April 24, 2022 , Baytown, Texas - Matt Hagan powered his Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat to victory at the 35th and final National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park, giving Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) its second Funny Car Wally trophy of the team’s inaugural season in the Camping World Drag Racing Series.
It was Hagan’s 41st career win and his third final round appearance at the SpringNationals after earning his first career Funny Car victory in 2010 and a runner-up finish in 2019 at the Houston dragstrip which announced earlier this year that it would no longer host an event after the property was sold. 

“Congratulations to Matt Hagan and the Tony Stewart Racing team for charging to the win aboard the Dodge Power Brokers Funny Car at Houston,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. “It’s great to see Matt continue to perform at the level that enthusiasts have come to expect from Dodge//SRT performance and bring attention to what Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection can do for their rides.”

After securing the No. 8 qualifying position, Hagan kicked off eliminations against No. 9 qualifier John Force by taking the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat for a stout 3.954-second run at 325.77 mph run to turn on his first win light of the day and gain lane choice over No. 1 qualifier Ron Capps in the next round. 

Hagan had the early advantage against the defending Funny Car World Champion and fellow HEMI®-powered driver and, while his opponent smoked the tires, set the low elapsed timed run of the round to advance with lane choice over No. 13 seed J.R. Todd for their semifinal matchup. While Todd’s ride went up in smoke right at the hit, the Dodge Power Brokers Dodge Power Brokers and Direct Connection supported Funny Car powered to another strong and straight run to take the TSR team to a fourth consecutive final round and Hagan’s 75th career final round. 

The final showdown was a nail biter as Hagan battled closely with No. 11 seed and rookie driver Bobby Bode who was making his first career final round appearance. After Hagan had the quicker start, the two 11,000 horsepower nitro machines battled neck and neck with Bode leading slightly at the eighth-mile mark. Hagan retook the lead just as his opponent began to drop cylinders and then blew the supercharger and the body of his Funny Car into the air. Hagan crossed the finish with a 3.982-second elapsed time at 326.63 mph, his third consecutive 3.9-second run in a row, leaving no doubt about the consistency and winning performance of the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat.

The win was noteworthy as the final one at the venue but also because the team had extra incentive as Hagan’s ride carried a special decal this weekend to honor Houston native and Crew Chief Dickie Venables’s father, Dick Sr., who passed away in December. 

It was also TSR’s fourth final round appearance in five national events to maintain the lead in the Funny Car championship points standings following runner-up finishes at the Arizona Nationals in February and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas in early April, along with team’s first win at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

“Dickie (Venables) has been such a big part of this, and this is such a special event,” said Hagan. “I won my first race here in Houston with a pedal job and its crazy how history works. This is for Dickie and his dad in remembrance of him. We’re leading the points now and we’ve got a second win for Tony Stewart Racing. Our crew is doing a hell of a job.”

Sitting fourth in the Funny Car standings heading into Houston, Cruz Pedregon returned to the site of his first career nitro win as a rookie in 1992 by taking his Snap-on® "Makers and Fixers" Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the third quickest run of the first qualifying session with a repeat performance in the second session. He continued his string solid qualifying efforts this season by earning the No. 3 spot on the eliminations ladder for race day, his fourth top-five start in the first five national events.

His opening round opponent, No. 14 seed Paul Lee, had a quicker start but the Cruz Pedregon Racing Hellcat quickly took over lead and headed straight for the finish to turn on the win light. Staged next to No. 11 seed Bode in the quarterfinals, Pedregon launched first but saw the 20-year driver make the pass and race to the finish first, ending his run through eliminations at the last national event for the Houston track.

In Top Fuel action, TSR pilot Leah Pruett’s best qualifying effort of the weekend came in the final session as she wheeled her Dodge Power Brokers dragster to a stout 3.711-second pass at 329.26 mph to earn a bonus point for setting the third quickest run of the session. That put her in No. 7 spot on the eliminations ladder for Sunday’s SpringNationals where she would line up next to No. 10 seed Shawn Langdon for the opening round.

Pruett powered off the starting line first with a 0.052-second reaction time to her opponent’s 0.072-sec. start, but both lost traction early and pedaled their machines down the track look for the finish line. Unable to get her machine to hook up, Pruett couldn't reach the line first and saw her race day end prematurely.

The Dodge//SRT and Mopar supported drivers and teams will be back on track next weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, the sixth of 22 NHRA national events on the schedule this season.

ADDITIONAL NOTES and QUOTES: 

Leah Pruett, Dodge Power Brokers Top Fuel Dragster  
(No. 7 Qualifier – 3.711 seconds at 329.26 mph)
Round 1: (0.052-second reaction time, 4.973 seconds at 201.04 mph) loss to No. 10 Shawn Langdon (0.072, 4.774/197.48)

“Overall, we feel this has been a very generous weekend in the form of information that this team is accruing in order to find our window of performance. It was great to qualify seventh because there is a super tight field. We are just a couple of hundredths (of a second) behind. 

“Our challenge right now is that we backed the car up to where we thought it would get down the racetrack and it smoked in a very prime zone. I did not do a platinum job of pedaling the car. I have been working really hard on my reaction times and that is a huge win to be able to leave before Shawn (Langdon). In all of my 10 years of racing in Top Fuel, I have never been in a pedal situation like that where I pedaled it, smoked it, and Shawn was ahead of me. However, I see myself at about half track gaining on him and I am trying to look at the distance of the finish line and how much I am gaining on him. In my calculation process, he had gotten back ahead of me, but he wasn’t on a full pull. I couldn’t see that his parachute was out. It was a very weird anomaly of what happened to him in his lane. For me, I couldn’t get myself to pedal the car again at half-track and regain traction because it looked to me that I could already be gaining on him.
“It is a testament to our Dodge Mopar parts that stayed together during the run. While it didn’t put the win lights on, between our performance and our team’s visit with NASA and their engineers, we feel very inspired seeing all of their technology and that will help our team dig a little deeper. Everyone’s head is held very high. We get to go back to four-wide racing in just a couple of days and I am excited about that. We have a hot rod and I can’t wait to put it back on the track.”

Matt Hagan, Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car  
(No. 8 Qualifier – 3.924 seconds at 329.34 mph)
Round 1: (0.056-second reaction time, 3.954 seconds at 325.77 mph) defeats No. 9 John Force (0.033/4.010/328.06)
Round 2: (0.051/3.933/326.87) defeats No. 1 Ron Capps (0.073/8.017/95.44)
Round 3: (0.077/3.937/323.97) defeats No. No. 13 J.R. Todd (0.051/10.851/81.82)
Round 4: (0.058/3.982/326.63) defeats No. 11 Bobby Bode (0.074/4.046/282.95)

“First of all, Bob and (driver) Bobby Bode are doing a great job. That kid is doing a great job driving and I am super proud of him. We need youngsters like that coming up in the sport. I hated to rain on his parade for his birthday weekend. That is drag racing though. I am here to do a job and to win. 

“It was so special for Dickie Venables (crew chief) to have his whole family here for the win, following his dad’s passing at the end of last year. Dick Venables is a huge part of Dickie and what he has been able to accomplish in his career. It’s so special for Dickie to have that inspiration from his dad. This race means so much to me because I won my first race here in 2010. I got in on a pedal job and won on a pedal job. To close it out at Houston Raceway Park with a win and honor Dickie and his dad means a lot. It is a sad, sad thing, but we are going to end [the weekend] on a really good note. To be able to give Dickie and his family the trophy this weekend is massive. Dickie means so much to me and it’s so cool because racing is his life.

“To be able to come out of here with a win is huge. I’m excited that our Dodge Power Brokers car is running well. We’re the points leader and we’ve been to the final in four out of five races. We are making a statement this year. We got through a lot of heavy hitters today and there were no easy runs. All in all, it’s a really great weekend.”

Cruz Pedregon, Pedregon Racing Snap-on® Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
(No. 3 Qualifier – 3.881 seconds at 324.67 mph)
Round 1: (0.138-second reaction time, 3.925 seconds at 319.67 mph) defeats No. 14 Paul Lee (0.112/3.979/323.43)
Round 2: (0.073/4.030/318.69) loss to No. 11 Bobby Bode (0.083/3.991/315.05)

“The fifth race of the 2022 season has been solid for the Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and our nitro Funny Car team. We've still in fourth in points and we're hanging right in there. We went to the quarterfinals today, which was a strong effort. Obviously, we would have liked more, but we lost a little momentum there with the clutch no working like it was supposed to. We lost some half-track speed and our opponent, Bobby Bode, just went out there and made a nice run. We were low e.t in the first round with a 3.92, which was the best of the class but then we fell off more than we had anticipated. 

“We have qualified top five consistently. Our Hellcat is fast, it's consistent, but we just need to get a little race luck and make our own luck, but it was still a good race that today. Can't hang our heads. We're fourth in points, and we've always said we're a top five car and we're proven it after five events. Now we're going into Charlotte for four-wide racing. It's still my favorite format. I love the four-wide racing.”

NHRA CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS:
Following the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston Raceway Park 

FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Matt Hagan (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 507 (2)
2.  Robert Hight: 447 (2)
3.  Ron Capps (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 420 (1)
4.  Cruz Pedregon (Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat): 282
5.  John Force: 249
6.  Alexis DeJoria: 241
6.  J.R. Todd: 241
8.  Chad Green: 237
9.  Bob Tasca III: 229
10. Tim Wilkerson: 217


TOP FUEL (season wins in parentheses)
1.  Brittany Force: 420 (2)
2.  Steve Torrence: 388 
3.  Justin Ashley: 367 (1) 
4.  Mike Salinas: 349 (1)
5.  Clay Millican: 281
6.  Austin Prock: 253
7.  Tony Schumacher: 227
8.  Josh Hart: 220
9.  Doug Kalitta: 206
10. Antron Brown: 198
13. Leah Pruett (Dodge Power Brokers): 171
 
DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow all the NHRA action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com.
 
@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 muscle cars and SUVs that deliver unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete.
 
Dodge drives forward as a pure performance brand, offering SRT versions of every model across the lineup. For the 2022 model year, 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 Dodge Durango SRT 392, America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV. Combined, these three muscle cars make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.
 
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). In 2021, Dodge brand ranked No. 1 in the J.D. Power APEAL Study (mass market) — making it the only domestic brand ever to do so two years in a row.
 
Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com.
  
Mopar
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Mopar.

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 nearly 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. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit www.stellantis.com.
 

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