Matt Hagan continued his dominance at the NHRA New England Nationals, driving the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to his third consecutive Funny Car triumph at New England Dragway in Epping, New Hampshire. 

While Hagan became the third driver to score multiple wins this season in the Funny Car class, his DSR teammates Tommy Johnson, Jr., Ron Capps, and Jack Beckman placed Dodge//SRT Mopar in three of the top five positions in the Funny Car standings following the New England event. 

To score his 31st career Funny Car victory, Hagan was forced to take down the hottest competitors in the class. His run to victory started with a match-up versus fellow DSR and Charger SRT Hellcat pilot Beckman, who defeated Hagan in recent first round battles at Richmond and Topeka and would have again if the two-time Funny Car world champion wasn’t on his game. Hagan posted the quickest run of the weekend, a 3.958-second elapsed time (ET), to defeat a stout 4.016 run by Beckman. 

Two-time 2019 winner and fellow Dodge//SRT Mopar driver Capps was the competition in round two. Again, Hagan and his Dickie Venables-tuned Charger SRT Hellcat was up to the task with Hagan leaving first and never trailing, posting a run of 3.991 to advance and face Bob Tasca III. In the semifinal, Tasca left first, but Hagan had the lead almost instantly and drove away for his 11th straight round win at Epping and 350th round win of his career to reach his 57th career final and fourth in 2019. 

The two-time Funny Car champion was not going to be denied,and his .033-second reaction time in the final was proof. Hagan powered his way to victory over Shawn Langdon with a winning pass of 4.014/322.81 to notch his 12 consecutive round win at the Epping track. 

The triumph for Hagan was the fifth win by a Dodge//SRT Mopar machine in the last six years at New England Dragway in the Funny Car class and fifth by a driver of a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in 2019 competition.

Two-time NHRA New England Nationals champion Capps was on a mission to take his red, white and blue Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for a long Sunday drive after three consistent qualifying runs that landed the 2016 Funny Car world champion third on the elimination ladder. He flexed his muscle dispatching Mike Smith in the first round posting the first three-second run of the weekend with his pass of 3.980 to set up a second round battle with Hagan. In the race pitting winners of four of the previous five Funny Car Wally’s in Epping, Capps trailed slightly off the starting line and was on a good run before drifting toward the centerline near mid-track, forcing him to click off the run.

Beckman and his DSR Infinite Hero Foundation team have been the model of consistency over the past five races, advancing to a pair of finals and five consecutive semifinals. The 2012 Funny Car world champion used his first qualifying pass Friday to grab the 11th position on Sunday’s elimination ladder and made his best run of the weekend in his first round matchup with Hagan, but he wasn’t able to knock off his DSR teammate and advance.

For the second consecutive event, Johnson qualified his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat eighth in the field and faced Tim Wilkerson in the first round. Johnson, who was chasing his second 2019 victory and first-ever at Epping, lost traction early and was not able to recover to extend his recent run of five semifinal appearances in the previous six races.

In other round action with Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Cars competing, Jim Campbell lost in round one to Shawn Langdon, while Cruz Pedregon advanced to round two before being eliminated by Tasca.  

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Sportsman Spotlight
Richard Kay from East Meadow, New York, drove his SS/BM 1969 Plymouth Valiant to a Super Stock runner-up finish at the NHRA New England Nationals. Powered by a 376 cubic-inch Mopar V8 engine, Kay raced his way through six rounds of competition to reach the finals. Kay is a prior recipient of the Dodge Top Finisher award.

In Stock Eliminator, John Shaul from Fultonham, New York, advanced to the third round with his A/SA 1964 Plymouth Fury, joining Kay as a Dodge Top Finisher honoree at Epping. Consistent low 10-second elapsed-times powered by his Mopar 426 Max Wedge V8 under the hood enabled Shaul’s Plymouth to turn on a pair of win lights.

The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its third year, awards $500 to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler, or Plymouth race car at all 24 NHRA national events.

Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: Notes & Quotes

Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care, FCA – North America
“Matt Hagan’s victory today marks his third straight in New England and the fifth overall this season by a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver. Hats off to Matt and the entire Don Schumacher Racing organization on delivering our brands yet another triumphant weekend at the drag strip.”

Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 6 Qualifier – 4.051 ET)

Rd.1: (.070-second reaction time, 3.958 seconds at 326.24 mph) beat No. 11 Jack Beckman  (.060/4.016/322.04)
Rd. 2: (.056/3.991/325.22) beat No. 3 Ron Capps (.090/4.101/262.64)
Rd. 3: (.071/4.000/) beat No. 2 Bob Tasca III (.067/4.478/219.12)
Rd. 4: (.033/4.014/322.81) beat No. 5 Shawn Langdon (.055/4.046/317.49)

“I’m really excited that we were able to pull down another win for Mopar in this Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. We needed this race to be a turning point for our season. You want to have that momentum going into the Western Swing, and then Indy and the Countdown. With this new combination we have, I feel like we’re making the right steps to move forward.

“It seems like I’ve had my teammates the past six races in a row. We can’t get away from them first round and they’re the hardest to get around and beat. I have so much respect for them; the drivers, the crew chiefs and the caliber of their cars. They’re always tough. I went through two teammates and Tasca, three really hard cars, to get to the final. My guys were flawless putting the car together today and I’m really proud of (crew chief) Dickie Venables and Mike Knudsen and the decisions they were making together today. We didn’t just get lucky; the car went down the race track every single time.”

Ron Capps, NAPA Batteries Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 3 Qualifier – 4.039 ET)

Rd.1: (.087-second reaction time, 3.980 seconds at 315.19 mph) beat No. 14 Mike Smith (.124/7.299/84.21)
Rd.2: (.090/4.101/262.64) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.056/3.991/325.22)

“We have a great race car. One good thing about our performance is that we put a target on our backs. Any time we go up there we have to be at our very best, because we put that pressure on other teams and it’s great. If you look at qualifying here in New England, to make all three runs between a 4.03 and 4.05 and gain five bonus points, that’s the kind of consistency we are used to having. It just hurts a little more to go down on race day, because we really felt like we had a consistent car and I really felt like we had a car that could rounds today.” 

Tommy Johnson Jr., Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 8 Qualifier – 4.069 ET)

Rd.1: (.069-second reaction time, 4.559 seconds at 186.38 mph) lost to No. 9 Tim Wilkerson (.073/4.259/233.72)

“You’ll have a tough weekend now and then, and I’m glad it’s now instead of later in the season. We’ll learn from this and try and make the car better. I thought we had a good handle on it, but we never seemed to hit our stride this weekend. But, we’ll regroup and move on to Denver and hopefully start the Western Swing off on a strong note.”

Jack Beckman, Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car
(No. 11 Qualifier – 4.117 ET)

Rd.1: (.060-second reaction time, 4.016 seconds at 322.04 mph) lost to No. 6 Matt Hagan (.070/3.958/326.24)

“We qualified in the bottom half of the field. I’m not making excuses, but that rained out Q4 may have hurt us more than any other team. We had tried some stuff and wanted to go back to our combo for that final session, but we didn’t get the opportunity. We got a big dog, our teammate Matt Hagan, in the first round and we go out there and lay down the quickest losing time of the round. That gets you nothing. It’s frustrating to end our hot streak, but I don’t know that we ended it. We just suffered an early-round exit today. We still know that we have a great Hellcat. The guys will take a week off, go back and freshen up our parts and we are going to come out swinging at Denver.”

Up Next: Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil    
In two weeks, Dodge//SRT Mopar NHRA stars head west to begin the three-race Western Swing with the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presentedowered by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, set for July 19 -21.

Now in its 31st year of FCA US sponsorship, the weekend begins with the 18th annual Mopar Big Block Party Presented by Pennzoil on Thursday, July 18, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Golden, Colorado. Leah Pritchett leads the HEMI-powered drivers and teams back into action in the Rocky Mountains, looking for a second consecutive victory aboard her Mopar Dodge1320 “Angry Bee” Top Fuel dragster.

2019 NHRA Championship — Point Standings After Round 13 of 24
(Season Wins in Parentheses)

NHRA Funny Car
1.  Robert Hight (4) – 1,079
2.  John Force – 903
3.  Tommy Johnson, Jr., Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (1) – 891
4.  Ron Capps, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 870
5.  Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – 851

6.  J.R. Todd (1) – 825
7.  Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (2) – 770
7.  Bob Tasca III (1) – 770
9.  Tim Wilkerson – 691
10.  Shawn Langdon (1) – 675

NHRA Top Fuel
1. Steve Torrence (7) – 1278
2.  Doug Kalitta (1) –  799
3.  Antron Brown – 781
4. Brittany Force (1) –777
5.  Mike Salinas (2) – 732
6.  Clay Millican – 730
7.  Leah Pritchett, Mopar HEMI – 651
8.  Richie Crampton (1) – 612
9.  Terry McMillen – 576
10. Scott Palmer 563