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Matt Hagan Finishes Western Swing With Points Lead In Funny Car Standings

Matt Hagan, the driver of the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car, displayed a commanding performance at the Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals this past weekend. With exceptional qualifying runs and an impressive semifinal finish, Hagan solidified his position as the current leader in the Funny Car championship standings.

During Friday’s qualifying sessions, Hagan secured the No. 3 provisional qualifying position with a time of 3.951 ET at 333.49 mph, earning him one bonus point for the third-quickest run of the session. He maintained his No. 3 qualifying position and collected two bonus points for the second-quickest run of the two qualifying sessions.

On Saturday, Hagan’s exceptional form continued in Q3, as he blazed down the track with a remarkable 4.004 ET at 321.73 mph, earning three bonus points for the quickest run of the session. These impressive runs secured him the No. 5 qualifying position based on his Friday’s Q1 run, setting the stage for an action-packed race day.

On Sunday, Hagan showcased his determination as he advanced through the eliminations. In round 1, he delivered an impressive 3.997 ET at 317.87 mph, defeating Jason Rupert’s 4.038 ET at 314.24 mph. In round 2, Hagan continued his dominating performance with a swift 3.955 ET at 324.98 mph, securing a victory over Tim Wilkerson’s 4.014 ET at 297.81 mph.

In the Semifinals, Hagan faced off against J.R. Todd, putting up a strong fight with a 3.999 ET at 323.12 mph. However, Todd’s 3.965 ET at 325.14 mph secured him the win and moved him into the Finals.

Despite the semifinal loss, Hagan remains in high spirits, recognizing the significance of maintaining his top position in the championship standings. He expressed admiration for his competitors, particularly acknowledging Chad Green and J.R. Todd for their impressive performances.

The Sonoma race was also notable for Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage (JHG), who made their debut as the primary sponsor for Tony Stewart Racing. JHG, founded in 2021, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the automotive industry. The sponsorship represents a meaningful partnership that brings passion and flair to the racing world.

Speaking about the weekend, Matt Hagan stated, “The big takeaway from the weekend is that (Ron) Capps didn’t gain any ground on us, and we were able to maintain number one in the point standings.” He acknowledged the competitiveness of the field and emphasized the importance of bringing their best performance every time they hit the track.

As Hagan heads into the final stretch before the Countdown, he is eager to extend his lead in the championship standings and face off against J.R. Todd in the NHRA’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge at Topeka. With only three races remaining, Hagan is determined to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard and secure a strong advantage for the championship run.

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This story was originally published on July 31, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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