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Qualified: No. 9

The Competition: No. 8 Tim Wilkerson

The Results: 
Q1: 4.022 E.T. at 320.13 MPH
Q2: 4.828 E.T. at 164.11 MPH
Q3: 3.966 E.T. at 324.36 MPH
Q4: 3.949 E.T. at 322.65 MPH

Quotable:
“I feel great man. You know we got us a real race car that’s going down the race track. It has been down both lanes. You know my lights are pretty good other than that last one, I was dead late, I didn’t even want to look at it. Other than that, we got us a good race car to go race with.”

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Qualified: No. 6 (3.903 E.T. at 325.14 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 3.891 E.T. at 328.62 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 9.638 E.T. at 78.22 MPH
E2: 3.903 E.T. at 323.58 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 3.910 E.T. at 328.46 MPH

Race Recap:
After qualifying sixth for the NHRA Carolina Nationals, two-time event champion Matt Hagan drew No. 11 qualifier Shawn Langdon in round one. Hagan flexed his Mopar muscle by powering his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat straight down the groove in 3.891-seconds to take the win over Langdon’s immediate tire smoker.
 
In the quarterfinals, the Mopar machine ran another solid pass, but Hagan gave up the win when he suffered an uncharacteristic holeshot loss, allowing his opponent Tim Wilkerson to set off the win light with his 3.910 E.T. versus Hagan’s quicker 3.903.

Quotable:
“We definitely got a car that’s going down the race track now. We found a king pin that was seized up in the front A arm, fixed that and the thing is driving like a dream now so that’s a huge thing as far as confidence and everything else goes.
 
“(Tim) Wilky handed me my ass up there. He had a 0.052 light to my 0.072 light. At the end of the day, it falls on me. We outran him but I didn’t do my job on the starting line. It’s hard to be upset with a 70-something light but it’s one of those things where you’ve got to step it up. It’s just the way it is nowadays. Every round counts, every round matters. At the end of the day, I’m just glad we’ve got our race car back, our tune-up is working out, it’s going down the track again. We’re getting more laps and feeling more confident in what we’re doing. We’re turning a corner, it’s just at the end of the season.”

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Qualified: No. 15 (4.169 E.T. at 255.92 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.058 E.T. at 317.12 MPH defeated by Bob Tasca III 3.998 E.T. at 319.37 MPH

Race Recap:
The 2018 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals were anything but kind to Matt Hagan. The two-time Texas Motorplex winner struggled to make a full pass under power throughout qualifying, placing Hagan uncharacteristically in the 15th position to start race day.
 
Hagan sought to salvage the weekend on Sunday, but despite making a full pull (4.058-seconds) was unable to get past Countdown spoiler Bob Tasca III’s 3.998 E.T. in round one.
 
Despite the early exit, Hagan remains in seventh departing Ennis, Texas.

Quotable:
“We have to work to put out some of the Kalitta and Force cars and we need to step it up and go some rounds to put ourselves in a better position in the championship chase. We’re working hard with some new combinations and we have a lot of help from our teammate and we’re moving forward. We’re going to stay positive and go into Charlotte with a game plan and grow and have a good weekend for Mopar and Pennzoil and DSR.”

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Qualified: No. 11 (3.967 E.T. at 320.13 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.585 E.T. at 201.19 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 4.348 E.T. at 251.67 MPH

Race Recap:
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver and No. 11 qualifier Matt Hagan faced No. 6 Tim Wilkerson in first-round eliminations at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Hagan, a three-time runner-up at St. Louis, jumped to a small starting line advantage, but was unable to hold the lead. Both drivers hazed the tires around the 300-foot mark, but Hagan had to work overtime to keep his car away from first the wall and then the centerline, while Wilkerson was able to recover and collect the round win. Hagan, a two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion, exits St. Louis seventh in the Countdown quest.

Quotable:
"We're going to test tomorrow and change some stuff up. We've been up against it a little bit with what we've been trying to do, so we're going to make some different changes and start moving forward with some things. At the end of the day, this is the same group of guys that I won a championship with, I runnered-up with, and won a bunch of races with. It's a fuel car; stuff changes, things happen, you make adjustments and you bounce back from adversity. Like (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) said, we're going to grab this thing by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and come out with the best opportunity and chance we can for the next four races to turn on win lights for our sponsors, and obviously try to win some races and try to win this championship. It's not over. I've seen crazy, crazy stuff happen, but I've also seen stuff come together and click, and you're like, 'Wow! Where's that been all season.' I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and making some runs here, making some test hits and hopefully get a handle on this race car."

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Qualified: No. 10 (3.960 E.T. at 321.12 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.164 E.T. at 257.97 MPH defeated by John Force 4.007 E.T. at 326.87 MPH

Race Recap:
The two-time Funny Car world champion’s campaign for a third title got off to a rocky start at the first race of the NHRA playoff series.
 
Matt Hagan entered the race weekend fresh off of a runner-up finish and ranked second in the Funny Car standings. The 2014 Reading champion qualified 10th for race day and faced John Force in the opening round. Hagan and Force were locked in a close race until just past halftrack when Hagan’s machine slowed to a 4.164 E.T. and Force was able to take the win with his 4.007 second pass.

Hagan will enter Countdown race No. 2 ranked fifth.

Quotable:
“Life is full of bounce back situations. You have to be down in order to be up sometimes. Obviously, going out first round like that is not how we wanted to start this Dodge race. At the end of the day, it comes down to digging deep and working hard and figuring out what the issues are and racing our car the way we know how. I came in this morning thinking that we really had the car to beat John (Force). He’s a good racer and I have a lot of respect for him, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have the best crew chief out there, and I think that’ll show at the end of the season. We’ve got another race coming up really quick, we don’t have to worry about sitting on this loss for a whole weekend. Thank you so much to Mopar and Dodge for what they put into this deal.”

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FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. J.R. Todd (2553)
2. Robert Hight (2479)
3. Ron Capps (2388)
4. Tim Wilkerson (2367)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2362)
6. Courtney Force (2324)
7. Matt Hagan (2321)
8. Jack Beckman (2283)
9. John Force (2277)
10. Shawn Langdon (2204)