Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge carry two-race Funny Car winning streak into this weekend's NHRA Gatornationals

 BROWNSBURG, Ind. (March 14, 2017) - Only two Funny Car drivers have ever started the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series with two consecutive wins. NHRA great Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Don Schumacher Racing's Matt Hagan.

And they've both done it twice.

Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen are 8-0 in round wins this season with event titles at the season opener in Pomona, Calif., and near Phoenix two weeks ago. It's a feat they also accomplished 2015.

"It's a pretty cool deal to start the season off like this," said Hagan. "We got us a hot rod right now. The car is strong, Dickie is putting a good car underneath me. I'm just feeling it right now, we all are. The car is just going down the racetrack every lap.

"It's a great feeling to crawl in the car with the confidence that you're going to run strong. I'm just super, super proud of Dickie, Michael and this group of Mopar guys that they've put around me."

But to continue that streak, two-time Funny Car champion Hagan will have to do something he's never done before - win the prestigious Gatornationals this weekend at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla. He certainly doesn't want to follow the 2015 pattern: after opening with two titles the team lost in the first round at Gainesville.

The East Coast season opener is a special race for many NHRA competitors, including Hagan.

"Hopefully we can carry some of it into the Gators," said Hagan, whose Mopar team powered by Pennzoil this year has matched the world records it set a year ago with a run of 3.822 seconds at 335.57 mph at Pomona in the opener.

"The Gators is one of the big ones. You want to win that one like you want to win Indy. It's significant. It stands out on the schedule.

"We want to go out here and win all of them but the competition is so tough out here that it's just a matter of time before somebody puts us on the trailer. That's why this sport is so humbling.

"We're certainly going to try and win them all and we have a car and a team that's capable of it and that's what keeps us so motivated each week out here. We know we can win. I can't wait to get to Gainesville and see what Dickie and this team can do."

MATT HAGAN: Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T - two-event winning streak

Last event (Feb. 24-26 at Phoenix): Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over DSR's Ron Capps

2016 at Gainesville: Qualified No. 6, lost in second round to Robert Hight

Career at Gainesville: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 2 (2010-11)


            Pts       Events         Wins                      Rup       Semi    Qtr      1st rd    Poles    DNQ            W/L

2017     1st                  2              2                          0               0     0              0            1       0            8-0

2016     3rd                24              4                          2             5         7            5          5        0        40-20

CAREER                  194            24                         20            28     62             56         28         4       273-166 

Best Time, Speed: 3.822 sec.-world record (2016, Brainerd/2017, Pomona 1); 335.57 mph-world record (2016, Topeka/2017, Pomona 1)


 (Official after Phoenix; 2 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)


   1. MATT HAGAN (2)          240      -----

   2. RON CAPPS                  178       -62

   3. Courtney Force               140     -100

   4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 134     -106

   5. John Force                      112     -128

   6. J.R. Todd                        105     -135

   7. Jim Campbell                  102     -138

   8. JACK BECKMAN             90     -150

   8. Tim Wilkerson                   90     -150

 10. Robert Hight                      88     -152

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