BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 2, 2015) – Matt Hagan is on a unique trend through the eight NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events this season.
The Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team enjoyed back-to-back wins to start the season at Pomona, Calif., and near Phoenix. Then Matt and the team lost in the opening round at the next two events, the second round at the fifth and sixth Mello Yello events and most recently reached the semifinals in the seventh and eighth events near Atlanta and Topeka.
Matt hopes that trend means he’s headed back to the winner’s circle at this weekend’s NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
“That’s interesting,” Matt said. “That just shows the steady climb we’ve made since those back-to-back first-round losses.”
The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables has been trying some new things with the car in hopes of learning something that could help the Mopar team in this year’s six-race playoff for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship that begins after Labor Day.
The defending world champions enter this weekend’s event just five points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, who holds the Funny Car points lead. The Mopar team won the pole and went on to win the Englishtown event in 2013.
“We’re sitting second in the points right now and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Matt said. “Every time we make a lap with this car Dickie is learning something new and that’s huge. We’re just gathering up all the data we can and trying to stay up in the top three in points so when the Countdown comes we’re in a good position.”
The Englishtown event is the first of three consecutive events on the NHRA tour. The series heads to Epping, N.H. next week followed by a stop at Bristol Dragway the following week.
“This is a crucial part of our season right now. It would be nice to get some momentum going during these three races and into the summer.”
MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (May 24), Topeka, Kan.: Qualified No. 8; lost in semifinals to John Force
A year ago at Englishtown: Qualified No. 13; lost in quarterfinals to Jack Beckman
Career at Englishtown: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 0; Poles 1 (2013)
Best Time, Speed: 3.975 sec. (2015, Phoenix); 324.83 (2015, Phoenix)
2015 NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Through Topeka, 8 of 24 races; DSR drivers in CAPS)
DRIVER (WINS) POINTS BEHIND
1. RON CAPPS (2) 580 —-
2. MATT HAGAN (2) 575 -5
3. JACK BECKMAN (2) 531 -49
4. Del Worsham 507 -73
5. John Force (1) 502 -78
6. Robert Hight 460 -120
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 456 -124
8. Tim Wilkerson (1) 447 -133
9. Alexis DeJoria 395 -185
10. Cruz Pedregon 395 -185