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  • Writer's pictureNick Cavanaugh @Car_Sick_Nick

Matt Hagan Advances to Funny Car Final Aiming to Defend his Title

The four-time NHRA World Champion set to compete against the legendary John Force in the final round of the Winternationals final round April 5-7

Matt Hagan, the reigning champion of the NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals, showcased his exceptional skills behind the wheel of his Johnson Horsepowered Garage Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car. Despite the unfortunate interruption caused by rain and hailstorms, Hagan's performance was nothing short of remarkable.

Hagan was determined to secure his back-to-back victory in a thrilling showdown against the iconic John Force. However, Mother Nature had other plans as storms rolled in, compelling NHRA officials to reschedule the final round of competition to the Arizona Nationals in Chandler, Ariz. on April 5-7.

Even with the challenges posed by the weather, Hagan remained the favorite going into Sunday's eliminations. He showcased his prowess by defeating Buddy Hull, Jeff Diehl, and J.R. Todd in the three rounds leading up to the final against Force. The Dickie Venables-tuned machine consistently delivered strong runs, recording times of 3.909, 3.899, and 3.939.

Although the championship rounds were postponed due to the storms, Hagan's performance was a testament to his skill and determination. Fans can eagerly anticipate the rescheduled Arizona Nationals in Chandler, Ariz., where Hagan will undoubtedly continue to showcase his championship-winning abilities.

“We didn’t leave here a loser today, so that’s a good thing,” Hagan shared. “It will be challenging going into the Pomona final at Phoenix now. We had set up the car for the Pomona track and will have to make adjustments at Phoenix to race Force for the Winternationals title. But that’s what we’re going to do. The weather made things difficult to finish in Pomona, so I understand the NHRA’s decision. We will go to Phoenix and hopefully get a few runs under our belt and put forth our best effort to win the race there and do well in qualifying. It’ll be a lot going on for the team, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Hagan is gearing up for the nitro qualifying at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, which will take place on Friday, April 5th at 4:30 p.m. PDT. There are also two more qualifying rounds scheduled for Saturday, March 23rd at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. PDT, with the final eliminations set for Sunday at 11 a.m. PDT.

Nick Cavanaugh | @Car_Sick_Nick | All Roads Lead to The Motor City


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