|Starting from the pole position for the 40th time in his career, Funny Car point leader Matt Hagan has his sights set on securing his second consecutive Texas Motorplex victory on Sunday at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.|
At the 2019 Dallas event, Hagan raced his 11,000-horsepower machine to the winner’s circle, kicking off what would become an 11-event undefeated streak for the Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car program, and he is hoping history repeats itself on Sunday. Hagan entered the 35th running of the Dallas event with a 16-point lead over his No. 2 ranked teammate Jack Beckman and a 34-point lead over No. 3 ranked DSR Dodge pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. With only three race days remaining in the 2020 season and the points battle heating up, Hagan knows a win at the Motorplex will be critical in helping to achieve his goal of locking-up a third Funny Car world championship.
Hagan’s No. 1 qualifier, his fourth of the season, was achieved when he rocketed the Pennzoil Synthetics Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a blistering 3.860-second pass during Saturday’s second and final qualifying session. Earlier in the afternoon, Hagan and the Dickie Venables-led team unloaded with an impressive 3.890-second run in Q1, the second-quickest of the session. The Pennzoil team’s strong qualifying performance allowed them to bank five bonus points for their efforts.
“We made two great runs with this Pennzoil Dodge,” said Hagan, a three-time Texas Motorplex champion. “It was a bit of a cluster up there for the second run. We were trying to make a clutch call and Dickie was trying to put a timing map in, and I was like ‘take a deep breath, it’s going to be alright.’ And it was. I have a great race car under me and I’m trying to drive the wheels off of it and it’s amazing to see all these fans here at the Texas Motorplex and it sort of feels normal and I love it. We’ll try to make four good laps tomorrow and stay in the championship hunt for Pennzoil and Dodge and Mopar and all those who support us.”
Hagan’s quest to pick up the 12th consecutive Funny Car triumph for DSR will begin with a round one match-up versus No. 16 qualifier Todd Simpson. Hagan will have lane choice over his opponent as he kicks off his campaign for a 36th Funny Car trophy, and the chance to keep DSR’s undefeated streak alive. Hagan is a two-time winner in 2020 and finished as the event runner-up at the previous race in St. Louis. Eliminations for the 35th annual NHRA FallNationals start at 10:00 a.m. CT on Sunday.
|Qualified: No. 1 (lane choice)|
The Competition: No. 16 Todd Simpson
Q1: 3.890 E.T. at 323.97 MPH (Two bonus points for second-quickest run of the session)
Q2: 3.860 E.T. at 328.54 MPH (Three bonus points for quickest run of the session)
Bonus Points: Five