit here and there. My fondest memories with him were going to Elk Creek drag strip and being able to race with him.

"But as he got a little older, it got even more challenging just to even drag race. He had a hard time just kind of sitting up and sleeping and moving around and stuff. So racing or any type of physical activity or something that's stressful on your body became challenging for him."

Full Story @ Competition Plus

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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