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Matt Hagan takes his Dodge Charger to third-straight Epping win

Matt Hagan drove his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to winner’s circle again, his third straight Funny Car win at the NHRA New England Nationals.
07 Jul 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan and Dickie Venables love New England Dragway. The former champions defeated Shawn Langdon by five-hundredths of a second to earn their first win since February. It’s the duo’s third-straight victory at the NHRA New England Nationals, a tradition that seems unlikely to end anytime soon. 

Hagan stopped the 10-round winning streak of Bob Tasca III, the Rhode Island native, and defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps. He also got past another DSR teammate, Jack Beckman, in the first round of racing. It’s the 31st win in Hagan’s career, which came in his 57th final round. He had not reached a final round since the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in April. 

"You've just got to continue to believe in the crew chief," said Matt Hagan. "We've got that confidence. You always get to points where people doubt certain things, but it just goes to show that we can struggle for a little while and we'll get back to where we need to be. We didn't just get lucky today -- Dickie Venables made some really good calls today on that race track."

Shawn Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car progressively got quicker en route to the final. Langdon defeated Jim Campbell with a 4.036-second pass that got him to the stripe four hundredths of a second ahead of the No. 12 qualifier. That set him up with a matchup against two-time world champion Robert Hight, and co-crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Bonifante put the screws to their hot rod. 

Langdon was second off the starting line by a hundredth of a second, but it didn’t matter. He got to the stripe in 3.999-second and Hight never stood a chance in his Auto Club Chevy Camaro. He ran a 4.103-second lap after putting a cylinder out. Langdon earned the victory and lane choice over Tim Wilkerson, who defeated Langdon’s Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd in the second round. 

Hagan has now won at least two races every year for the past seven seasons. He entered New England Dragway in eight place and leaves tied with Bob Tasca III in seventh with a much-needed Wally for his Mopar-backed team. 

The next race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule is the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver. That will kick off on July 26 and be the 14th of 24 events on the tour.