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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)

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Qualified: No. 5 (3.919 E.T. at 328.54 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.942 E.T. at 326.63 MPH defeated Paul Lee 4.737 E.T. at 169.13 MPH
E2: 3.939 E.T. at 327.03 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 3.940 E.T. at 328.46 MPH
E3: 4.132 E.T. at 273.05 MPH defeated by J.R. Todd 3.946 E.T. at 327.03 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan had already taken ownership of a Wally trophy during the U.S. Nationals race weekend before Sunday’s elimination rounds had even gotten underway. On Saturday evening, he and Jack Beckman squared off in the rescheduled, rain-delayed Indy 2 final round where Hagan raced to victory to earn win No. 350 for DSR. The milestone triumph was made all the more special as he was able to deliver it to team owner Don Schumacher on the 50thanniversary of Schumacher’s first NHRA national event victory which also occurred at the historic Indianapolis venue.
 
By qualifying fifth for Sunday’s Funny Car field, Hagan was in prime position to double-up on the hardware. He drew Paul Lee in round one and charged into the quarterfinals with a 3.942 E.T. to defeat Lee’s tire-smoker. Hagan then earned the holeshot victory over Bob Tasca III, posting a 3.939 E.T. behind the wheel of the red-hot Hellcat Redeye versus his opponent’s solid 3.940. In the semifinals, Hagan once again was out of the gate first. He and his opponent, J.R. Todd, ran side-by-side down the track until Hagan’s machine got loose just before reaching the finish line, and Todd was able to pull ahead for the win.
 
Hagan started the race weekend occupying the No. 3 spot on the Funny Car leaderboard, but his Saturday night win combined with a semifinal appearance on Sunday propelled him up to second in points.

Quotable:
“We had a really great weekend. It was a great points weekend for this Mopar Dodge SRT Hellcat team by winning that race on Saturday night. We covered a lot of ground. We brought home another trophy for DSR. A milestone trophy, win No. 350. This Hellcat race car is running great. I’m hating to leave Indy, we did so well here. We’ve got great data, it’s hard to want to leave. We’re going rounds and turning on win lights. Our team and Beckman are throwing down and battling it out, and it’s going to be a fight all the way to the end and that’s what I love. I love being a part of that. I’m really excited to try and bring it home for Mopar. Let’s keep winning races.”

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Don Schumacher Racing further cemented its position as one of motorsports’ elite teams when Matt Hagan delivered win No. 350 on Saturday with his Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals victory at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals.

At the 1970 NHRA U.S. Nationals, Don Schumacher raced to his first NHRA national event victory, collecting win No. 1 for what would eventually become the drag racing powerhouse Don Schumacher Racing. Today, at the 2020 Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, he celebrated his team’s 350th national event win on the 50th anniversary of his Indianapolis triumph.

Following the conclusion of the third and final round of qualifying for Sunday’s elimination rounds, Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan battled it out in the rescheduled NHRA Summernationals (Indy 2) July 19th final round, with Matt Hagan emerging the victor. Hagan rocketed down the track in 3.919 seconds at 328.54-mph behind the wheel of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to deliver win No. 350 for NHRA’s winningest team. The Brownsburg, Ind.-based organization is one of a very small handful of teams in motorsports to achieve the landmark triumphant accomplishment. Other domestic motorsports titans who have earned more than 300 race wins include Team Penske, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports. After DSR, NHRA’s next winningest team, John Force Racing, lists 280 race wins.

“It’s hard for me to even comprehend the team having that many wins. I’m just amazed at the accomplishments that my teams and team members have made over the last 22 years,” said Schumacher of the milestone victory that further cemented DSR’s position as one of the motorsports industry’s most elite teams.

Full Story

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Qualified: No. 2 (3.982 E.T. at 320.81 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.993 E.T. at 296.50 MPH defeated Jack Beckman 4.293 E.T. at 219.01 MPH
E2: 4.881 E.T. at 195.17 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 4.034 E.T. at 311.70 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan maintained his red-hot streak aboard the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye by rocketing to the second-quickest pass of the opening qualifying session to secure the No. 2 starting position on race day. His impressive performance pitted him opposite teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round of eliminations. The two were supposed to have raced for the trophy at the previous event (Indy 2) but persistent rain forced the NHRA to reschedule the round for the upcoming U.S. Nationals. While Sunday’s round-one match-up wasn’t for a trophy, Hagan hopes the outcome is a preview for what’s to come. He launched his machine to a stout 3.993-second pass, easily outrunning Beckman’s tire-smoking effort.
 
In round two, Hagan drew another tough competitor in Bob Tasca III. Unfortunately for Hagan, his hopes of making a run to a third consecutive final ended when his car went up in smoke early and Tasca clocked the win.

Quotable:
“We still had a really good race weekend. We qualified No. 2 and went some rounds and took out (Jack) Beckman, the points leader. We definitely closed the gap to the top and the DSR Funny Cars are still 1-2-3 and (Ron) Capps had a good day. The points are tight. We have a strong car and sometimes it gets hot and greasy and we make a lot of power and it can be more challenging to reel that in. The crew did a great job, again. (Crew chief) Dickie (Venables) continues to do a great job running this car and we put on a great show for our partners at Dodge and Mopar and Pennzoil this weekend at the Dodge Nationals presented by Pennzoil, and we’ve had a hell of a streak dating back to last season. We have a consistent and fast race car and I’m ready to go whenever they tell us to come back.”

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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