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Qualified: No. 3 (3.990 E.T. at 324.51 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.101 E.T. at 268.44 MPH defeated by Jack Beckman 4.044 E.T. at 312.64 MPH

Race Recap:
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver Matt Hagan, a three-time event winner this season, entered eliminations on Sunday searching for his first career win at Brainerd International Raceway. Hagan, starting solidly in the top-half of the field from the No. 3 spot, drew teammate Jack Beckman in a matchup of Mopar HEMI machines. Both drivers dropped a cylinder, but Hagan’s Dodge was unable to match Beckman’s quicker and faster pass, keeping a Brainerd win as one of the few “to-do” items on the two-time Funny Car champion’s bucket list.

“Right now, we are working to get this new body dialed in. It’s changed the whole dynamic of our race car; the weight transfer is different, and this thing is making a lot more downforce on the nose. The car is going to be better, the numbers show it. We just have to figure out what this thing is asking for, and what adjustments we need to make. If anybody can figure it out, (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) can. It’s going to be really, really important for us to test at Indy and make those two or three days there really count.”


Qualified: No. 3 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 14 Jack Beckman

The Results: 
Q1: 4.797 E.T. at 169.68 MPH
Q2: 3.990 E.T. at 324.51 MPH (Two bonus points for second quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.203 E.T. at 240.77 MPH
Q4: 4.421 E.T. at 200.23 MPH

Bonus Points: Two

“It was a weird qualifying weekend, we went down the track once, smoked the tires three times. We’re still trying to get a handle on things and figure things out, but (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is a smart dude. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we’ll be alright. We’re facing a teammate tomorrow and we’re going to bring our A-game and do the best job we can.”

By NHRA - Two-time Funny Car champion Matt Hagan hopes to get his first win both in his new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body and at a track known for great performances as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing tour moves to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
Matt Hagan

Since debuting a new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body three races ago, Matt Hagan has made steady progress, including a No. 1 qualifier at the most recent NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Seattle. Heading into this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the two-time Funny Car world champion wants to grab even more momentum, which would mean getting his first career victory at the fan-favorite track.

Currently fourth in points, Hagan has been impressive at times this season in his 10,000-horsepower Mopar Express Lane Funny Car, winning back-to-back races earlier this summer in Norwalk and Epping. The goal is to regain that consistency in the new body approaching the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, putting extra importance on running well this weekend.

“We’re still learning with the new body but it’s going to be better, that’s for sure,” said Hagan, who has 29 career wins. “It’s just a matter of learning what the car wants and it’s taken a few races to get there. Brainerd has always been a fast track and there should be some fast racing. For us, it’s about understanding more with the new body and pushing a little harder. It’s coming around. Between Brainerd and then Indy, I think we’ll be good.”

FC Matt Hagan JEFF0055.jpg

Qualified: No. 1 (3.913 E.T. at 324.75 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.045 E.T. at 316.52 MPH defeated Cruz Pedregon 4.854 E.T. at 166.11 MPH
E2: 4.032 E.T. at 311.27 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.998 E.T. at 320.43 MPH

Race Recap:
With his first Pacific Raceways No. 1 qualifier, Matt Hagan earned the advantage of lane choice to start Sunday versus his first-round opponent, Cruz Pedregon. In his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Hagan eclipsed Pedregon at the 60-foot block and charged down the track for the decisive win.

In round two, the 2013 event champ faced teammate Ron Capps. It was a very close race between the two Pennzoil-powered Dodges, but Capps was able to set off the win light, ending Hagan’s chances at picking up his fourth victory of the season.

“Great qualifying position with this new Mopar Hellcat body. There’s a lot of tough draws out here, we had Cruz (Pedregon) first-round, (Ron) Capps second-round, and none of them are easy. Capps and the Pennzoil/NAPA team have had our number for the last few races. They ran strong beside us, he had a good light, and that’s just a hard combo to beat right now. Their car is running well; our car is running well too. It was a good drag race; we just happened to be on the back side of it. We’ll move on to the next one and hopefully do big things at (the next event in) Brainerd.”

FC Matt Hagan JEFF0089.jpg

Qualified: No. 4 (3.956 E.T. at 319.98 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.958 E.T. at 320.89 MPH defeated Jim Campbell 4.115 E.T. at 310.13 MPH 
E2: 4.512 E.T. at 190.59 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.969 E.T. at 322.65 MPH

Race Recap:
With a new sponsor on-board, Matt Hagan blasted to a session-best 3.958-second pass in his Southwind Builders Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in the first round against Jim Campbell.

After running low E.T. of the round, Hagan found himself in the unfortunate situation of having to face teammate Ron Capps in the quarterfinals. Capps and the NAPA team had been near-perfect throughout the entire race weekend, and round two was no exception. Capps ran a 3.969-second pass, defeating Hagan’s 4.512 effort. Hagan leaves Sonoma having clinched a berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.

“Had a really good opening lap but it got a little loose in the second round. It was great to have a new sponsor on the car, Southwind Builders. Obviously with the fires and all the folks who have lost their homes out here, it's really unfortunate. I think if you're drag racing and you support what we do and these guys are supporting what we do, definitely hit them up and give them a call if you're in the area. They're a great group of people and work really hard so we're proud to have them on as a sponsor this weekend.
“We need to move onto Seattle. We've done well there a time or so and always seem to qualify pretty well there, so let's focus on that. This [race] is behind us now. (Ron) Capps went around us in points but it's going to be battle down to the end no matter what."



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FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:
1 Robert Hight 717
2 JR Todd 556
3 Ron Capps 548
4 Tommy Johnson Jr. 527
5 John Force 524
6 Matt Hagan 506
7 Jack Beckman 477
8 Tim Wilkerson 463
9 Shawn Langdon 404
10 Bob Tasca 369
11 Cruz Pedregon 306
12 Terry Haddock 250
13 Jim Campbell 209
14 Jeff Diehl 191
15 Jonnie Lindberg 174
16 Blake Alexander 143
17 Dave Richards 94
18 Phil Burkart Jr. 88
19 Gary Densham 73
20 Paul Lee 52
21 Frank Pedregon 32
22 John Smith 31
23 Dale Creasy 10
24 Bob Bode 5