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Hagan fouls out of Traxxas Shootout but performance of Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge provides confidence heading to eliminations in U.S. Nationals

Matt Hagan NHRA U.S. Nationals Qualifying Report


hagen plateBROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 6, 2015) – Matt Hagan gets excited every time he straps into his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T. But he may have been too excited for Sunday’s Traxxas Shootout first round at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis.

Matt left before the green light and fouled out, ending their chance of winning the $100,000 payout for the specialty race.

The silver lining on Sunday was the team’s 4.023-second lap at 315 mph on that run in the Dodge tuned by crew chief Dickie Venables, which was the best elapsed time of the day and improved them to qualify eighth in the 16-car field for Monday’s U.S. Nationals eliminations.

Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan

“Dickie is doing a great job getting the tune-up together in this hot weather,” Matt said. “That was just very unfortunate to red light in the first round of the Traxxas Shootout, but you’re pushing. It was a long tree and the adrenaline is pumping. I was pumped up and got a little over center, but that 4.02 was great and got us solidly in the field for race day. We’ve got a great race car coming into Monday.”

Temperatures at the 61st annual U.S. Nationals event reached the mid-90s, some of the hottest conditions teams in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series have faced all season.

“We’ve been working on our hot weather setup and we’ve been trying to hone that. We’re racing in the heat tomorrow, but we know we need an all-around tune-up for the Countdown and Dickie is doing a great job getting it together for the last six races.”

The U.S. Nationals marks the final event of the regular season before the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff that begins in two weeks near Charlotte. But Matt has one thing to check off his list before he shifts his focus to earning his second consecutive and third world championship of his career.

“Everybody wants to win Indy,” he said. “You never want to walk away from your driving career and without winning Indy. They’re all hard to get, but we want to knock this one off our bucket list. The competition out here in Funny Car is fiercer than any of the other pro classes.”

The opening round of Monday’s Labor Day eliminations will be a highlight of how tough Funny Car competition is when Matt will take on Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

FIRST ROUND: No. 5 RON CAPPS (4.033, 317.34) def. No. 4 John Force (4.148, 285.59); No. 7. Robert Hight (4.069, 313.80) def. No. 2. MATT HAGAN (redlight/4.023, 315.44); No. 1. JACK BECKMAN (4.052, 311.99) def. No. 8 Courtney Force (4.113, 314.09); No. 6 Tim Wilkerson (4.035, 317.19) def. No. 3. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (4.390, 276.41.
SEMIFINALS: BECKMAN (4.027, 314.09) def. CAPPS (4.122, 305.84); Hight (4.102, 305.56) def. Wilkerson (4.165, 302.82).
FINAL: BECKMAN (4.051, 309.06) def. Hight (4.138, 303.71)

No. 1 qualifier: Jack Beckman (Don Schumacher Racing), 3.936 sec., 323.74; track records

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane/ Rocky Boots 2015 Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 8
First round opponent: Ron Capps
SUNDAY: 4.023, 315.44, (Session 4); 4.897, 161.19, (Session 5)
SATURDAY: 4.954, 152.95, (Session 2); 4.153, 237.46, (Session 3)
FRIDAY: rained out, (Session 1)
About the Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product but truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is FCA’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 130 markets, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for FCA vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at

About Rocky Brands
Rocky Brands, Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of premium quality footwear and apparel marketed under a portfolio of well recognized brand names including Rocky®, Georgia Boot®, Durango®, Lehigh® and the licensed brand Michelin® Footwear. Rocky Brands is proud to supply footwear to the United States military. For more information, visit

About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., fields seven professional NHRA teams. In Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Matco Tools dragster driven by Antron Brown and the Sandvik Coromant/Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher dragster driven by Khalid alBalooshi; and in Funny Car, 2011 and 2014 world champion Matt Hagan in the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, 2012 NHRA world champion Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Make-A-Wish Dodge driven by Tommy Johnson Jr.

DSR has won 261 NHRA national event titles and 13 world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at, on Twitter at @shoeracing and