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Qualified: No. 2 (lane choice)
 
The Competition: No. 15 Jim Campbell
 
The Results:
Q1: 4.558 E.T. at 193.93 MPH
Q2: 3.921 E.T. at 327.66 MPH
Q3: 3.854 E.T. at 333.08 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q4: 3.889 E.T. at 333.91 MPH
Bonus Points: Three
 
Quotable:
“We’ve run some great numbers here in qualifying in all different types of conditions. I feel very confident in (crew chief) Dickie Venables and his tune-up, and I’m very confident we can turn on four win lights tomorrow for Don (Schumacher), and all the guys back at the DSM machine shop and Sandvik, too. The game plan is to get some rest, stay focused, and turn on win lights.”

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Qualified: No. 9 (3.913 E.T. at 333.66 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.899 E.T. 332.02 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 3.961 E.T. at 329.91 MPH
E2: 8.623 E.T. at 79.91 MPH defeated by Ron Capps 3.916 E.T. at 329.18 MPH

Race Recap:
Matt Hagan has raced to a semifinal finish or better at six of the last seven events and was hoping to continue his trend of ‘going rounds’ at the first event of the Countdown to the Championship. He began his quest for a second Reading victory with a match-up versus fellow Countdown contender, Shawn Langdon. It was apparent crew chief Dickie Venables wasn’t taking Langdon lightly when he tuned Hagan’s MOPAR-powered Dodge Hellcat to a stout 3.899-second pass, which held up to be low E.T. of race day. The two-time Funny Car world champion then drew teammate Ron Capps in the quarterfinals, and despite the advantage of lane choice, was unable to defeat Capps when his machine annihilated the tires as soon as he stood on the gas. Hagan attempted to pedal it, but Capps’ clean pass enabled him to take the easy round win.

Quotable:
“First round losses are the kiss of death with the Countdown. We got past the first round, and we have five races left going into St. Louis. It was a hot, greasy track today. Avoiding that first round loss is key, and we did that. We had a good, fast race car beside us with Ron and we had to push it a little bit. They went 3.91, which was low of the session, and our lap wouldn’t hold. We’ll roll into St. Louis with a great MOPAR team, and there’s a lot of racing left in 2019.”

Qualified: No. 9

The Competition: No. 8 Shawn Langdon

The Results:
Q1: 10.049 E.T. at 75.90 MPH
Q2: 3.940 E.T. at 329.76 MPH
Q3: 3.919 E.T. at 333.00 MPH
Q4: 3.913 E.T. at 333.66 MPH

Quotable:
“We won’t have lane choice, but it never matters if you don’t have it. This MOPAR Hellcat Widebody has been running pretty good. We’ve had three out of our four runs be very consistent – running 90s pretty much every time, so things look to be pretty equal. So, unless something major happens or the weather changes drastically, I think we’ve got a pretty solid hot rod to at least get down the race track and give it a good shot.” 

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Countdown to the Championship standing: 6th

Reading Event Highlights:

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

2018 Reading Recap
Qualified 10th; First round exit (defeated by John Force in E1)

Last Event (Indianapolis):
Qualified second; Semifinal finish (defeated Bob Bode in E1, Shawn Langdon in E2; defeated by John Force in E3)

2019 Season Statistics:
25 round wins; ranked sixth in points 

Career Statistics:
258 races; 31 wins; 35 No. 1 qualifiers

Noteworthy;

  • In the last six events, Hagan has raced to a win, a runner-up, and four semifinal finishes

Quotable:
“Every one of these Countdown races is so important. I feel like you have to win two or three of them to really have a shot at winning the championship. It’s just a matter of who’s going to get hot at the right time. In the last six events, we’ve won a race, been runner-up and been to four semifinals, so it’s clear our MOPAR Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody is running great. The confidence is there, our car is there, and I think we’re peaking at the right time. I can’t wait to turn on some win lights this weekend. I’ve done well at Reading in the past, I’ve even won it on fire which made it onto ESPN’s SportsCenter. I’ll try and stay off of SportsCenter this weekend, but hopefully still get the win for MOPAR.”

Next NHRA Event

FC Points

Unofficial NHRA Championship Standings

Funny Car

1 Matt Hagan 1020
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 915
3 Jack Beckman 848
4 Ron Capps 828
5 Bob Tasca III 679
6 J.R. Todd 663
7 Tim Wilkerson 615
8 Alexis DeJoria 605
9 Paul Lee 464
10 Cruz Pedregon 436