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]Matt Hagan and Dickie Venables love New England Dragway. The former champions defeated Shawn Langdon by five-hundredths of a second to earn their first win since February. It’s the duo’s third-straight victory at the NHRA New England Nationals, a tradition that seems unlikely to end anytime soon. 

Hagan stopped the 10-round winning streak of Bob Tasca III, the Rhode Island native, and defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps. He also got past another DSR teammate, Jack Beckman, in the first round of racing. It’s the 31st win in Hagan’s career, which came in his 57th final round. He had not reached a final round since the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in April. 

Shawn Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car progressively got quicker en route to the final. Langdon defeated Jim Campbell with a 4.036-second pass that got him to the stripe four hundredths of a second ahead of the No. 12 qualifier. That set him up with a matchup against two-time world champion Robert Hight, and co-crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Bonifante put the screws to their hot rod. 

Langdon was second off the starting line by a hundredth of a second, but it didn’t matter. He got to the stripe in 3.999-second and Hight never stood a chance in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro. He ran a 4.103-second lap after putting a cylinder out. Langdon earned the victory and lane choice over Tim Wilkerson, who defeated Langdon’s Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd in the second round. 

Hagan has now won at least two races every year for the past seven seasons. He entered New England Dragway in eight place and leaves tied with Bob Tasca III in seventh with a much-needed Wally for his Mopar-backed team. 

The next race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver. That will kick off on July 26 and be the 14th of 24 events on the tour. 


Qualified: No. 11 (3.943 E.T. at 325.85 MPH)

The Results:
E1: Foul, Red Light; defeated by Bob Tasca III 3.957 E.T. at 324.59 MPH

Race Recap:
The defending Norwalk Funny Car event champ entered the weekend hoping to close out the June four-race swing with a long Sunday of going rounds. Behind the wheel of the Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Matt Hagan faced Bob Tasca III in the opening round of eliminations. In an uncharacteristic move for one of the best ‘leavers’ in the class, Hagan stood on the gas early and activated the red light, allowing his opponent the automatic round win.

“I messed up bad today. Red lit, double-stepped it. I was up there ready to go, and it seemed like a long light to me. My foot said ‘go,’ and the tree hadn’t fallen yet. I was a little too amped up, I guess. We have a little break (in the schedule) coming up. We’ll get back into the groove of things and have a fresh start in Epping. I’ve got some time to let the dust settle. We didn’t have such a great four-race swing, but we still have a lot of racing to do.”

Matt Hagan

Qualified: No. 11

The Competition: No. 6 Bob Tasca III

The Results: 
Q1: 4.056 E.T. at 322.50 MPH
Q2: 3.975 E.T. at 325.22 MPH
Q3: 5.893 E.T. at 116.91 MPH
Q4: 3.943 E.T. at 325.85 MPH

“We needed to bump up in that final qualifying session. If we didn’t we have would have been racing (teammate) Tommy (Johnson Jr.) again in the first round. I’m tired of racing my teammates. I think we’ve had that scenario the last four or five races. It would be nice to change that.  We’ll take that run for sure. It was important that we got down the track in that run and the results were all we could ask for.”


Qualified: No. 9 (4.012 E.T. at 317.27 MPH)

The Results:
E1: 4.376 E.T. at 223.50 MPH defeated by Tommy Johnson Jr. 3.964 E.T. at 311.92 MPH

Race Recap:
Two-time world champion Matt Hagan continued his recent trend of running into fellow DSR Hellcat Funny Car racers during the early rounds of eliminations. After qualifying the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat ninth with his second round qualifying run of 4.012 seconds, Hagan was paired against Tommy Johnson Jr. to open eliminations. Both left the starting line with identical .080-reaction times, but Hagan dropped a cylinder early into the run and had to click it off when his machine made a hard move toward the centerline.

“This was a really tough weekend, and it all comes down to qualifying. We just have to have the results on Friday and Saturday to put us in a better position on Sunday. Top-half would have been huge today. We struggled with that left lane and kind of fell victim to it. We are going to test tomorrow and hoping we can make some runs to get ourselves squared away. That’s all we can really do is keep digging. We have a big responsibility to our sponsors in MOPAR, Pennzoil and Sandvik and all the people that make this happen. We are going to have turn things around and start making things happen.” 

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