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Hagan Muscles Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car to Nevada Nationals Win; Remains in the Hunt for the Funny Car Championship Heading into NHRA Finals

  • Matt Hagan drove his No. 2 qualified Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car to the Nevada Nationals Winner’s Circle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to keep his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) team in the hunt for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) World Championship with one playoff event remaining
  • Two holeshot wins were key in sending Hagan to an important final elimination round with important championship implications against the Funny Car championship leader and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight.
  • The three-time Funny Car world champion earned his fourth win of the season and 43rd of his career by defeating the class leader Hight whom he now trails by 63 points heading into the points-and-a-half NHRA Finals at Pomona
  • TSR pilot Leah Pruett qualified her Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel dragster 11th but had loss of traction at half-track in the opening round resulted in an early exit
October 30, 2022,  Las Vegas, Nevada - From the No. 2 position on the eliminations ladder at the Nevada Nationals, Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Matt Hagan muscled his Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car to the winner’s circle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to earn a fourth win this season and his first of the playoffs to keep his first-year team in the hunt for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) World Championship.

“Congratulations to Matt Hagan for capturing an important win at the Nevada Nationals,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. “It was another outstanding effort by Matt and his Tony Stewart Racing crew to get the most performance out of their Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and take home their fourth victory this season. What a great representation of what performance enthusiasts can expect from the Dodge lineup of vehicles and Direct Connection performance parts.”

Hagan started his race day from second place spot on the eliminations ladder and with a little Vegas luck on his side against No. 15 seed Steven Densham. After his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat had the advantage on the start, it dropped some cylinders early but Hagan kept on the throttle until he lost power and coasted across the finish line with a slim 0.0032-second margin of victory to move on to the quarterfinals.
He then took advantage of the opportunity to advance with a good side-by-side drag race against No. 10 seed Chad Green and drove the Dodge Power Brokers machine to a strong 3.909-second lap at 331.77 mph for the round win ahead of his competitor’s 3.940 sec./ 320.20 mph effort.
That set up a semifinal matchup against No. 3 seed Bob Tasca III that provided an exciting battle that began with the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat launching first with a 0.040-sec. reaction time (RT) and running a 3.924 sec/330.07 mph to beat a 0.063-sec RT and 3.904 sec./328.86 mph lap.
Hagan’s two holeshot wins were key in sending him to an important final elimination round with important championship implications against the Funny Car championship points leader and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight. The Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car launched first and its driver never looked back on the way to turning on the win light with a 3.896 sec./330.23 mph to earn his 43rd career victory and take home a fourth Wally trophy from the Nevada Nationals in six years.
Hagan’s win comes on the heels of a playoff performance through five of the Countdown’s six events that includes three semifinal performances and two back-to-back final rounds appearances to keep his championship hopes alive.
While the three-time Funny Car world champion remains third in the playoff standings, the win over Hight cuts his deficit to 63 points from the leader heading into the points-and-a-half NHRA Finals at Pomona and two markers from fellow contender Ron Capps in second place.
In Top Fuel action, TSR’s Leah Pruett and the Dodge Power Brokers dragster qualified with a solid 3.716 sec./ 331.69 mph effort that put them in the 11th position for eliminations to set up an opening round match-up with No. 6 seed Mike Salinas. Pruett had a good run going to the dragstrip’s halfway point until the tires lost traction and she tried to pedal it to regain control. A flash of fire ended any chance of catching Salinas and extending her race day. 
Sitting just outside the Top Fuel top-ten, Pruett and her crew will head to the NHRA finals looking for a good result to close out their first season together in which they earned a win at the Dodge Power Brokers Mile-High Nationals in Denver and No. 1 qualifier honors at Sonoma. 
Defending Funny Car Nevada Nationals winner Cruz Pedregon came into race day at Las Vegas ninth in points and qualified 13th with his Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. After an early exit in the first round against J.R. Todd, the Cruz Pedregon Racing team is already focused on making performance gains and preparing for next season after not being involved in this year’s championship battle. 
The NHRA Finals, the last of six NHRA “Countdown to the Championship” playoff events, will take place Nov. 11-13 at Fairplex in Pomona, California. FS1 will broadcast a qualifying highlights show on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. ET and then begin race day coverage at 4 p.m. ET to conclude with the crowning of 2022 NHRA World Champions.


Leah Pruett, Tony Stewart Racing Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster  
(No. 11  Qualifier – 3.716 seconds at 331.69 mph) 

Round 1: (0.117-second reaction time, 4.375 seconds at 173.18 mph) loss to No. 6 Mike Salinas (0.062/3.723/329.58)

“I always get amped up for Mike (Salinas). I didn’t to a stellar job on the line today and almost double-stepped it up there. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people and that’s exactly what we are. Our Dodge Power Brokers team is going to figure this out and keep going and focus on what we can do in Pomona. It felt like two race days for Tony (Stewart) and I. For him to go two rounds on Saturday was phenomenal. The NHRA is a very challenging sport and he understands that and appreciates it. All of the competitors have been so supportive of him being out here and he is just as supportive of us, no matter what is happening.” 

Matt Hagan, Tony Stewart Racing Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 2 Qualifier – 3.862 seconds at 330.23 mph)

Round 1: (0.089-second reaction time, 4.123 seconds at 254.62 mph) defeated No. 15 Steven Densham (0.094/4.121/275.00)
Round 2: (0.075/3.909/331.77) defeats No. 10 Chad Green (0.063/3.940/320.20)
Round 3: (0.040/3.924/330.07) defeats No. 3 Bob Tasca III (0.063/3.904/328.86)
Round 4: (0.049/3.896/330.23) defeats No. 1 Robert Hight (0.054/6.157/111.12)

“(Crew Chief) Dickie Venables, Mike Nnutson and Alex Conaway, those guys are making some real power with this Dodge Power Brokers cars. It's running strong. They're putting a great hot rod underneath me. It's kind of cool to come out here on Sunday and win on two holeshots and give my team that little extra bump of what we needed to keep going. Sometimes you gotta be a little lucky and sometimes you gotta be a little good.”

“We just gotta keep digging and working hard. Robert (Hight) is a tough customer. We're gonna give all we got. We've had two good races going to the final in Dallas and then the win here.  We actually have a new combo that we're working with that they threw in there last night for the last run. I'm excited about what we found and how the car's running and what we're doing. I do feel the momentum building back up. I feel like these are our type of races, our type of conditions. I've done really, really well and won at Pomona a bunch. We don't have anything to lose. We have to throw down and we have to scoop up as many points as we can and we have to be aggressive.

Cruz Pedregon, Cruz Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 13 Qualifier – 3.945 seconds at 318.77 mph)

Round 1: (0.115-second reaction time, 3.992 seconds at 281.54 mph) loss to No. 4 J.R. Todd (0.058/3.944/328.54)

“What happened today was a prime example of what happens when you qualify 13th; You go up against a car that you know you're gonna have to have your best stuff to compete and we just got it handed to us. The car moved over on me a little bit, I saw the DHL car (J.R. Todd) out ahead so I didn't run it all the way to the end because we got the data we needed. I think this weekend was just growing pains for us. We made just one out of four qualifying runs and we need to be on the other side of that. We're just gonna take our lumps and, and move on to Pomona.

“We're in the development stages for 2023, so the good news is that our car went down the track and it was a competitive run. We’re still very optimistic and we’re really changing everything about the car like the clutch and the way we run the motor. We're gonna test Monday and just get ready for Pomona. we're gonna roll out at Pomona really ready to go. It’s my home track and we want to end the year on a high note for Snap-on, Dodge and all the partners that support us. 
“I think we have a good shot at six or seven (in the championship) still with points-and-a-half at Pomona. It gives us an opportunity to right some of the wrongs we've had this year. We're all about trying to finish as high as we can in the points.”

Following the Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Robert Hight 2592 (8)
2.  Ron Capps: 2531 (5)
3.  Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 2529 (4)
4.  John Force: 2406 (1)
5.  Bob Tasca III: 2391(3)
6.  J.R. Todd: 2295
7. Tim Wilkerson: 2261
8. Alexis DeJoria: 2259 (1)
9. Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 2222
10. Blake Alexander: 2150
11. Jim Campbell: 2149
TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Brittany Force: 2468 (5)
2.  Justin Ashley: 2461 (3)
3.  Mike Salinas: 2402 (4)
4.  Antron Brown 2390 (3)
5. Steve Torrence: 2381 (2)
6. Austin Prock: 2342 (1)
7. Josh Hart: 2307 (1)
8. Shawn Langdon: 2290
9.  Doug Kalitta: 2284
10. Clay Millican: 2269
11. Tony Schumacher: 2224(1)
12. Leah Pruett (Dodge Power Brokers): 2211 (1)
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