Driver of the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
Qualified: No. 11 (3.967 E.T. at 320.13 MPH)
E1: 4.585 E.T. at 201.19 MPH defeated by Tim Wilkerson 4.348 E.T. at 251.67 MPH
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat driver and No. 11 qualifier Matt Hagan faced No. 6 Tim Wilkerson in first-round eliminations at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Hagan, a three-time runner-up at St. Louis, jumped to a small starting line advantage, but was unable to hold the lead. Both drivers hazed the tires around the 300-foot mark, but Hagan had to work overtime to keep his car away from first the wall and then the centerline, while Wilkerson was able to recover and collect the round win. Hagan, a two-time NHRA Funny Car world champion, exits St. Louis seventh in the Countdown quest.
"We're going to test tomorrow and change some stuff up. We've been up against it a little bit with what we've been trying to do, so we're going to make some different changes and start moving forward with some things. At the end of the day, this is the same group of guys that I won a championship with, I runnered-up with, and won a bunch of races with. It's a fuel car; stuff changes, things happen, you make adjustments and you bounce back from adversity. Like (crew chief) Dickie (Venables) said, we're going to grab this thing by the horns and wrestle it to the ground and come out with the best opportunity and chance we can for the next four races to turn on win lights for our sponsors, and obviously try to win some races and try to win this championship. It's not over. I've seen crazy, crazy stuff happen, but I've also seen stuff come together and click, and you're like, 'Wow! Where's that been all season.' I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and making some runs here, making some test hits and hopefully get a handle on this race car."