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Norwalk, OHIO (June 24, 2018) –  Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan, seeking a bit of redemption after first-round exits in the previous two events, began Norwalk eliminations with back-to-back battles against DSR teammates.
First up was Tommy Johnson Jr., with Hagan’s quick reflexes helping to score a close holeshot win by an ultra-thin margin of less than one-thousandth of a second. Hagan was again first off of the starting line in an all-Mopar Dodge quarterfinals fight, pulling away to defeat Jack Beckman with a 4.010-second at 322.27-mph pass.
The two-time world champion led from start to finish stripe in the semifinals, reeling off a 3.981 E.T. to defeat J.R. Todd and earn all-important lane choice against No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force in his fourth final round of the season and 51st of his career.

Hagan saved his best reaction time for the money round, a 0.033-second mark that gave him a jump over Force that he would never relinquish, recording a winning 4.094-second at 288.21-mph pass to his opponent’s losing 4.220 at 227.54-mph effort. 
“Super proud of my guys,” said Hagan, who picked up a win earlier in the year at the season-opening event in Pomona. “These cats have been working hard and we’ve obviously had a track prep change that we needed to adapt to and it took (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) a few runs to get there, but that’s why I love him and I’m glad he’s in my corner. He always figures it out.
“We had a good, solid car all weekend. Qualified well, went down the race track pretty much every lap. It hazed the tires out there and I was legging it out, but it’s the finals, man.
“You’re not (owed) anything out here because you have to earn it, but you almost feel like you were due for a win. It’s been a while since we turned on four win lights, but it’s a nitro Funny Car and you never know what you’re going to get.”
With the Norwalk win, Hagan was able to advance from sixth all the way up to a tie (with teammate Jack Beckman) for second in the Funny Car points standings.
Sunday’s victory was Hagan’s second of the season, 28th of his career and first-ever at Norwalk.
“I’m glad we were able to knock this (Norwalk) trophy off the checklist. For Mopar, for Pennzoil, Sandvik Coromant, and all of the folks that support us out here. I’ve been wanting one of these ice cream scoops, but I think mine is going to be a protein scoop (laughs). You know, two scoops of protein with this. We’re having fun, it’s good to see my guys be able to celebrate with the Wally.”

Qualified: No. 3 (3.981 E.T. at 325.22 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.994 E.T. at 327.19 MPH defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.990 E.T. at 323.27 MPH
E2: 4.010 E.T. at 322.27 MPH defeated Jack Beckman 4.022 E.T. at 321.73 MPH
E3: 3.981 E.T. at 320.58 MPH defeated J.R. Todd 4.031 E.T. at 321.50 MPH
E4: 4.094 E.T. at 288.21 MPH defeated Courtney Force 4.220 E.T. at 227.54 MPH

Qualified: No. 11 (4.088 E.T. at 315.56 MPH)The Results:
E1: 4.251 E.T. at 245.72 MPH defeated by Jonnie Lindberg 4.095 E.T. at 310.77 MPH
Race Recap:
The lifelong Virginia resident was hoping to bring the Virginia NHRA Nationals Funny Car Wally back home to his family in Christiansburg, but tricky track conditions halted Matt Hagan’s chances at leaving with the trophy.
Driving the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T, Hagan faced Jonnie Lindberg in round-one. The two left the starting line together and charged hard down the track in an exciting side-by-side race until a dropped cylinder caused Hagan to slow to 4.251 E.T. and Lindberg was able to nab the round win and advance to the quarterfinals.
“Very, very tough weekend for Don Schumacher Racing. All four Funny Cars went out first round. We’re still looking at the data. The car is responding to everything we’re asking it to do. Talking to (crew chief) Dickie (Venables), I asked him if he was confident in everything we’re doing and he said he is. We just needed more data and more runs in these conditions to be able to fill-in these graph sheets. Now that we have less glue and a different prep on the race track, we’ve had to revamp how we run these cars. It’s just taking more runs to get there. Some people are making some hero runs here and there, but really, no one has it totally figured out. We’re really trying hard to get it pinned down to where we can get some more consistency and try and find some more downforce.”

ROANOKE - The Virginia NHRA Nationals returns to Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond this weekend. The NHRA hasn't had a national event at the track since 2009. Two-time Funny Car World Champion Matt Hagan will look for his 28th career win. The Christiansburg native is off to a strong start, with one victory and two runner-up finishes.

"I think it's going to be new for everybody. Basically you got to go down there and make the first lap and see what happens and how the car responds to the race track. I'm sure the Virginia Motorsports Park has done a phenomenal job getting ready for this event. It's going to bring a lot of money into the area it's going to drive a lot of folks in this way from hours away. So we're excited about it. Really pumped up to go out here and put on a show for everybody at the end of the day, that's what we do. Everyone spends their hard-earned money to come out and we want to put on a good show for them," said Hagan


Qualified: No. 1 (3.917 E.T. at 326.79 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.017 E.T. at 320.74 MPH defeated Jonnie Lindberg 4.442 E.T. at 246.57 MPH
E2: 4.149 E.T. at 282.95 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 4.084 E.T. at 307.86 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan spearheaded the dominant DSR 1-2-3 qualifying performance at Joliet, racing his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the No. 1 spot. The two-time Funny Car World champ had the early advantage over Jonnie Lindberg in round one and never looked back with a winning 4.017-second at 320.74-mph run that earned him lane choice over Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals.

Hagan, a three-time winner at Route 66 Raceway, and Tasca both left the starting with identical .074 marks. The two were locked together neck-and-neck for much of the race, but Tasca began to slowly edge ahead and was able to outrun Hagan’s 4.149-sec pass.

“Unfortunately, not what we wanted out of race day. Went out there and (the car) just kind of came loose, it was looping the tires. We’re having to make bigger wholesale changes during race day, and I feel like our Mopar Dodge is responding to the changes. All in all, I feel like we’re closing the gap on a lot of things, and we’re making it happen. We have some momentum going into these next three races coming up.”

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JOLIET, Illinois (June 2, 2018) – Don Schumacher Racing dominated the Funny Car field during qualifying at the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals, clinching the top three spots. Matt Hagan leads the class, with Ron Capps and Jack Beckman holding court in the second and third qualifying positions. The top three seeded drivers blasted to the front of the pack in their Mopar-powered Dodge machines during Friday’s second qualifying session.
Hagan, a three-time Route 66 Nationals Funny Car champion, raced his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to a pass of 3.917-seconds at 326.79 mph to qualify for the preliminary pole and bank three bonus points, after opening qualifying with a 4.027 mark that ranked him fifth. He held the top spot through the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday, ending with a solid 3.991 run.
This is the two-time Funny Car world champion’s second No. 1 qualifier of the 2018 season, second at Route 66 Raceway, and 32nd of his career.
Hagan, who claimed the No. 1 spot at the 2018 season-opener before going on to race to victory, feels confident in his team’s ability to trade in their green No. 1 qualifier hats for yellow winner’s circle hats on Sunday.
“Our Mopar Express Lane Dodge is running strong,” he said. “We can go down there and throw down a good number. The confidence has definitely grown. We have all of the power that we need.
“We’ve changed everything. To start the year off we had a whole different track prep than we do now, so we had to regroup and make big changes to this Mopar Funny Car. Obviously, it’s taken a few runs, and taken a few races to get there, but I feel like we’ve closed the gap on (points leader) Courtney (Force) now.
“Blessed to have that No. 1 spot right now. Everyone thinks these Chevys are running up front, but we’ve got these Mopars going again. Just give (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) enough time and he’ll figure it out. I like him being in our corner and knowing that we’re going to get there, it’s just a matter of runs.”
Hagan begins his campaign for his 28th career victory with a round one matchup against No. 16 qualifier Jonnie Lindberg. Hagan and the Mopar team will have the advantage of lane choice to start the day.

Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)

The Competition: No. 16 Jonnie Lindberg

The Results:
Q1:4.027 E.T. at 317.49 MPH
Q2: 3.917 E.T. at 326.79 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 4.861 E.T. at 161.59 MPH
Q4: 3.991 E.T. at 317.12 MPH



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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