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Matt Hagan Gears Up for Big Weekend at NHRA Arizona Nationals

Matt Hagan, driver of the TSR Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car, is set to make history at the upcoming NHRA Arizona Nationals, held at the newly named Firebird Motorsports Park.

Hagan, the track record holder with a time of 3.823 seconds set in February 2022, eyes his 50th career victory.

The stakes are high for Hagan following an unfinished final round at the Winternationals in Pomona, California, where he showcased his skill and determination by advancing to the final against John Force. This weekend presents a unique opportunity for Hagan to capture not one but two Wally trophies.

“The Phoenix weekend is going to be very busy during qualifying,” said Hagan. “We were hoping they would add an extra qualifying session in there, since all three qualifiers to have the potential to be a race. The first and second sessions will be the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge and the third session will be the Finals from Pomona. You race differently than you qualify. The setups on the car are different and your mentality as a driver is different. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. At the end of the day, we really just want to put on a good show for the fans. You couldn’t ask for more to have the opportunity to win two Wallys in one weekend. I think it’ll be a challenging weekend for crew chiefs and drivers, but we’re ready for the challenge. If anyone can do it, TSR can. We’ll have to have the mentality that when you show up for each run, it’s game time.”

In addition to his pursuit of victory, Hagan will participate in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, a competitive element added to the regular-season events. The challenge promises bonus points and a bonus purse vital for the Countdown to the Championship.

“Last year, the championship came down to just a few points, so all the bonus points we can get in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge make a big difference,” added Hagan. “We don’t want to have to pedal the car and blow anything up, but if we can get the points clean, we definitely want to get them. It can mean the difference between a round or two at the end of the season. We try hard to win every round, period. There’s not a race or round we take off. We’re always trying to do the best we can. When something doesn’t go right the first time, it’s a learning curve. It’s only a mistake if you do the same thing twice. We’re always pushing hard and we understand how much our sponsors spend each weekend for us to be there. It’s so valuable for them to believe in us and be a part of our team.”

Fans will have the chance to meet Hagan during the Mission #2Fast2Tasty autograph session on Friday at 2 p.m. MT at the Mission Foods Display and at the Dodge autograph sessions alongside Leah Pruett and Tony Stewart, further enhancing the fan experience at the Arizona Nationals.

Moreover, the partnership between Mopar CAP and TSR will be highlighted during the event, showcasing the integration of technical education and automotive excellence—a testament to the enduring impact of racing beyond the track.

This story was originally published on April 1, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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