Matt Hagan, the current track record holder at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, and his 11,000-horsepower Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge Charger HELLCAT Funny Car were a model of consistency in six runs this weekend in preparations for Monday’s final eliminations in the 69th Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.
Hagan, the three-time NHRA Camping World Funny Car Champion who ranks second in the current points, advanced to the final round of the special Pep Boys Funny Car All-Star Callout event Sunday before taking the runner-up position with a 3.979 to Robert Hight’s 3.955.
But it was Hagan’s six consistent runs from Friday to Sunday which showed that his TSR crew, led by Dickie Venables, is ready for Monday’s eliminations in the hot and humid weather conditions. Matt’s qualifying rounds included a best of 3.912, 3.928, 3,967, 3.979, 3.982, and 4.040 in the heat of the day on Saturday.
The 3.912 lap gave Hagan the No. 4 qualifying position entering Monday’s 16-car finals, as he will compete against Alex Laughlin in the first round. The 69th Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals will be televised on the FOX Network beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
“It has been a long week here in Indy with Dodge events early in the week and then three days of qualifying,” said Hagan, the four-time 2023 NHRA national event winner. “But I’m very pleased with our six runs during qualifying as we didn’t smoke the tires once. And it prepares us for the always-tough Monday eliminations. I feel that Dickie and the crew have done a great job in the hot and humid conditions that seem to come every year at the U.S. Nationals. It would be so great to win another Dodge-backed event like we did in Denver with the Dodge Mile-High Nationals. I feel good about our Dodge HELLCAT Funny Car right now.”
Leah Pruett, Hagan’s TSR teammate, qualified sixth in the Dodge//SRT Direct Connection Top Fuel dragster with a solid 3.730 in the tight 16-car lineup set for final eliminations at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
Pruett was pleased with her performance in a 120-plus degree track surface Sunday afternoon as she clocked 3.790 in the mid-afternoon qualifying session. The former Factory Stock Showdown champion at the U.S. Nationals will take on Austin Prock in the opening Top Fuel round.
“Conditions are always very difficult here at Indy for the U.S. Nationals,” said Pruett, the 2023 Summit Nationals Top Fuel champion. “It’s hot and humid, and it’s easy to lose traction with that type of weather. So that Sunday afternoon run with the 3.790 was very impressive, and I know our crew guys have been working hard to prepare this Dodge//SRT Direct Connection dragster for the tough Monday rounds.”
The 69th Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals has opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with the first round of Top Fuel set for 10:00 a.m. EDT. The Fox Network telecast will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT today.