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Matt Hagan

Indianapolis Event Highlights:

  • 2016 event champion
  • 2018 runner-up
  • Five-time No. 1 qualifier (2010, 2013-2014, 2016-2017)

2018 Indianapolis Recap
Qualified third; Event runner-up (defeated Jonnie Lindberg in E1, Courtney Force in E2, Shawn Langdon in E3; defeated by J.R. Todd in E4)

Last Event (Brainerd):
Qualified No. 1; Semifinal finish (defeated Dale Creasy Jr. in E1, Bob Tasca III in E2; defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
23 round wins; ranked sixth in points 

Career Statistics:
257 races; 31 wins; 35 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy;

  • 2018 event runner-up
  • Recorded his career-best E.T. and speed during the 2017 event, resetting both ends of the Lucas Oil Raceway Funny Car track records
  • Made his NHRA Funny Car debut at the 2008 U.S. Nationals 

Quotable:
“Indy is our biggest race of the year. I won it a few years back, and we’ve come close a time or two since. It’s going to be a long week. We start with our annual Riley Children’s Hospital visit on Wednesday, and then we have our Open House at DSR all day on Friday and then start making runs later that evening. Our car has been running strong, we’ve had some wins, a couple of semifinals, finals and I think that we’re in a good spot. Capps just won, T.J. and Jack have been running well, so all in all, DSR cars are coming around when they need to. It’s time for us to put some more W’s on the board and have a good Indy race and then get ready for the Countdown.”

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Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
 
Qualified: No. 1 (3.890 E.T. at 328.46 MPH)
 
The Results:
E1: 3.937 E.T. at 329.18 MPH defeated Dale Creasy Jr. 4.119 E.T. at 295.66 MPH
E2: 3.954 E.T. at 323.81 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 4.092 E.T. at 267.16 MPH
E3: 3.932 E.T. at 326.08 MPH defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.930 E.T. at 324.59 MPH
 
Race Recap:
Matt Hagan started race day from the No. 1 spot for the 35th time in his career and looked prime to capture his third win of the season and first at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday.
 
The two-time world champion who clinched a spot in the Countdown to the Championship during qualifying drew Dale Creasy Jr. in round one and was able to easily defeat the part-time racer with his 3.937 E.T. versus Creasy’s 4.119. Hagan’s consistency continued in the quarterfinals as he powered the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody down in 3.954 seconds to outrun Tasca’s 4.092-second lap. In round three, Hagan’s seventh semifinal appearance of the season, he faced stablemate and fellow Hellcat pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. Crew chief Dickie Venables tuned Hagan’s machine to another solid pass. Hagan and Johnson were neck-and-neck until just before the finish line when Johnson set off the win lights with his 3.930 E.T. versus Hagan’s 3.932.
 
Quotable:
“It was a good weekend at Brainerd getting the pole and moving around (Bob) Tasca in the points, and obviously Indy is points-and-a-half. We’re making momentum with this MOPAR Funny Car, and (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) has a really good handle on the tune-up of this Hemi in a lot of conditions. We won Epping and have been going rounds, and this team is peaking at the right time, and I like the way we’re progressing. It’s going to be a fight in the Countdown.”

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NHRA.com - The stout 3.890 that Matt Hagan used to take the provisional pole on Friday during Funny Car qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals was not bettered during either of Saturday’s runs so the two-time Mello Yello champion has earned a green low qualifier hat for the first time this season and 35th time in his career. Hagan’s previous best qualifying effort this season had been second in Phoenix but he was also third-quickest at the most recent event in Seattle.

“Honestly, I didn’t’ know if that run from yesterday would hold,” said Hagan. “We ran a little later this evening, and everyone was pushing. We were pushing hard that last lap. We let it all hang out. It didn’t stick but it was one of those things where you can try to make a hero run when you are sitting in position we were in. We really feel good about the car and the race day set-up. Everything is kind of coming together right now. As long as we turn four win lights on tomorrow that’s all that really matters.

“We sure hope tomorrow is our day,” said Hagan. “It will be a challenge trying to keep lane choice all day. That will be big but we’ll get up and see what we can do.”

Hagan wasn’t able to better his own run on Saturday, but he was solid in Q3 with a 4.000 that undoubtably helped his Mopar team refine their combination heading into tomorrow’s final eliminations. With the top spot all but secure, the Mopar team, led by Dickie Venables, went for the jugular in the final session but overpowered the track. John Force claimed the three bonus points in the final session with a 3.923 in his Peak Camaro while Hagan’s teammates, Ron Capps, and Jack Beckman also secured bonus points.

The Q1 bonus points went to Tommy Johnson Jr., Force, and Paul Lee, who were the only drivers to record three-second runs. Lee has been particularly impressive with runs of 4.021, 3.969, and 3.982 in his Dodge Charger, which is carrying Lucas Oil Products signage in addition to his usual McLeod Clutches logos this weekend.

One other driver who was able to breathe a big sigh of relief following Q4 was Cruz Pedregon. The two-time champion was not in the field until he guided his Snap-on Charger to a 4.031 to move into the No. 13 spot and knock Jim Campbell from the field. Pedregon will face current points leader Robert Hight in round one.

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Competition Plus - It has been a roller-coaster kind of year for Matt Hagan.

From a string of early season success that saw him as high as second in points, to a summer stretch of six first round losses in eight races, and back to the top again, Hagan is ready for a little consistency on the race track.

And he thinks he may have finally found it.

With two finals and a semifinal in the last four races, Hagan has once again found his foothold in the class and continued that momentum Friday at the 38th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals as Hagan found himself sitting atop the Funny Car class at Brainerd International Raceway.

Hagan, who hasn’t secured a pole all year, put together the only run in the 3.80s on Friday with a very quick 3.890-second pass at 328.46 mph to grab the provisional top spot with two more runs on Saturday.

“We have a hell of a race car right now,” Hagan said. “We have just come off of some semifinals and finals on the Western Swing and, if you throw Denver out of the mix, we’ve had a great combo that has gone a lot of rounds.

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