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  • Writer's pictureNick Cavanaugh @Car_Sick_Nick

Hagan Eliminated Early Yet Keeps Funny Car Points Lead

Hagan, winner at the Gatornationals, Winternationals, Four-Wide Nationals and Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals, lost to eventual race winner Tim Wilkerson in the opening round

Coming off the excitement of winning last week’s #Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals, Matt Hagan was on an “emotional high” entering this weekend’s Flav-R-Pac #NHRA Northwest Nationals with his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car.


Unfortunately, Hagan’s winning streak the previous week at Denver ended quickly Sunday when the three-time NHRA World Funny Car champion smoked the tires in the first round of eliminations at Pacific Raceways. Hagan, a four-time 2023 NHRA national event winner, lost to eventual race winner Tim Wilkerson, 3.928 to 5.068.


Despite the early round defeat, Hagan remains the Funny Car points leader with a 17-point advantage as the NHRA Camping World drag racing series travels to Sonoma Raceway in Northern California next weekend, July 28-30, for the DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals.


“There are some weekends where things are just off, and this was one of them,” said Hagan. “It makes you appreciate when things go well. I hate that we didn’t have a great weekend for Dodge between Leah and myself. It was a tricky race track out there. One thing I do know is that I have one of the smartest crew chiefs out there in Dickie Venables. He’ll figure out whatever is wrong, and it won’t be long before we’re back on top having a good run at it. We usually do pretty well in Seattle, so it was surprising a little bit. I’m excited about going to Sonoma now.”


Hagan’s TSR teammate, Leah Pruett, the recent Summit Nationals Top Fuel champion in the TSR Dodge SRT Direct Connection dragster, also lost in the first round in a very close race with Mile-High National winner Clay Millican, 3.763 to 3.765.


Pruett, an 11-time NHRA national event winner in Top Fuel, held her third position in the NHRA Camping World Top Fuel points with one race remaining in the three-event “Western Swing.” .


“Coming up on the short side of another extremely close race first round is where our patience and work ethic get tested,” said Pruett. “The sting is sharp and the frustration of how to get better as a driver is thick, but the perseverance of this team to keep digging together out of this hole is the prevailing attitude and direction we have.”


Qualifying at Sonoma Raceway will be Friday, July 28, at 8 p.m. and 11:10 p.m. EDT and Saturday, July 29, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT. Sunday’s eliminations will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT.


Coverage of next week’s action at Sonoma Raceway is set for Friday, July 28, with qualifying at 4:30 p.m. EDT on FS2 and Saturday, July 29, at 2:30 p.m. EDT on FS1. Final eliminations are scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT Sunday on the FOX Network.

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