Hagan defeats DSR teammate at E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car drivers have won each race this season. Three separate drivers have won a race this season for the powerhouse team.

Matt Hagan defeated his DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. – who was the No. 1 qualifier for the event – at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana. The Christiansburg, Virginia native won his first win of the season.

Mopar sponsored Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan racing on Sunday at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals
Matt Hagan racing on Sunday at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals (Photo by the NHRA)

With the win, “The Hulk” now has 34 career wins in the category.

“I’m all good, I just had some parts come up there and tag me pretty good but I’ve been kicked by cattle harder than that anyway,” said Hagan. “We’re so glad to be doing this with NHRA and fans in the stands. Thanks to Mopar, Pennzoil, Sandvik and all the folks that support us. I just can’t say enough about NHRA. These guys are my family. My crew chief, Dickie Venables; what an amazing job this weekend.”

Hagan had the starting line advantage, as he had an 0.44 reaction time. Johnson Jr. attempted to catch up following his 0.066 reaction time.

Hagan went 4.328 at 215.00 mph to claim the Wally. Johnson Jr. went 5.854 at 117.84 mph in the losing effort.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center Funny Car had problems following the 330-foot mark. According to the Don Schumacher Racing press release, Johnson Jr.’s hot rod dropped a cylinder.

“I’m kind of disappointed, but it’s hard to be disappointed when you go to the final round and get a No. 1 qualifier,” Johnson Jr. said. “We have a great car, just like we did at Phoenix. Out of nowhere it put a cylinder out and [crew chief] John [Collins]] did the right thing by trying to shut me off and just after he did that, I watched Matt [Hagan] blow up. I think I could have beat him on seven [cylinders], but it was probably the right decision to not risk hurting parts. It’s still a great weekend and we have such a solid race car, and with a shortened season and no Countdown, being near the top of the points is the most important thing.”

Before this final round appearance, “The Hulk” held an 18-14 advantage over his teammate. Each driver had two wins over each other in previous final rounds.

Towards the end of the finish line, Hagan’s Funny Car had an explosion. He was able to get the win and was not hurt in the explosion.

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