Hagan Ends Funny Car Losing Streak
CONCORD, N.C. – Matt Hagan ended a 17-month winless drought by racing to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle at zMAX Dragway.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the only NHRA Mello Yello Series Drag Racing event that features competition in four lanes simultaneously.
The Southwest Virginia cattle rancher powered his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger to the final round win over fellow Virginian Blake Alexander, veteran driver Tim Wilkerson, and rookie Chad Head to take his sixth career victory.
Hagan covered the distance in 4.071 seconds at 315.34 mph and finished in front of Alexander’s Auto Service Plus Charger, which ran 4.156 at 294.56 in his first ever runner-up finish. Wilkerson and event top qualifier Head both lost traction in their machines early in the four-wide final.
“This was a big win for us,” Hagan said. “It’s been a year since we won, or longer; I don’t know. It’s been too long, and that feeling is just great to have back.
Hagan moved through eliminations as the quickest in each of his first two rounds and it was a great turnaround at this track for the 2011 world champ who has endured several spectacular explosions here in the past.
“We finally put some gremlins to rest here at the racetrack at zMAX,” Hagan said. “I love this track. It’s home for me, three hours away from home. It’s one of those deals where it’s a great track. Bruton Smith does a great job with it, and it’s a fast facility. Our car just ran phenomenal in lane 2 all day long, and that says a lot for [crew chief] Dickie Venables. He’s kind of been passed over and looked over the past couple of years as a crew chief. It’s one of those deals where he’s got two rings on his fingers, and he just hadn’t found a home yet. Don Schumacher gave him an opportunity to go out here and do his own thing. The guy came in and is doing his own thing, and he’s taking notes home and doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and that drives me to do what I’m supposed to do and step up to the plate.”
With the victory, Hagan moved into the series lead, 50 ahead of second place Cruz Pedregon. It is the first time Hagan has led the points since winning the 2011 world championship title.
“We took over the points lead, but it’s too early to start counting that stuff,” Hagan said. “But anybody who tells you they don’t count it is foolish; everybody’s counting points.”