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Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Dave Richards

The Results:
Q1: 6.674 E.T. at 98.20 MPH
Q2: 3.906 E.T. at 328.22 MPH
Q3: 3.940 E.T. at 328.78 MPH
Q4: 3.880 E.T. at 331.69 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)

Bonus Points: Three

Quotable:
“This MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Funny Car is going down the race track. We found some stuff earlier today with the clutch. I think (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is getting more consistency with that. All in all, we have a good car, and we have to have a really strong run this weekend, or we will be out of the championship picture. We need to go some rounds tomorrow. We need to win this race and keep the hunt alive. We are five rounds back, and we have a long way to go.”

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 Qualified: No. 2 (3.854 E.T. at 333.08 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.204 E.T. at 265.06 MPH defeated by Jim Campbell 4.197 E.T. at 249.39 MPH

Race Recap:
After making three strong qualifying runs, including posting low E.T. of Q3, two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan earned the No. 2 qualifying position, and was poised to make a deep run through eliminations on Sunday. First up for the driver of the DSM Precision Machining Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody was a round one meeting with Jim Campbell. Hagan powered by Campbell’s initial lead, and was looking good until his machine lost traction nearing the 330-foot mark. Campbell encountered issues further down track, but his momentum enabled him to coast across the finish line first.

Quotable:
“First round losses are always devastating. There are a lot of good cars out here in this class right now, and we just have to get our stuff together and do better. This team is better than that and we are better than what we showed here today in St. Louis. We showed how good we were in qualifying, grabbing that No. 2 spot. What happened today was unexpected. I was glad it recovered and we pedaled it to the finish, but it just wasn’t enough. It’s unfortunate. I apologize to our sponsors. I apologize to our fans. That’s just not the results we are accustomed to putting up. It’s crunch time. We have to do better. It’s just that simple.”

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Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)
 
The Competition: No. 15 Jim Campbell
 
The Results:
Q1: 4.558 E.T. at 193.93 MPH
Q2: 3.921 E.T. at 327.66 MPH
Q3: 3.854 E.T. at 333.08 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.889 E.T. at 333.91 MPH
Bonus Points: Three
 
Quotable:
“We’ve run some great numbers here in qualifying in all different types of conditions. I feel very confident in (crew chief) Dickie Venables and his tune-up, and I’m very confident we can turn on four win lights tomorrow for Don (Schumacher), and all the guys back at the DSM machine shop and Sandvik, too. The game plan is to get some rest, stay focused, and turn on win lights.”

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Qualified: No. 9 (3.913 E.T. at 333.66 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.899 E.T. 332.02 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 3.961 E.T. at 329.91 MPH
E2: 8.623 E.T. at 79.91 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.916 E.T. at 329.18 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan has raced to a semifinal finish or better at six of the last seven events and was hoping to continue his trend of ‘going rounds’ at the first event of the Countdown to the Championship. He began his quest for a second Reading victory with a match-up versus fellow Countdown contender, Shawn Langdon. It was apparent crew chief Dickie Venables wasn’t taking Langdon lightly when he tuned Hagan’s MOPAR-powered Dodge Hellcat to a stout 3.899-second pass, which held up to be low E.T. of race day. The two-time Funny Car world champion then drew teammate Ron Capps in the quarterfinals, and despite the advantage of lane choice, was unable to defeat Capps when his machine annihilated the tires as soon as he stood on the gas. Hagan attempted to pedal it, but Capps’ clean pass enabled him to take the easy round win.

Quotable:
“First round losses are the kiss of death with the Countdown. We got past the first round, and we have five races left going into St. Louis. It was a hot, greasy track today. Avoiding that first round loss is key, and we did that. We had a good, fast race car beside us with Ron and we had to push it a little bit. They went 3.91, which was low of the session, and our lap wouldn’t hold. We’ll roll into St. Louis with a great MOPAR team, and there’s a lot of racing left in 2019.”

Next NHRA Event

FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

2019 Funny Car

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 220
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 175
3 John Force 173
4 Matt Hagan 129
5 Ron Capps 128
6 Tim Wilkerson 107
7 Robert Hight 100
8 Alexis DeJoria 99
9 Bob Tasca III 87
10 J.R. Todd 65
10 Paul Lee 65