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TSR Dodge//SRT Driver Hagan Captures Fourth NHRA Funny Car Championship, Teammate Pruett Takes Direct Connection Top Fueler to Pomona Final

  • Matt Hagan joined drag racing royalty Sunday in the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals at Pomona, California, driving his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car to a fourth career NHRA Camping World Championship
  • Hagan, who took the NHRA Winternationals title at Pomona in April, now matches John Force, Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein as the only four-time NHRA Funny Car champions
  • Hagan, a six-time 2023 NHRA national event winner, entered the final event of the 21-race series with a 15-point lead and advanced to the second round before a close defeat to Blake Alexander
  • Hagan’s championship challengers also lost in the second round, securing his fourth title after placing third (2022) and second (2021) in the standings the past two years
  • Hagan’s TSR teammate, Leah Pruett, advanced to the final round Sunday in her TSR Dodge//SRT Direct Connection Top Fuel dragster in a battle for the NHRA World Championship
  • Pruett, who began her drag racing career at age eight at Pomona, defeated former NHRA World Champions Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Steve Torrence to compete against Doug Kalitta in the final round
  • Pruett, who scored wins at Norwalk and Dallas this year, recorded a 3.720 to Kalitta’s 3.673 in the final round Sunday
  • With her runner-up finish, Pruett placed third in the final NHRA Top Fuel points standings
  • Follow Dodge in NHRA action at DodgeGarage.com
November 12, 2023,  Pomona, Calif. - Matt Hagan joined drag racing royalty Sunday at the NHRA In-N-Out Burger Finals when he secured his fourth career NHRA Camping World Funny Car championship in the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat machine.

Hagan, a six-time NHRA national event winner this year, joined legends John Force, Don Prudhomme and Kenny Bernstein as the only four-time Funny Car World Champions with his second-round finish in the final race in the 21-event NHRA national tour.

Leah Pruett, Hagan’s TSR teammate, nearly made it  a “double up” TSR Dodge//SRT championship for the Direct Connection team when she advanced to the final round against Doug Kalitta in a “winner takes the title” finale. Unfortunately, Pruett was defeated by Kalitta, 3.673 to a 3.720, earning the runner-up spot in the TSR Dodge//SRT Direct Connection Top Fuel dragster.

Hagan entered the season-ending race in Pomona, California, with a 15-point lead in the “Countdown” for the Funny Car title. After qualifying fourth (3.869 seconds) in the 16-car field, Hagan defeated Alex Laughlin in the opening round and lost a wild second round matchup with Blake Alexander in which both drivers smoked the tires. With his chief challengers – Bob Tasca III and Robert Hight – also losing in the second-round, Hagan notched his fourth World title and first for Tony Stewart Racing.

It was high drama for Hagan after his defeat to Alexander, as he had to watch with the title on the line as Hight lost to eventual race winner Chad Green, securing the Funny Car crown for Hagan. At the race conclusion, Hagan scored 2,628 points to Hight’s 2,616 and Tasca’s 2,611 in the season-long fight which began in March at the NHRA Gatornationals.

“What a season for Matt Hagan and his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat in the 2023 NHRA Camping World drag racing series!” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “In capturing six NHRA Funny Car races, Matt drove his Sublime TSR Direct Connection machine to his fourth NHRA World Championship. The TSR crew, led by Dickie Venables, Mike Knudson and Alex Conaway, has done a sensational job in giving Matt a strong machine all season. The Funny Car division in NHRA is so competitive and it takes experience, knowledge and consistency to claim a World title. Matt and his squad have shown all of those traits this year. The TSR Dodge//SRT Hellcat is a great example how our Dodge roster of machines and Direct Connection performance parts are a winning combination.”

“I was doing some praying today entering the race,” said Hagan after the race. “I hadn’t prayed to my mom since we lost her this year. And I said, ‘I don’t know what you are doing up there. But I sure could use some help today from you and my brother.’ You hate to see someone go out in the second round to win a championship. I don’t wish losing on anyone. That’s not my style of racing.

“But it was the body of work that we did all year with Dick Venables, Mike Knudson, Alex Conaway and the whole TSR Dodge Direct Connection team. We were in position to win the championship if everyone went out in the same round as us. And the cards fell that way for us. We won six races and twice were runner-up which should give you a good chance for the title. It’s incredible that Tony Stewart can be the World Champion in his second year in NHRA. He has put together an outstanding team. Some team owners have put in millions and millions of dollars in NHRA racing and never won a championship. It speaks volumes that the leader Tony is and the people he has assembled around him.”

“I’m so proud of Matt,” said Tony Stewart, TSR team owner. “He is one of the best cheerleaders for a racing team that I know. He never lets his crew guys get down. He makes my job so much easier as a car owner. He is my little, big brother. To lock this championship already in the Tony Stewart Racing Nitro history, this is an unbelievable day. And we had a chance with Leah’s team too. They did an awesome job as well. Thanks to everyone of our partners, crew, support workers and fans, we greatly appreciate all of the effort for the 2023 season.”  

Pruett, with victories at Norwalk and Dallas in 2023, proved to be a serious contender throughout the six-race “Countdown” and nearly scored her first NHRA Top Fuel title Sunday by defeating former World Champions Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown and Steve Torrence in the earlier rounds.

In the final, Pruett needed to defeat Doug Kalitta to clinch the championship, but she came up short with a 3.720 to Kalitta’s 3.673. Pruett finished third in the Top Fuel points behind Kalitta and Torrence.

“The Pomona finals has lived up to every ounce of being the Mac Daddy race,” said Pruett, who began her drag racing career at age eight at the Pomona track. “We had an opportunity to run for a championship in the final round. The pressure was on for everyone to make it to the final. We knew we had to get to the final round to win the championship. Racing Steve (Torrence), who I respect immensely, in the semifinals was huge. I continued to have laser focus and so did the team into our final round against Doug (Kalitta).

“I want it to be known that our heads are not low today as our TSR Dodge Direct Connection team performed like champions. Doug has deserved the title for a long time and today he earned it against us. I've never felt more deserving of my team as I did today. I'm proud to be the only Dodge car in that Top Fuel fight. And we went right down to the final race of the end for the championship. That’s all you can ask for as a racer.”

Hagan and all of the NHRA Camping World Champions will be honored Monday, Nov. 13, in the 2023 NHRA Camping World Awards Ceremony at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series will kick off March 7-10 with the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway.
 
@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers, competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

Dodge//SRT
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with a lineup that delivers unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.

Dodge drives forward as a pure performance brand, offering SRT Hellcat versions of the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango, as well as an R/T plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version of the all-new 2023 Dodge Hornet, representing the brand’s first-ever electrified performance vehicle. Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock; the 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world; and the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever; and best-in-class standard performance in the compact utility vehicle segment with the Dodge Hornet. Combined, these four muscle vehicles make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.

In 2022, the Dodge brand ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study (mass market), making it the only domestic brand ever to do so three years in a row. In 2020, Dodge was named the "#1 Brand in Initial Quality," making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). 

Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news, including daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis (NYSE: STLA).
  
Mopar
Mopar is the global name for Stellantis genuine parts and authentic accessories.

A simple combination of the words MOtor and PARts, Mopar offers exceptional service, parts and customer-care. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, Mopar has evolved over more than 85 years to represent both complete vehicle care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era with performance parts to enhance speed and handling for both on-road and racing use. Later, Mopar expanded to include technical service and customer support, and today integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.

Complete information on Mopar is available at www.mopar.com and the newly redesigned Mopar blog at www.blog.mopar.com

Follow Dodge, Mopar and Stellantis news and video on:

Company blog: blog.stellantisnorthamerica.com
Media website: media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
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DodgeGarage: www.dodgegarage.com
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Facebook: www.facebook.com/dodge and www.facebook.com/mopar
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