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Matt Hagan's Dodge scoops up maximum qualifying bonus points on opening day

Matt Hagan accomplished everything he could possibly do on the opening day on qualifying, earning the maximum of eight qualifying bonus points by powering his Dickie Venables-tuned Dodge Charger to low e.t. of both sessions, culminating with a 3.872.
15 Nov 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage
Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan accomplished everything he could possibly do on the opening day on qualifying, earning the maximum of eight qualifying bonus points by powering his Dickie Venables-tuned Dodge Charger to low e.t. of both sessions, culminating with a 3.872.

Hagan, winner of the last two events on the tour, continued his torrid pace and was the only driver to make two full runs down the tricky Pomona surface on Friday and cut into Robert Hight’s points lead, going from 56 points back to 48 and remains third.

“Obviously the car is really running strong and we’ve had a great race car the last couple of races,” said Hagan. “We were able to capitalize on the points today and I’m proud of Dickie Venables, Mike Knudsen, and Alex Conway. They’re putting a real good racecar beneath me. The car is running great, my lights are good, so we’re just digging. It’s be hard not to have confidence coming off of two straight race wins and going low for both sessions here in Pomona.”

Funny Car teams struggled mightily on the Pomona surface in Q1 with just two three-second passes -- 3.900 by Hagan and 3,949 by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman –  and then Hagan improved on  his number on the last pass down the track to take the No. 1 spot away from Tim Wilkerson, who had run 3.876 early in Q2. 

Beckman, who sits second behind Hight in points, carved three tallies off of his deficit and trails Hight by 43 points.

Shawn Langdon (3.893), Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.945), and Cruz Pedregon (3.967) all made three-second passes in Q2 to make it just six three-second qualifiers.

Blake Alexander, who skipped Q2 after running 4.017 in the opening session, and local favorite Jeff Arend, the driver of the privateer car owned by Peter Russo at 4.099, round out the top eight.

A trio of guys who were crowned champions at Pomona in years past – points leader Robert Hight, Ron Capps and J.R. Todd -- all went 0-for-2 on Friday and will enter Saturday in the bottom half of the field.