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NHRA Chicago Event Highlights: 

  • Three-time event champion (2010, 2013, 2014) 
  • 2015 runner-up 
  • 2016 No. 1 qualifier 

2017 Chicago Recap:
Qualified fourth; Semifinal finish (defeated Del Worsham in E1, Alexis DeJoria in E2; defeated by Ron Capps in E3)
Last event (Topeka):
Qualified eighth; Quarterfinal finish (defeated Tim Wilkerson in E1; defeated by Courtney Force in E2)

2018 Season Statistics:
13 round wins; ranked third in points
Career Statistics:
224 races; 27 wins; 31 No. 1 qualifiers
"I think we're closing the gap on Courtney Force. They've had quite a bit on everyone. We went to Topeka, and even though we went out second round, we're running right there with her now. With (crew chief Dickie Venables) knowledge, and the way our car runs, we ought to be very, very competitive now."

"Chicago has been kind to me. Set some world records there, and won that race a couple of times. Hopefully one of these races will pay off. Eventually the win lights will come on, but I think our crew is headed in the right direction with their tuning thought process. Our setup is moving in the right direction, just still trying to find more traction and downforce for this new track prep. I feel good about rolling into Chicago with the gains we made in Topeka. We're running right there with the best of them."


Qualified: No. 8 (4.028 E.T. at 315.78 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.942 E.T. at 326.79 MPH defeated Tim Wilkerson 4.024 E.T. at 314.31 MPH
E2: 3.936 E.T. at 328.94 MPH defeated by Courtney Force 3.934 E.T. at 328.54 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan qualified his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T in the top half of the field at No. 8 and drew Tim Wilkerson in his opening-round battle. Both drivers recorded solid runs, but only Hagan dipped into the three-second range with a winning 3.942-second pass.

The 2017 runner-up and 2016 winner at Topeka had lane choice over Courtney Force in the quarterfinals. In the end, just a tick over 12 feet separated Hagan from the round win in a nail biter of a finish. His 3.936 E.T. was edged out at the stripe by Force’s 3.934.

“I want to say that I'm just really proud of my guys. They did a great job on Sunday. We had a 55-minute turn and they did a great job making the turn with three guys in new positions, just really thrashing hard and trying to get things done.

“All in all, a pretty good race day, even though we only went to the second round. It’s just one of those things where you have to put it in perspective. Courtney Force and those guys have had a tenth on the field and we just went nose-to-nose and basically ran an identical run with them. When you put that in perspective, it really shows how much we've stepped it up right now, being able to throw down with those guys when everybody else is still kind of running 4.0's out there."

Matt Hagan is a big man for a racecar driver. At six feet, one inch and weighing 225 lbs., the 35-year-old fills the seat in the Mopar Funny Car owned by Don Schumacher Racing. Earlier this season, the two-time NHRA Funny Car World Champion and father of three (with a fourth on the way) sat down with us at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC, to discuss his sport and how he balances being a farmer – he owns a 2,000-plus-acre cattle farm in Virginia – with being a racer.  Following are edited excerpts from a longer conversation with the aw-shucks driver. Read More


Mopar is celebrating a decade of operation for the brand's fast, convenient Express Lane service. First introduced in 2008, Express Lane offers oil changes, tires, vehicle inspections and more. The brand marked the 10-year milestone during the grand opening of a new Express Lane facility in Pulaski, Virginia.

The Pulaski Motor Mile Express Lane is the latest of more than 1,850 enrolled Express Lane stores around the globe, located in more than 30 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, among others. More than 1,200 Express Lane facilities are operational in the U.S. alone, with over 200 added in the U.S. since 2016.

More than 9 million vehicles were serviced in 2017 at Express Lane stores in the U.S. alone. All makes and models — not just FCA vehicles — are welcome at Express Lane locations, which feature two technicians simultaneously servicing each vehicle. Read Full Story

Qualified: No. 3 (3.913 E.T. at 308.78 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.951 E.T. at 311.49 MPH defeated Ron Capps 4.152 E.T. at 245.81 MPH
E2: 4.190 E.T. at 240.08 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 3.972 E.T. at 308.71 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan’s first trip to the Winner’s Circle came during the 2010 Houston race. His attempt to add a 2018 NHRA SpringNationals Wally to his trophy collection started with a tough draw, his DSR teammate, Ron Capps.
Hagan and Capps charged hard out of the gate, and in a battle of DSR Dodge’s, Hagan was able to take the win when Capps’ car went silent near halftrack.
In the quarterfinals, Hagan squared off against Tim Wilkerson. Both drivers had nearly identical reaction times and the Mopar Express Lane Dodge was even with Wilkerson’s machine until about 330-feet when dropped cylinders caused Hagan to slow and his opponent was able to pull away for the win.

The two round wins enabled Hagan to move from third up to second in points.

“It was a little tricky track with new asphalt out there, just a lot of variables to deal with. We had six great runs up to that point and it just wore too much clutch and pulled the tires lose out there. A lot of times it just loops the tires and I can drive through it, but it just blew them off pretty hard and there was no real recovery. When you’ve got a guy like Wilkerson running 97 beside you and you have identical lights basically, it’s kind of tough to make it up.

"That’s Houston for us. I got my first win here so it’s kind of a special place for me, but we’re moving on. We have four-wide (Charlotte) coming up and trying to get focused on that because it’s a whole different ballgame again, like Vegas was. I don’t have the greatest record at four-wides so I need to focus and do well. We need to start winning soon.”

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Points Standing:
363 points, ranked second
Leads third ranked J.R. Todd by 16 points
Trails first ranked Jack Beckman by 52 points



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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