BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 18, 2017) - Matt Hagan and his Don Schumacher Racing-owned Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T Powered by Pennzoil has experienced the highest of highs in Thunder Valley at the famed Bristol Dragway.
Hagan, who calls Christiansburg, Va., some two hours north, home, reached the final round the past two years at his home NHRA race track with one of the most emotional of his 25 NHRA Funny Car victories coming in 2015 when he scored the narrow victory over DSR teammate Ron Capps.
"This is always a big race for us here at Bristol," Hagan said after another strong performance at Thunder Valley. "You want to do well and win at your home track in front of so many friends and family and we've done pretty well here the past few years. Another decent weekend with going to the semis after we won one and went to the final round the past few years."
Hagan, flying the bright yellow colors of Sandvik Coromant, the official cutting tools of DSR, led DSR's contingent of Funny Cars in qualifying at Bristol Dragway placing his Charger in the No. 3 position. He defeated Alexis DeJoria and 16-time series champion John Force before running into Capps, the defending series champion and current Funny Car juggernaut who advanced to his seventh final round in 11 races this season.
"Losing to a teammate is never easy," Hagan said after spending Father's Day at the track with his son, Colby. "We'll get there. We should have won it. We just need to go down the race track. We didn't do that, so we'll move on to Norwalk. We were just pressing too hard and smoked the tires.
"Every race counts and every lap matters. Capps is building a commanding lead on us and the rest of the field and we have to put them on the trailer when we race them. The ultimate goal is to be the points leader and those guys are getting done on race day and our goal is to do the same."
Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane team, led by crew chief Dickie Venables, will have a chance to nip away at Capps' lead when the NHRA series resumes next weekend, June 23-25, in Norwalk, Ohio, about an hour west of Cleveland.
Event winner: Ron Capps (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Tim Wilkerson (Tim Wilkerson Motorsports) 3.895 sec., 328.22 mph
MATT HAGAN, Sandvik Coromant 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Dickie Venables; Assistant: Michael Knudsen
Qualified: No. 3
First round: HAGAN (4.387 sec., 233.48) def. Jim Campbell (6.307, 105.26)
Second round: HAGAN (4.202, 306.95) def. John Force (DQ)
Semifinals: HAGAN ) Ron Capps
Final: HAGAN )
FRIDAY: 6.060 sec., 119.59 mph, (Session 1); 3.984, 323.81, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 6.134, 111.87, (Session 3); 3.925, 326.00, (Session 4)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Unofficial after Bristol, Tenn.; 11th of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (5) 1,044 -----
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 881 -163
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 748 -296
4. Robert Hight 707 -337
5. Courtney Force 704 -340
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 663 -381
7. John Force (1) 641 -403
9. Tim Wilkerson 490 -554
8. J.R. Todd 476 -578
10. Cruz Pedregon 397 -647