Matt Hagan has begun the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Series season on a roll – at least in qualifying.
For the third event in a row – dating back to 2019 – Hagan powered his way to the provisional nitro Funny Car pole.
Hagan accomplished his latest feat Friday when he clocked a 3.859-second elapsed time at 331.61 in Q2 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
Hagan, who drives the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for Don Schumacher Racing, was the provisional No. 1 qualifier at the final race of 2019 in Pomona, Calif., and the first race of 2020 – the Winternationals in Pomona – and kept the No. 1 spot on the ladder for race day at the two events.
“We have a really great race car,” Hagan said. “We qualified No. 1 in Pomona and we rolled into Phoenix with this provisional No. 1. The car is just really working. We have to make some better decisions on race day, but race day is race day and you never know what is going to happen. All in all, the conditions are great out here right now. (Crew chief) Dickie (Venables) went up there and was kind of like there’s no holds barred. He looked in the car at me and was like you only live once. It (the car stuck). The track is good, and it was an all-around really good pass.”
If Hagan holds the No. 1 qualifying position it would be the 38th of his career. He is a three-time champion in Phoenix, including last year.
“I have no idea,” said Hagan when asked about the secret to his success in Phoenix. “I wish we could race here all 24 events. It’s just one of those things where things kind of click. A lot of times you’re knocking the dust off and testing and the first race you get the kinks out. Some tracks you do well at and some you couldn’t buy a win at. At the end of the day, we are just blessed to be here and glad to be putting a show on for these fans.”
Hagan’s Funny Car was quick off the trailer as he clocked a 3.882-second elapsed time at 324.75 mph in Q1. He finished Friday with five bonus points.