Three events remain in the 2020 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Drag Racing Series season and a fierce battle for the Funny Car world championship intensifies amongst the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) quartet of Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat machines as Matt Hagan laid down two stout qualifying passes aboard his Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to earn the No.1 qualifier position honor and maintain the Funny Car points lead heading into Sunday’s 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals near Dallas, Texas.
Hagan’s fourth No.1 qualifier position of the 2020 NHRA season, the 40th of his career, also puts him in a prime position to defend his 2019 Texas Motorplex Wally trophy and extend his team’s record win streak of 11 consecutive Funny Car victories which was launched with his win here last year.
Hagan’s efforts in qualifying earned him five bonus points as he posted the second quickest run in the first session, a 3.890-second elapsed time pass at 323.97 mph, and the best run of the second session, a 3.860 sec./328.54 mph lap, to stay atop the standings and ahead of teammates Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson Jr., and Ron Capps, who are 2-3-4 respectively. In fact, all four DSR Dodge Charger Funny Cars earned at least one bonus point for posting a top-3 qualifying run and are seeded in the top half of the eliminations ladder, thus avoiding any first-round pairings against a teammate.
Hagan will begin his race day against No. 16 seed Todd Simpson after finishing runner-up in the previous national event to his teammate Johnson Jr.
Winner of the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis two weeks ago, Johnson Jr. kept the positive momentum going through the first qualifying session where he posted the quickest lap aboard his MD Anderson Dodge Charger and earned the No. 2 spot on the eliminations ladder. He’ll see Jim Campbell as his first-round opponent.
Fourth in points and also on Sunday’s eliminations ladder, Capps will line-up his Dodge Charger next to Terry Haddock for the opening round, while sixth-seed, Jack Beckman, will match-up against No. 11 seed Cruz Pedregon.
Two weeks removed from a harrowing incident aboard her DSR dragster in eliminations, Leah Pruett showed everyone that her unwavering focus remains on battling for an event win this season and to continue to vie for the Top Fuel championship. Pruett qualified her Mopar dragster fifth and will see Scott Palmer in the next lane for the first round of Top Fuel action.
For a fifth event this season, Pruett will pull double duty as she also competes in Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) aboard her Mopar Dodge Challenger alongside teammate Mark Pawuk.
Pawuk qualified No. 6 aboard his Empaco Equipment Mopar Drag Pak and will face John Cerbone in the first round of eliminations, while Pruett is seeded 13th and will see No. 4, Arthur Kohn, as her first-round pairing.
Elimination rounds for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will begin at 10:00 am local time on Sunday, Oct. 18th with the television broadcast on FS1 to air from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET featuring live coverage of the final round of eliminations at Texas Motorplex.