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On Wednesday, NHRA pros combined to make nearly 100 runs down Lucas Oil Raceway as part of a two-day test ahead of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. After a marathon 11-hour day, the quickest time slips went to Tony Schumacher (3.702) and Matt Hagan (3.861) in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively. Full Story

Hagan and the Pennzoil/Mopar Dodge with crew chief Dickie Venables with assistant Michael Knudsen were very quick and consistent over four qualifying attempts and among the quickest Saturday after earning the No. 2 position Friday night with a time of 3.807 seconds, which is the fourth quickest ever in a Funny Car.
 
"We've had four good runs so far and almost set a national record, but didn't, so it doesn't really matter," said Hagan, who is second in the standings but only eight ahead of Robert Hight of John Force Racing who took his world record Friday. "At the end of the day, the national records, after we've set so many, it's just an 'atta boy,' people remember championships and race wins and that's what we need to focus on and get this car dialed in for the next couple of races."
In Funny Car, the DSR Dodge Charger R/T teams Powered by Pennzoil also produced a solid effort with all four drivers qualifying in the top half of the 16-car field for eliminations in which each will have lane choice in the first round.
 
The biggest turnaround was by two-time world champion Matt Hagan and the 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen.
 
After a disappointing two events to open the Western Swing with second- and first-round losses, Hagan moved into the No. 2 spot at Pacific Raceways with a 3.930 (328.54) on Saturday's first run then closed the day with a 3.950 (327.90).
 
Hagan's best elapsed time matched the run by teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. (Terry Chandler's Make-A-Wish Dodge) on Friday night but Hagan's faster speed leapfrogged Johnson, who qualified third.
 
"We've had four good runs here and everything is jivin' and clickin'," Hagan said. "The car's gone down the racetrack every time and we have something we can race with tomorrow."
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SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2017) - Matt Hagan and the 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane Funny Car team had opportunities the last two races to take big chunks out of Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps led in the championship race.
 
Capps lost in the first round Sunday in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals near San Francisco as his team did the previous week at Denver.
 
But at Denver, Hagan lost in the first round at Sonoma on Sunday and in the second round at Denver.
 
With three NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events remaining before points are reset to start the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, Hagan continues ranked No. 2 but trails Capps by 183 points.
 
"Just a rough couple of weekends," said Hagan, the two-time world champion who has won three times in 15 races this year. "The Western Swing has not been treating us kindly. We need to focus on Seattle."
 
The Western Swings includes three races in three weeks and it concludes next weekend at Seattle.
 
"Unfortunately, we smoked the tires on four out of the five times that we were up there on the starting line and that's just not common for (crew chief) Dickie Venables and our guys to miss it that bad that often" said Hagan, whose only full pass was in Friday's first session was in 3.904 seconds at 330.39 mph that held up for the No. 6 qualifying position.
 
Hagan's car appeared to suffer a minor fuel leak on the prerace burnout before running Del Worsham, who also lost traction but his 5.142-second run at 210.87 mph was more than enough to top Hagan's 10.951 after he smoked his tires right at the start.
 
"Doing the burnout I was trying to talk to the guys (about the fuel leak) over the radio with one hand and back it up one-handed. I don't know if we really ended up staged where we needed to be.
 
"I probably should have slapped (the throttle) knowing that he clicked it off in two seconds. But when you smoke the tires at the hit like that you just kind of feel like it's over. The end result is we didn't turn the win light on, and It is what it is, man, we'll just roll into Seattle and hope for the best."

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FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Courtney Force (1197)
2. Ron Capps (1032)
3. Robert Hight (1024)
4. Matt Hagan (1001)
5. Jack Beckman (967)
6. J.R. Todd (863)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (819)
8. John Force (807)
9. Shawn Langdon (680)
10. Bob Tasca III (656)