No.1 Qualifier Dominates with another
Three-Second Run to Earn Phoenix Title
CHANDLER, AZ – February 23, 2015 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –
- Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Hagan and new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger Funny Car remain undefeated in 2015 by earning second win of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) season
- No.1 Qualifier Hagan adds another three-second pass, runs second fastest speed in Funny Car history at 324.83 mile per hour run to win Phoenix title
- Hagan’s elimination round win streak extends to 12 dating back to final race of the 2014 NHRA season in Pomona when he won Funny Car World Championship title
- Johnson sees his Phoenix Pro Stock title defense come to an end in the quarterfinals
The combination of Don Schumacher Racing driver Matt Hagan, the Mopar Express Lane /Rocky Boots crew and the brand new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T continues to prove to be a winning one after a dominant performance at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park earned the team a second Funny Car National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) title in as many events since the new vehicle’s debut this 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
The No.1 Qualifier posted another sub four-second run in as many days to once again lower the track record with a blistering 3.975-second pass, the fifth quickest elapsed time ever posted in competition, and the second fastest speed in Funny Car history at 324.83 miles per hour. That performance came in the final elimination battle against Del Worsham (4.010 second / 318.17 mph) run to earn his second consecutive title win this season.
“Everyone at Mopar is thrilled to see Matt Hagan take the new 2015 Dodge Charger R/T to the winner’s circle at consecutive events to start the year,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO – Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care. “It reinforces all the hard work and investment that Mopar, Dodge and Don Schumacher Racing put into producing a fantastic new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car and to see it be so competitive and dominant right off the bat makes us all very proud.”
“That shows why we are champions,” said Hagan who is the defending 2014 NHRA Funny Car World Champion. “(Crew Chief) Dickie Venables has done a helluva of a job with this Rocky Boots/Mopar Funny Car and he just continues to prove why he is one of the baddest crew chiefs out there. The guy has a great hot rod underneath me and I’m just trying not to mess it up.”
Prior to eliminations, Hagan earned the pole position on Saturday with his first official three-second run (3.978 / 320.28) in the new Mopar that spent more than a year in development. However, with the trip to the Phoenix winner’s circle, Hagan’s elimination round win streak actually extends to 12, dating back to final race of the 2014 season in Pomona in which he earned his second career championship.
“We continue to turn win lights on,” said Hagan who extends his lead in the points standings. “It’s two wins in a row this year but if you go back to Pomona it’s really three wins in a row. We are world champions because we have such a great team. It has been really good lately. The biggest thing that we can do is just to continue to do what we’ve been doing. We don’t change a lot.”
Starting from the fifth spot on the ladder, DSR’s Tommy Johnson Jr. Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T came from behind in a pedal fest to beat his teammate Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Mopar in a first round match-up that ended with a 4.192/ 273.50 to 4.314/226.96 battle. Johnson’s hope of advancing to the semi-finals fell as one of his engine’s cylinders put him at a disadvantage against Alexis DeJoria who took the round win with a 4.082 to 4.202 run.
Ron Capps, who drove his new Dodge Charger R/T to a runner-up finish in the season opener, didn’t fare quite as well this weekend bowing out in the first round after a mechanical issue put him out of contention early against Chad Head.
“It’s disappointing because we really wanted to stay up in the points,” said Capps, who dropped from second to fourth in points. “But it’s the big picture stuff and what we learned, unfortunately by losing in the first round, with what the car was telling us. We’ll test tomorrow (Monday) and cure it before we get down to Gainesville.
“I’m still so excited about the new setup on this car,” Capps added. “It’s got so much potential. A good test session will help. We just have to take what we learned here and go forward.”
In Pro Stock competition, Mopar’s Allen Johnson posted a 6.588/210.05 run in the first round to beat Jimmy Alund’s 6.615/210.14 before seeing his Phoenix title defense come to an end in the quarterfinals against Chris McGaha. Johnson’s “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart had the starting line advantage with a .024 reaction time to his opponent’s .067, but then saw severe tire shake ruin his run.
“We were way conservative with our set up on the Dodge Dart for being the first pair out and the tire got square,” said Johnson. “The good news is that this team is really talking and listening to one another and examining the problem when there is one. We had a really good meeting and we all decided to go one way with the set up for first out and next time we’ll go the other way. This team is really gelling and learning from our mistakes and it’s great to have a team communicate this way. We sure did have a car that could have won the race today. We’ll take it as a positive going forward.”
Tire shake also claimed the Dodge Dart of V. Gaines in the first round against Chris McGaha, while the Deric Kramer’s HEMI-powered ride turned on the red light against Rodger Brogdon who went on to win his final elimination match-up against Erica Enders-Stevens for his third career Pro Stock victory.
Mopar teams and drivers now prepare to head to the east coast for the third of 24 events on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway at Gainesville, Florida, scheduled for March 12-15.
2015 NHRA Championship Points Standings (following the NHRA Nationals in Phoenix):
PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)
1. Rodger Brogdon – 205 (1)
2. Erica Enders Stevens – 184
3. Jason Line – 178 (1)
4. Drew Skillman – 177
5. Chris McGaha – 130
6. Shane Gray – 108
7. Allen Johnson (Dodge Dart) – 107
8. Larry Morgan – 89
9. Greg Anderson – 86
10. Vincent Nobile – 66
12. V Gaines (Dodge Dart) – 63
FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)
1. Matt Hagan (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 231 (2)
2. Del Worsham – 173
3. Robert Hight – 145
4. Ron Capps (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 129
5. Courtney Force – 123
6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 118
7. Alexis DeJoria – 110
8. Cruz Pedregon – 93
9t. John Hale (2014 Dodge Charger R/T) – 82
9t. Chad Head – 82
15. Jack Beckman (2015 Dodge Charger R/T) – 38
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words Motor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product but truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.
Today, Mopar is FCA’s service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 130 markets, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for FCA vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with customers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format. First to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- wiAdvisor: first to provide factory-connected tablet technology in the service lane for instant vehicle diagnosis
- wiTech: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car