Matt Hagan raced to his career 30th Funny Car victory and captured DSR’s 150th Funny Car Wally trophy on Sunday at the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals.
It was a near-perfect weekend for Hagan and his Sandvik Coromant Funny Car team at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix. Led by crew chief Dickie Venables, the team looked untouchable as they began their campaign for the Phoenix Funny Car Wally by unloading with a 3.942 second run on Friday in Q1 when no other team was able to make a clean pass. They followed that up with two more ‘top three’ runs during the remaining two qualifying sessions to start race day from the No. 2 spot.
The Sandvik Coromant team picked off opponents Phil Burkhart Jr., Shawn Langdon, and Bob Tasca III to set-up a final round matchup between Hagan and defending world champion J.R. Todd. Hagan powered to a 3.890 E.T. versus Todd’s instant tire smoker to set off the win light and claim his third Phoenix Wally.
“Hats off to Dickie Venables; the guy won the race, that’s for sure,” said Hagan of the impressive accomplishment of being the only team to go seven for seven in making clean, full pulls during every run over the course of the weekend. “He had a race car underneath me that was going down the race track every lap. That gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me the car to win, this Wally goes to him for sure, as well as my entire team. They all came back for 2019.”
Not only did Hagan reach a milestone 30th victory in 55 final rounds, he also got to claim bragging rights of becoming the first MOPAR-powered driver to park the new Dodge Hellcat body in the winner’s circle for the first time.
“This is huge because it’s the first win with the new Hellcat body. MOPAR put so much into designing this new body, and it’s great to be able to put it in the winner’s circle for them.”
“To be able to drive for Don for the past 11 years and be able to win 30 races is awesome. It’s pretty cool out of DSR’s 150 Funny Car wins, I have 30 of them. That’s a pretty good chunk. It just goes to show you I’ve been put around really good people, and talented crew chiefs that work hard. Dickie is one of the best out here and I’m really glad to have him in our corner.”
With Sunday’s victory, Hagan moves into second place in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship point standings.
“We’re looking forward to this season. J.R. (Todd) is a great driver, and the reigning world champ, and I have nothing but respect for him but it’s a new year, and a new season, and we have to go out here and make our own way.” Qualified: No. 2 (3.881 E.T. at 323.43 MPH)
E1: 3.919 E.T. at 324.12 MPH defeated Phil Burkhart Jr. 5.662 E.T. at 126.26 MPH
E2: 3.894 E.T. at 327.19 MPH defeated Shawn Langdon 3.951 E.T. at 326.48 MPH
E3: 3.921 E.T. at 321.96 MPH defeated Bob Tasca III 3.983 E.T. at 320.13 MPH
E4: 3.890 E.T. at 325.06 MPH defeated J.R. Todd, Broke (no time)