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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.

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Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody
 
Qualified: No. 3 (3.888 E.T. at 329.75 MPH)The Results:
E1: 3.988 E.T. at 328.22 MPH defeated Gary Densham 4.058 E.T. at 308.99 MPH
E2: 3.970 E.T. at 325.53 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 5.067 E.T. at 148.69 MPH
E3: 3.982 E.T. at 327.72 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.974 E.T. at 323.58 MPH
 
Race Recap:
Starting from third, Matt entered race day at the NHRA Northwest Nationals as the highest-qualified DSR entry. The two-time 2019 event champ parked the Sandvik Coromant Dodge in the winner’s circle earlier this year in Phoenix and was hoping for a repeat on Sunday.
 
Matt successfully defeated Gary Densham and Shawn Langdon in the first two rounds of competition, but his chances at a second Pacific Raceways Wally trophy were dashed when he met teammate and defending event champ Ron Capps in the semifinals. Against Capps, Matt powered to his fourth consecutive three-second run of the weekend, but his solid 3.982-second pass fell short against the eventual race runner-up’s 3.974 E.T.
 
Quotable:
“I think our Swing has been pretty good. Denver was a mixed bag because that’s Denver, but we went to the finals in Sonoma and semifinals here in Seattle. Our Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody is running really, really good. I’m really happy with the performance. It’s been consistent and is reacting to everything (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) is telling it to do. When you get beat on the backside of a good drag race like what happened to us against Capps, that’s a whole lot easier to swallow than when you’re out here smoking the tires or not going down the race track. As these races progress, and as we move toward the Countdown, I feel really good about what we’re doing with this race team and race car.”

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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