LAS VEGAS (April 2, 2017) - Two-time NHRA world champion Matt Hagan can count himself among the millions if not billions who haven't won in Las Vegas.
While Don Schumacher Racing's driver of the 2017 Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car left The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday with the points lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, a national event trophy continued to remain unclaimed.
Hagan, who qualified No. 2 with crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen, lost in the second round to John Force at the Las Vegas Nationals. Although Hagan owns 24 NHRA Wally trophies none have "Las Vegas" etched on them.
"I've been to the finals before (three times) but still can't get to the winner's circle," he said. "The track is tricky and because of the altitude here there isn't as much air as Dickie likes to make the power we're used to.
"Las Vegas never shown me much love, but we leave with the points lead and points always matter.
"It is what it is. We'll move forward to Houston (April 21-23) and try to win our third trophy this year for Mopar, Dodge, Pennzoil and Sandvik Coromant."
The Mello Yello Series is off for two weeks before returning for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals near Houston. Then continuing near Charlotte and Atlanta for the first three race swing on the 2017 Mello Yello Series schedule.
RESULTS FROM LAS VEGAS
Winner: Tommy Johnson Jr. (Don Schumacher Racing)
No. 1 qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing), 3.867 sec.-track record, 327.66 mph
MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane 2017 Dodge Charger R/T
Crew chief: Dickie Venables; assistant: Michael Knudsen
Qualified: No. 2
First round: HAGAN (3.970 sec., 330.63 mph) def. Del Worsham (6.251, 118.97)
Second round: John Force (3.987, 321.81) def. HAGAN (4.043, 318.24)
FRIDAY: 10.804 sec., 78.27 mph, (Session 1); 3.868, 330.63, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 10.423, 77.81, (Session 3); 3.922, 330.96, (Session 4)
2016 Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 10, lost in first round to John Force
2016 Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 2, lost in semifinals to event winner John Force
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2009); Poles 1 (2015)
Career at Las Vegas: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2010, 2009); Poles 3 (2015, 2014, 2009)
2017 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Official after Las Vegas 1; 4 of 24 events; wins in parenthesis; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN (2) 368 -----
2. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 324 -44
3 John Force (1) 314 -54
4. RON CAPPS 275 -93
5. Courtney Force 218 -150
6. JACK BECKMAN 205 -163
7. Robert Hight 201 -167
8. Jonnie Lindberg 183 -185
9. Jim Campbell 180 -188
10. J.R. Todd 170 -198
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