By Patrick Rall
After qualifying in the top spot for this past weekend’s Toyota Summernationals in Englishtown New Jersey, Matt Hagan roared through the field for his second win of the season. This win allowed Hagan to take top spot in the Funny Car championship standings as the season nears its halfway point.
Matt Hagan and his Mopar Magnetti Marelli Dodge Charger got off to a great start this past weekend, turning a top qualifying time of 4.050 at 315.64 miles per hour. After being the quickest and fastest Funny Car in qualifying, Hagan watched others throughout the 16 car field turn in quicker times than he did including his second round run against fellow Mopar racer Johnny Gray where Gray actually made it down the track in less time but Hagan was able to win the race thanks to a great reaction time. Hagan also beat Blake Alexander (also in a Charger) in round 1 and Tim Wilkerson in round 3 before squaring off with fellow Mopar racer Jack Beckman in the finals.
Beckman had qualified in the 3rd spot with his Valvoline Charger, knocking off Chad Head in round 1, Cruz Pedregon in round 2 and Del Worsham in round 3 en route to the final run against top qualifier Hagan. Due to Hagan dropping a cylinder yet managing the win in round 3, Beckman had lane choice in the finals.
Jack Beckman got out first with a starting line advantage of just 0.009 seconds but before the two cars reached the 60 foot mark – Hagan had pulled into the lead and he never looked back. Hagan ran a 4.112 at 308 miles per hour to Beckman’s 4.182 at 303.98. Hagan’s second win of the season moved him into the top spot in the race for the championship – 44 points ahead of fellow Mopar racer Johnny Gray. Ron Capps is in the 4th spot (145 points behind Hagan) and Jack Beckman is 5th (146 points back).
In total, there were 7 Dodge Chargers in the Funny Car class. Joining Beckman and Hagan were Ron Capps, Blake Alexander, Jeff Arend, Paul Lee and Johnny Gray. Ron Capps qualified 11th and lost the first round to Cruz Pegradon. Jeff Arend qualified 12th and lost in the first round to Bob Tasca III. Paul Lee qualified 16th and lost in the first round to Del Worsham. As mentioned above, Blake Alexander lost in the first round to Hagan and Johnny Gray lost to Hagan in the second round after beating Courtney Force in the first round.