Matt Hagan rocketed the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to a 3.917-second pass to claim the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot on Friday night at the JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
After running a conservative 4.027-second run in Friday’s first qualifying session, crew chief Dickie Venables tuned the Mopar machine to a 3.917–second pass at 326.79-mph run under the lights during Q2 at Route 66 Raceway.
Hagan, a three-time Route 66 Funny Car champion, has already secured a race win, a No. 1 qualifier and three final round appearances in 2018, and the 2016 Joliet No. 1 qualifier is confident his Friday evening pass will provide his team with a solid baseline to work off of for the rest of the race weekend.
“It was a great run, and something we can build from. Coming out of (the previous event) Topeka, Kan., I feel like we kind of closed the gap on Courtney (Force) and some of the cars that were running really strong and up front,” said Hagan, who has netted 31 No. 1 qualifiers in his illustrious career.
“I know Dickie Venables; when he has enough runs, he gets everything dialed in. I’m very, very confident in the moves we’ve been making, and the direction we’re headed in. Our Mopar Dodge is handling really well.
“This is a great track, and I have a lot of history here. We’ve won some races, set some world records here, and the fans are just always great. Glad to be back at Route 66 Raceway and having some fun, laying down good numbers. These runs give us the confidence to roll into tomorrow’s two sessions and loosens up that ability to be able to throw down, knowing we’ve got nothing to lose.”
Q1: 4.027 E.T. at 317.49 MPH
Q2: 3.917 E.T. at 326.79 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Provisional Qualifying Position: No. 1
Bonus Points: Three