Hagan Captures Funny Car Win in Arizona,
Scores Historic First Victory in Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Body
· Victory for Matt Hagan at NHRA Arizona Nationals is first win for Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body
· Hagan’s triumph aboard Sandvik Coromant Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in Chandler, Arizona, is 30th of his career
· Leah Pritchett races Don Schumacher Racing Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster to NHRA Arizona Nationals final round
· Tommy Johnson, Jr. celebrates 30th anniversary of NHRA nitro debut in Phoenix, reaches second round in Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
· Jon Irving, Darcy Clark take Dodge Top Finisher Awards in NHRA Sportsman classes in Phoenix
· More info on Mopar in NHRA available at http://blog.mopar.com
· Dodge Garage (http://www.dodgegarage.com/), a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts, features highlights from NHRA season
February 24, 2019, Chandler, Arizona – Matt Hagan raced to victory in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat at the 35th NHRA Arizona Nationals near Phoenix on February 24, 2019, capturing the milestone first win for the Charger SRT Hellcat body and his third victory at Wild Horse Motorsports Pass in the last five years.
Hagan and his Sandvik Coromant/Mopar crew led by crew chief Dickie Venables were on a mission in the second race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello campaign. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team earned the provisional pole Friday when conditions were extremely difficult and continued getting stronger with every run over the course of the weekend, including in his 55th career final appearance which resulted in the two-time NHRA Funny Car champion defeating reigning NHRA champion J.R. Todd.
Earning the historic triumph for the Charger SRT Hellcat has been the goal for Hagan since first making laps using the new Hellcat body last season. Two weeks ago in the season opener, Hagan qualified fourth and lost in the first round, but in Phoenix he wasn’t going to be denied. Hagan defeated Phil Burkart, Shawn Langdon and Bob Tasca III to reach his fourth career Phoenix final where he stormed down the track for the seventh consecutive time and his run of 3.890 ET was more than enough to defeat the tire-smoking Todd. The victory was the 30th of Hagan’s career.
Hagan wasn’t the only Dodge//SRT Mopar driver that made a run to the finals in Phoenix, as Leah Pritchett continued her success at the track. The driver of the Mopar Dodge Top Fuel dragster for DSR was seeking her third NHRA Arizona Nationals triumph in the last four years. After qualifying seventh, Pritchett was business-like early in eliminations, posting three consecutive runs in the 3.70s (seconds), taking out Cameron Ferre, Terry McMillen and Antron Brown to reach her 14th career final and first-ever matchup with Billy Torrence. Unfortunately, her shot at career win number eight went up in smoke when her machine lost traction just after launch and she coasted to the finish line.
Tommy Johnson, Jr. was celebrating the 30th anniversary of his NHRA nitro debut in Phoenix during the event. The driver of the Mopar-powered DSR Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat qualified fourth, but had trouble in both his first- and second-round appearances. His team overcame a broken axle in the first round, but Johnson lost a cylinder early in his second run and was knocked out by Todd.
Jack Beckman bounced back from a tough qualifying effort by racing the DSR Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to a first-round victory over Tim Wilkerson before coming up short against Bob Tasca III in the quarterfinals. Ron Capps narrowly lost his opening round match-up with John Force, despite making his second-best run of the weekend in the Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.
Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
In Stock Eliminator, Jon Irving from Boulder City, Nevada, drove his 1971 D/SA Dodge Demon 340 to a semifinal finish at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. In a tight matchup, Irving left the starting too early by 0.041 seconds and redlighted his chances away to his opponent. For advancing the furthest in competition, Irving took home the Dodge Top Finisher honors in Stock Eliminator.
Darcy Clarke from Alberta, Canada, drove his 1964 SS/EA Plymouth Savoy to the quarterfinals in Super Stock at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. During this round eliminations, Clarke had dialed a 9.74 ET but ran a 9.737 and lost on a breakout by a mere 0.003 seconds. Powered by a Mopar 426 cubic-inch Max Wedge V8, Clarke collected the Dodge Top Finisher in Super Stock.
The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.
Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes
Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America; Head of Parts & Service (Mopar), FCA – North America
“Congratulations to Matt Hagan and his entire team on making history today by claiming the first victory in our Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body. This is a great early-season win for Dodge//SRT and Mopar, and we hope it’s the first of many this year for our brands and for Don Schumacher Racing.”
Matt Hagan, Sandvik Coromant/Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.881 ET)
Rd.1: (.081-second reaction time, 3.919 seconds at 324.12 mph) beat No. 15 Phil Burkart (.150/5.662/126.26)
Rd.2: (.084/3.894/327.19) beat No. 7 Shawn Langdon (.060/3.951/326.48)
Rd.3: (.092/3.921/321.96) beat No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.054/3.983/320.13)
Rd.4: (.048/3.890/325.06) beat No. 5 J.R. Todd (.077/No Time)
“This is huge because it’s the first win with the new Hellcat body. Mopar put so much into designing this new body, and it’s great to be able to put it in the winner’s circle for them.
“Hats off to Dickie Venables. The guy won the race, that’s for sure. He had a race car underneath me that was going down the race track every lap. That gave me a lot of confidence. He gave me the car to win; this Wally goes to him for sure, as well as my entire team. To be able to drive for Don (Schumacher) for 10 years and be able to win 30 races is awesome. It’s pretty cool, out of DSR’s 150 Funny Car wins, I have 30 of them. It just goes to show you I’ve been put around really good people, and talented crew chiefs that work hard. Dickie is one of the best out here and I’m really glad to have him in our corner.”
Leah Pritchett, Mopar Dodge Top Fuel Dragster
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.744 ET)
Rd.1: (.109-second reaction time, 3.722 seconds at 329.67 mph) beat No. 10 Cameron Ferre (.098/4.263/207.82)
Rd.2: (.072/3.731/308.64) beat No. 2 Terry McMillen (.072/5.011/146.69)
Rd.3: (.052/3.721/332.10) beat No. 3 Antron Brown (.070/3.763/325.85)
Rd.4: (.071/9.568/75.68) lost to No.1 Billy Torrence (.073/3.965/326.40)
“We are extremely proud of the momentum this Mopar team has been able to create here in Phoenix. We consider this weekend a win. We had a such a consistent car today in the first three rounds and unfortunately, we had some traction issues in the final. To really compare how we are now, compared to where we were to start the season has us all really excited about heading to Gainesville. I couldn’t be more proud of this team. Not only their hard work, but literally their attitude. They’ve had to go through so much to get everything right and I’m extremely impressed. I am so happy with the direction that we are going and looking forward to being able to push a little more.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 4 Qualifier – 3.911 ET)
Rd.1: (.102-second reaction time, No Time) beat No. 13 Jim Campbell (.103/No Time/Central Line Foul)
Rd.2: (.059/5.048/134.74) lost to No. 5 J.R. Todd (.052/3.967/323.27)
“It was a rough day. Two separate back-to-back problems happening in the same day. I thought we had a really good Hellcat today. It was actually running well before the axle broke. It shows you what kind of team we have. To come back from that and make it back up for second round. It just a shame we had a totally unrelated issue and were not able to make the run we were hoping to. We’ve got two weeks off. We’ll head back to the shop, regroup and come out in Gainesville swinging.”
Ron Capps, Pennzoil Synthetics/NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 9 Qualifier – 3.951 ET)
Rd.1: (.078-second reaction time, 3.968 seconds at 319.98 mph) lost to No. 8 John Force (.076/3/3.933/317.19)
“Today was a product of where we qualified. Anytime you have to race a good car like John Force’s car, it’s going to be tough. Even our losing first-round run probably would have won six of those other matchups that session. This weekend has been a little bit of a struggle for us. This sport is about tackling the next thing thrown at you and (crew chief)Rahn Tobler is always so good at that. We had a couple of issues with the race car, and we’re still trying to feel out this new 2019 DSR chassis. I love this new Hellcat body, and I’m still trying to get used to it as well.”
Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 14 Qualifier – 5.022 ET)
Rd.1: (.096-second reaction time, 3.901 seconds at 321.03 mph) beat No. 3 Tim Wilkerson (.173/4.736/168.41)
Rd.2: (.076/3.963/321.73) lost to No. 6 Bob Tasca III (.073/3.950/321.96)
“Losing is always frustrating. I feel like we had the better car and we lost to (Bob) Tasca by half a car length out there. The silver lining is, we didn’t have the better car going into first round, and our guys put their heads together and came up with a great tune-up and we went right down the less-preferred lane and got a win light against Tim Wilkerson. At the end of the day, you take your lessons, you take your lumps and you move on. I’m hoping it was just a case where we might have lost the battle here. We’re heading into the 50th[WU1] annual Gatornationals as the defending champion, hopefully that will help us win the war.”
Up Next: NHRA Gatornationals
Mopar and Dodge//SRT competitors will head next to the 50th annual NHRA Gatornationals, March 14-17 at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. Defending Gatornationals Funny Car champion Jack Beckman and three-time Gatornationals winner Ron Capps look to get their first triumph of 2019 in one of the biggest events on the schedule.