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Driver of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Qualified: 
No. 2 (lane choice)The Competition: No. 15 Bob Bode
 
The Results:
Q1: 3.987 E.T. at 287.84 MPH
Q2: 4.173 E.T. at 234.90 MPH
Q3: 3.874 E.T. at 327.66 MPH (Four bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 4.070 E.T. at 245.23 MPH
Q5: 3.976 E.T. at 275.34 MPHBonus Points: Four
 
Quotable:
“I’m always just glad to be here racing at the Big Go. We’ve got a good race car, we’re coming off some solid finishes these last couple of races, and I think we’ve got some momentum to do what we need to do. Right now, we’re still trying to dial-in the fuel curve on this car. We’ve been putting some pan pressure, cylinders out and things like that, but we’ll get all that addressed, and I think we’ll have a really good race car tomorrow. Both lanes seem to be really nice, and this MOPAR Hellcat Widebody is running really well.”

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.

Next NHRA Event

FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 278
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 276
3 Matt Hagan 238
4 Tim Wilkerson 179
5 John Force 173
6 Ron Capps 159
7 Alexis DeJoria 154
8 Bob Tasca III 149
9 J.R. Todd 141
10 Robert Hight 100