For the third event in a row, and the second time in 2020, defending NHRA Arizona Nationals Funny Car event champion Matt Hagan will start race day from the No. 1 position. Hagan paced the field when he powered the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a 3.859 E.T. during Friday’s second qualifying session. The run held strong throughout Saturday’s sole qualifying round, and earned the speedster his 38th No. 1 qualifier overall, and second at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
“We’ve got a really great race car,” said Hagan, who kicked off his 2020 season by clinching the Funny Car pole at the NHRA Winternationals two weeks ago. “This Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is driving well, it’s handling well; it gets up on the tire easily. It’s really been performing.
“With this being my 38th No. 1 qualifier, I passed Tony Pedregon on the list, and I’ve got so much respect for him,” added Hagan, whose 38 No. 1 qualifier awards ranks him fifth (tied with Kenny Bernstein) among the Funny Car category. “He’s a real wheelman, and I’ve always looked up to him.”
Hagan is looking to extend his Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park win count to four and will begin his quest for his 34th Funny Car triumph by squaring off against No. 16 qualifier Jeff Diehl in round one of eliminations on Sunday morning. With crew chief Dickie Venables in his corner, Hagan is confident in his team’s chances to go back-to-back and claim their second consecutive Arizona Nationals Wally trophy.
“Dickie won a championship with Tony Pedregon; he won a championship with me. He’s just one of those guys that will rise to the occasion. I know when I’m strapped in the car, and the conditions are right, he can really throw down. Having Dickie in your corner is like an Ace up your sleeve, and my guys are doing such a great job wrenching on the car. All in all, just really excited about tomorrow. Supposed to have great weather, it should be a great race day, and I’m ready to get after it.”
Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)
The Competition: No. 16 Jeff Diehl
Q1: 3.882 E.T. at 324.75 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.859 E.T. at 331.61 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Q3: 7.170 E.T. at 92.61 MPH
Bonus Points: Five