Mopar/Rocky Boots team with Hagan continues farther west on NHRA Western Swing
BROWNSBURG, Ind. - The second stop on the three-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series' annual Western Swing is this weekend at the 29th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals near San Francisco, and getting back to sea level will be welcomed by Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team.
The Swing started last weekend near Denver at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals where Hagan and the Dickie Venables-led Mopar/Rocky Boots team finished in the quarterfinals at one of the most challenging events of the season.
"That's a tough one and we're glad it's behind us," Hagan said. "You change so much to race there and now the guys have to change everything back before driving 1,000-miles to the next one. It's a pretty tough stretch for everyone."
This weekend the series heads farther west to Sonoma Raceway where Hagan has one runner-up finish in his Funny Car career that includes two world championships.
"Going to Sonoma is always something that we look forward to," Hagan said. "It's a very nice facility and the track produces some great runs because of the weather. We haven't been able to pull down a win there just yet but I have all the confidence in the world in Dickie and this team that we can pick up a trophy there."
Only four races remain before the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff that begins in September near Charlotte. Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane team have scored two event titles and two poles this season and are currently ranked fourth in Mello Yello standings.
"We're looking for consistency right now," Hagan said. "That's key. If you have a consistent racecar it gives you confidence. We've got a few more races to get this beast figured out before it's on for the championship. Dickie has a game plan and I have a lot of confidence in him. He's making the right calls, making the right decisions and with a little bit of luck on our side we will be turning on win lights."
The NHRA Sonoma Nationals kicks off with nitro qualifying at 5:15 p.m. Friday and Sunday's championship eliminations will be broadcast live on FOX national network on Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
MATT HAGAN: Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Last event Denver, July 22-24: Qualified No. 7, lost in second round to John Force
A year ago at Sonoma: Qualified No. 2, lost in second round to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Career at Sonoma: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2012); Poles 2 (2009, 2013)
Pts Events Wins Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2016 4th 14 2 0 2 4 4 2 0 20-12
CAREER 182 20 19 25 59 55 23 4 245-157
Best Time, Speed: 3.862 sec. (nat'l record, quickest ever, 2016, Topeka); 335.57 (nat'l record, fastest ever 2016, Topeka)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
Through 14 of 24 events, wins in parenthesis; DSR DRIVERS IN CAPS
1. RON CAPPS (4) 1,120 -----
2. Courtney Force (1) 998 -122
3. JACK BECKMAN (1) 976 -144
4. MATT HAGAN (2) 881 -239
5. Robert Hight (1) 877 -243
5. Del Worsham 877 -243
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 855 -265
8. John Force (1) 821 -299
9. Tim Wilkerson (2) 793 -327
10. Alexis DeJoria (1) 733 -387