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Matt Hagan Remains Atop Funny Car Championship Standings Despite Tough Loss To Blake Alexander

Matt Hagan showcased his determination this season as he made his way into the finals at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Although falling short of victory against Blake Alexander, Hagan’s performance proved that he’s on an upward trajectory in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Hagan’s final-round appearance in Norwalk marked an impressive milestone, as it was his 83rd career appearance in this pivotal stage of the competition. The weekend started with Hagan’s provisional qualifying run on Friday, where he secured the No. 3 spot with an impressive 3.905 ET at 328.70 mph. The run also earned him a valuable bonus point for being the third-quickest of the session. However, a slight setback in Q2 pushed him to the No. 5 qualifying position. Undeterred by the challenge, Hagan bounced back in Q3 on Saturday, reclaiming the No. 3 qualifying spot with an impressive 3.892 ET at 327.82 mph. 

In the early rounds on Sunday, Hagan displayed his dominance. In round one, he blazed down the track in a formidable 3.962 ET at 323.43 mph, defeating Dale Creasy Jr.’s 4.629 ET at 183.12 mph. In round two, Hagan’s tenacity shone through once again as he outran Robert Hight with a solid 3.912 ET at 329.18 mph against Hight’s 3.931 ET at 322.81 mph.

Advancing to the semifinals, Hagan faced off against J.R. Todd in a thrilling matchup. Hagan pulled off a spectacular 3.959 ET at 328.30 mph, narrowly defeating Todd’s 3.954 ET at 324.20 mph.

The stage was set for the finals, where Hagan encountered Blake Alexander. Although Hagan posted an impressive 3.991 ET at 327.90 mph, Alexander’s remarkable performance of 3.935 ET at 321.96 mph secured him the victory. Despite the loss, Hagan remains at the top of the Funny Car championship standings, maintaining a four-point lead over Ron Capps.

Reflecting on the weekend’s events, Hagan expressed his optimism and gratitude for his team’s hard work. “We made seven solid runs here in hot and humid conditions,” Hagan stated. “Overall, we are moving in the right direction in the Direct Connection Dodge SRT Hellcat Funny Car.” Hagan also congratulated Alexander on his win, emphasizing their long-standing friendship.

Hagan’s impressive performance in Norwalk has earned him a spot in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge at the upcoming NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series event, the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals.

As the season progresses, Hagan and his team at Tony Stewart Racing remain steadfast in their pursuit of victory. 

This story was originally published on June 26, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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