Matt Hagan continued his impressive 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series performance Sunday at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Four-Wide Nationals with his third Funny Car win in four events in the Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Haas Automation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT.
Hagan, the three-time NHRA world champion, qualified third in the 16-car field and advanced to the final round with solid, consistent runs of 3.997 and 3.968 seconds to set up a third finals appearance in the opening four races in 2023.
Competing against John Force, Tim Wilkerson, and Chad Green in the final, Hagan posted a winning time of 3.943 @ 326.79 m.p.h. for his 46th career Funny Car victory and extended his Funny Car points lead to 105 entering the next NHRA national event at Charlotte, North Carolina, April 28th – 30th.
“It was another outstanding performance by Matt Hagan and his Tony Stewart Racing team this past weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, taking his Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car to the winner’s circle,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO. “Hagan’s crew continues to prove their competitive level, and it is one of the best in all of NHRA drag racing. Led by Dickie Venables’ squad, Hagan is fighting for his fourth NHRA Camping World Series championship. The TSR team has shown that Dodge’s lineup of vehicles and Direct Connection parts are excellent examples of premier performance. We wish Matt and the TSR team more success this year in his quest for a fourth Funny Car title.”
Hagan’s Funny Car victory was his second straight at the Strip after winning last October in the Nevada Nationals and the fifth Las Vegas triumph of his career. This is Hagan’s seventh win with TSR, dating back to the 2022 Gatornationals.
“This is so special to share the winner’s circle with my boss, Tony Stewart, and his first NHRA national win too,” said Hagan after his third 2023 victory and Stewart’s first Top Alcohol Dragster win. “It’s funny because I never followed Tony’s oval racing career, and I actually had to look up his achievements when I talked with him about this new team.
“After he won here, he came to my car and said, ‘Now it’s your turn to win!’ Wow, I wasn’t feeling any pressure until then. But our crew, led by Dickie Venables, has been so good this year that I just needed to be good on the line. And that car ran strong to the finish.”
Pruett, the 10-time NHRA national winner, recorded a solid showing in qualifying to place fifth, entering Sunday’s eliminations with her Code 3 Associates Dodge//SRT Mopar Top Fuel dragster with runs of 3.746, 3.747, and 3.753. In Sunday’s competition, Leah posted a 3.779 to win against three other drivers before falling in the second round with a 3.798 to eventual winner Antron Brown and Brittany Force.
“Our team did a great job all weekend here in Las Vegas,” said Pruett, now fifth in the NHRA Camping World Top Fuel point standings. “We ran great times in the heat, and the track was getting tricky. But Neal Strausbaugh and his crew really gave me a solid, strong car in every run here at the Strip. They work so hard for [our sponsors and me]. I’m pleased with the momentum we are making. Both Antron and Brittany are world champions, and we ran right with them. So, we may have lost that round, but we were so close to advancing to the next one. We had a very positive weekend.”
Cruz Pedregon, a four-time winner at the Strip, recorded his second consecutive NHRA Camping World Funny Car No. 1 qualifer Saturday in the qualifying rounds for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Pedregon took his Snap-On Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT machine to a time of 3.910 seconds to pace the 16-car Funny Car field.