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BRISTOL, TN – June 13, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Racing just a couple hours from his Christiansburg, Va. home, Funny Car driver Matt Hagan relishes the opportunity to compete at picturesque Bristol Dragway, the site of this weekend’s 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

After trying for years to win at his home track in Funny Car, Hagan came through for the first time in 2015, advancing to the final round again last year. Winning on Father’s Day weekend added an extra special touch for Hagan, making it such a memorable moment the two-time world champion hopes to repeat it again in his 10,000-horsepower Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T.

“It doesn’t get any better,” said Hagan, who is currently second in Funny Car points. “I’ll have my boy there this weekend, my family will be there and it’s just a blessing to have them all so close. At this race you have so many people you grew up with that come out and watch you. They saw you racing at a local level and they’ve been able to grow with you. For them to see you do well, I think it’s a pretty special thing. Some of those people really, really care about you and your career.”

Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including final eliminations coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 18. It is the 11th of 24 events during a 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season that has been a massive success for Hagan.

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Photo by Nastase - Matt Hagan collected his third win of the 2017 season when he outlasted Courtney Force to win the NHRA New England Nationals. It was Hagan’s first win in Epping and the 25th of his career. That breaks a tie with teammate Jack Beckman for ninth on the all-time Funny Car wins list. Hagan saved his best race-day run for last, powering to a 3.897 to defeat Courtney Force, who slowed to a 3.92 after running low e.t. of eliminations in the semifinals.

The best ending was when two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T team led by Dickie Venables stopped a losing streak to John Force in the opening round. Hagan then went on to win the New England title by beating Force's daughter, Courtney Force, in the final round of eliminations at Epping, N.H., for his third event title of the season. J. Force had beaten Hagan in their last four meetings.
 
Hagan powered to the 25th victory of his career and third of the season with a 3.897 pass at 332.59 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger Funny Car to defeat C. Force who ran a 3.927 at 332.34.  
 
"I knew we had a great racecar today and the conditions were great so we knew we would be better than our qualifying times," Hagan said. "Everything went the way it should have today, and things seemed to fall in place for us." 
 
"Obviously, you have to race the racetrack, but you race the racer as well. People say they don't think about who is beside you. But I think that's crap. Everybody does. Their cadence and tendencies and what they're going to do and different things like that."
 
Hagan's team stumbled on both qualifying runs Friday but rallied on Saturday to qualify fourth.
 
"We didn't go down the racetrack (Friday) and you're thinking, 'oh man, what do we do?' But Dickie was like, 'man we're better than that.' So, he reeled it back in and made two really nice laps on Saturday and built a lot of confidence coming into Sunday."

#4 Matt qualifies 4th and will face #13 John Force first round.

The Results:
Q1: 4.789 E.T. at 162.78 MPH
Q2: 11.371 E.T. at 57.45 MPH
Q3: 3.877 E.T. at 333.66 MPH
Q4: 3.874 E.T. at 333.00 MPH

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Next NHRA Event 2017

Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Ron Capps (1095)
2. Matt Hagan (946)
3. Jack Beckman (860)
4. Robert Hight (809)
5. Tommy Johnson Jr. (739)
6. Courtney Force (714)
7. John Force (683)
8. Tim Wilkerson (525)
9. J.R. Todd (508)
10. Cruz Pedregon (431)
14. Alexis DeJoria (381)