News

Latest News

899ae35a-4833-4399-8749-8356ede82f96.jpg

Atlanta Event Highlights: 

  • 2016 event champion  
  • Two-time event runner-up (2013, 2018)  
  • 2013 No. 1 qualifier 

2020 Atlanta Recap:
N/A (canceled due to COVID-19)

2019 Atlanta Recap:
Qualified 10th; First round exit (defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E1)

Last Event (Las Vegas 1):
Qualified seventh; Event runner-up (defeated Blake Alexander, Chris Morel in E1, John Force, Alexis DeJoria in E2; defeated by Bob Tasca III in E3)

Career Statistics:
277 races; 36 wins; 40 No. 1 qualifiers 

Noteworthy:

  • Raced to a runner-up finish at the previous event (NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas)  
  • Holds the Atlanta Dragway Funny Car speed record (329.02-mph), set during the 2016 event

Quotable:
“We’ve got two qualifying runs on Saturday, and race on Sunday. These kind of race weekends are pretty crazy because if you miss it on the first run, you’re in the back of the pack trying to get back in and you end up making a soft run just to make sure you’re in the field. It gets kind of hairy, so you want to make sure you get it down there with that first run out and make it count.
 
“Our Dodge Hellcat Redeye has been running well. We runnered-up in Vegas, we’ve just got to push it a little harder. (Crew chief) Dickie Venables does a great job, he puts a great race car underneath me. My lights have been really good lately, I’ve been leaving on everyone by a couple hundredths, and we’ve just got to keep it going. This will be our last time racing at Atlanta Dragway, and I’m ready to turn on four win lights. It’ll be a quick turn-and-burn this weekend with this two-day event. This is HEMI week (HEMI day was Monday, 4/26) so hopefully, we can put our HEMI-powered car in the Atlanta winner’s circle one last time, and have some fun doing it.”

7fe456e8-326e-4a69-bc0b-f3ae063b04fd.jpg

Qualified: No. 7 (3.946 E.T. at 325.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.932 E.T. at 329.42 MPH defeated Blake Alexander 3.958 E.T. at 320.97 MPH, Chris Morel 4.200 E.T. at 294.24 MPH
E2: 3.927 E.T. at 325.06 MPH defeated John Force 4.049 E.T. at 304.60 MPH, Alexis DeJoria 4.257 E.T. at 220.30 MPH
E3: 3.955 E.T. at 324.98 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 3.938 E.T. at 328.46 MPH

Race Recap:
The last time Matt Hagan raced at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he won the event (Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil) and was also crowned the 2020 NHRA Camping World Series Funny Car champion. Starting from the top half of the field on Sunday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Hagan came oh-so-close to making it two-for-two in Vegas, recording a runner-up finish and propelling four spots up to fifth (tied) in the Funny Car point standings.
 
The three-time world champion began his march to the final elimination quad by qualifying seventh. He defeated Blake Alexander and Chris Morel in round one by clocking his quickest pass of the weekend (3.932 seconds). In round two, Hagan improved upon his performance by powering the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye to a stout 3.927-second pass, outrunning his three competitors and earning a bid to the final elimination round. Against teammate Ron Capps, Bob Tasca III, and Tim Wilkerson, Hagan was first on the throttle and while Tasca was first to the finish line and claimed the event win, Hagan’s quick reflexes earned him the holeshot win over Wilkerson and Capps, allowing Hagan to secure a runner-up finish.

Quotable:
“Well, the only guy we’ve lost to this year is the guy we sold our chassis to (Bob Tasca III), and we might have two Wallys already, but we don’t. That’s drag racing. We roll in here every weekend with the expectation of winning every race. We got some momentum going this weekend and we’ve got a great team led by Dickie (Venables). We’ve got some new guys and I’m really proud of them this weekend. Dickie made some personnel moves on our car, swapping positions, and it seems like a great fit for everyone right now. That gives me confidence as a driver seeing these guys being confident in bolting the car together. I’m really happy with my crew and we’re moving back up in the points. We’ve got a weekend off and then Atlanta, which we’ve won before, and then we finish May at Houston where I won my first race a long time ago. Overall, I’m just really happy leaving Vegas. The car is responding. It was a crazy four-wide event. I’m glad I didn’t red light or screw up. I’m really excited. We have a good team, we’re meshing and going rounds.”

Matt Hagan
 
Qualified: No. 8 (3.974 E.T. at 325.30 MPH)
 
The Results: E1: 3.922 E.T. at 329.67 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 3.920 E.T. at 330.47 MPH
 
Race Recap:
Matt Hagan began his title defense at one of the few remaining venues on the NHRA tour where a victory has eluded him. Hagan, who was presented with his 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship ring on Saturday during qualifying at the NHRA Gatornationals, has come close to a Gainesville Raceway triumph, finishing as the runner-up in 2018, but had yet to seal-the-deal. He was hoping his luck would change on Sunday at the 2021 season-opener, but once again he felt a Gatornationals victory slip through his fingers as he found himself on the wrong side of a really close drag race.
 
Hagan qualified the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye eighth to draw Bob Tasca III in round one. Hagan and Tasca were nearly even leaving the starting line with Hagan clocking a .072 reaction time to Tasca’s .074, and both drivers posted nearly identical E.T.s, (Hagan, 3.922, Tasca, 3.920), but Tasca narrowly claimed the upset win with a 0.0001-second margin of victory, ending the champ’s day early.
 
Quotable:
“We had a good test session in West Palm Beach to kick off the year and we were on the bad side of a really, really good drag race today to (Bob) Tasca. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tasca goes out and wins it. That’s a good car. It’s tough out there and we were on the tough side of the ladder. We would have had (Ron) Capps, our teammate, in the second round. It was going to be a dog fight all day. I have to say a lot about (my crew chief) Dickie Venables and (assistant crew chief) Mike Knudsen and this Dodge Mopar team and their leadership. The guys worked late working through some gremlins and put a really good race car under me. We’ll be back out here for the next one and will get back after it.”
 

hagan-hero.jpg

As a guy who rides a tractor when he’s not wheeling his 11,000-hp Mopar Funny Car, the farmer in Matt Hagan is very familiar with the old encouragement to “Make hay while the sun shines.” So, when the two-race-old NHRA racing season resumed in July after a four-month hiatus due to the pandemic, with no idea how much racing would comprise a season that seemed at risk with every new developing COVID-19 headline, Hagan took the old saw to heart.

“You never knew when the season was going to stop, so you had to hustle at every race,” he said. “You had to show up every round and get every point, and you knew that if you lost a race it could be the difference between winning the championship or not, and there was going to be no restart, no do-overs.”

Hagan’s advantage was crew chief Dickie Venables, who had spent the offseason developing a new combination that some of his rival crew chiefs under the Don Schumacher Racing umbrella said would never work. But when they opened the season with a pair of No. 1 qualifying efforts in Pomona and Phoenix, and later showed uncanny consistency, the proof was there as plain as the three Wallys he won in the 11-race season and the third career championship trophy that Hagan hoisted at the season finale in Las Vegas.

Read At NHRA

Next NHRA Event

Lucas Winternats 18

FC Points

Camping World Funny Car Top Ten

1 Bob Tasca III 676
2 Matt Hagan 655
3 Robert Hight 636
4 John Force 624
5 Ron Capps 613
6 J.R. Todd 584
7 Alexis DeJoria 577
8 Tim Wilkerson 526
9 Cruz Pedregon 481
10 Terry Haddock 306

Hagan Cattle Co

Spitfire-HCC-package_470x.jpg