SEATTLE (Aug. 6, 2017) - Matt Hagan has spent most of this year looking up to Don Schumacher Racing teammate and NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps atop the standings, but now he has to look over his shoulder.
Hagan and the 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T team led the standings for the first five events of the season but Capps has led every week since.
With Capps holding a 158-lead over Hagan after Sunday's NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle where Hagan advanced to the semifinals, he is now only eight points ahead of John Force Racing's Robert Hight, who has won two of the last three events including the NHRA Northwest Nationals on Sunday near Seattle.
And only two events are left before points are reset for the 10 drivers who qualify for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff that begins at Charlotte after the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend.
"It's a strong way to finish the (Western) Swing," Hagan said of qualifying No. 2 and advancing to the semifinals for the 10th time in 16 events. He opened with a win over veteran Gary Densham and used a quicker reaction to beat a quicker Alexis DeJoria before losing a close race to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr.
"We had good drag races today against Densham and ran good against TJ (Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semifinals). I feel good rolling into Brainerd. I think that we've got kind of some momentum back a little. Hopefully Brainerd will be cool and fast and you never know what will happen there. Our Dodge is running good, it's been down the racetrack every time this weekend. It's been a real productive weekend."
"We've got Brainerd and Indy, and then the Countdown. Having some momentum is huge.
"The biggest thing is we need to put this Mopar Funny Car in the winner's circle. The car's running good. We're always consistent and right there in the hunt. We can be where we need to be at the end of the year."
Event winner: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)No. 1 qualifier: Hight, 3.8383 sec., 329.34 mph
MATT HAGAN, 80th Anniversary Mopar/Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Dickie Venables; Assistant: Michael Knudsen
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: HAGAN (3.920 sec., 330.47) def. Gary Densham (3.965, 319.37)
Second round: HAGAN (3.958, 326.71) def. Alexis DeJoria (3.956, 324.12)Semifinals: Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.935, 319.67) def. HAGAN (3.955, 326.08)QUALIFYING RESULTS
Qualified: No. 2
FRIDAY: 4.059 sec., 314.97 mph, (first session); 3.999, 322.19, (second session)
SATURDAY: 3.930, 328.54, (third session); 3.950, 327.90, (fourth session)
SEATTLE BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (July 30), Sonoma, Calif.: Qualified No. 6, lost in first round to Del Worsham
A year ago at Seattle: Qualified No. 5, lost in semifinals to Del WorshamCareer at Seattle: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 1 (2012); Poles 0
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Official after Seattle; 16 of 24 events: wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS (6) 1,330 -----
2. MATT HAGAN (3) 1,172 -158
3. Robert Hight (2) 1,164 -166
4. JACK BECKMAN (2) 1,104 -226
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 1,081 -249
6. Courtney Force 951 -249
7. John Force (1) 877 -453
8. Tim Wilkerson 759 -571
9. J.R. Todd (1) 756 -57410. Cruz Pedregon 601 -729
Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.