Matt Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put together a string of four 3.90-second runs separated by just nine-thousandths of a second to win their third race of the season and boost their bid for a late-season championship run. At the wheel of the Western Technical College Dodge Charger Hellcat, Hagan used a final-round 3.909 to defeat Bob Tasca III.
"We had a great racecar today," said Hagan. "That's the thing about Dickie. Once he starts building confidence, he becomes deadly. When he gets his feet under him and the parts and pieces are working like they're supposed to, I'd put him up against anyone, and that builds confidence in me and the team. He told me that he knew he had it for the final round; I was actually in a little deep in the final so it probably ran .87 or .88, but it's been a long time since we've won and I really wanted to dig deep, rise to the occasion, and drive my ass off."
Tasca, who scored two wins earlier this season, in Bristol and Norwalk, and Hagan, who had a pair of wins, in Phoenix and Epping, both boosted their championship chases by reaching the final, but it was Hagan who got the win light for his third win, matching his 2018 total.
With the top four drivers in front of them being stopped in the semi’s and before, both drivers moved up in the points battle. Hagan now sits fourth, 112 points out of the lead, with Tasca in fifth, just 10 more points back.
"I don't know about the championship," he admitted. "I mean, we can hope and dream, but we just have to go out there and keep doing our job and control what we can control," he added. "We just need to keep digging."
Matt Hagan ran back-to-back 3.903 passes in the opening rounds to defeat Blake Alexander and J.R. Todd, the latter by just .003-second. Points leader Robert Hight benefitted from the early exits of fourth-place Ron Capps (round one) and second-ranked Jack Beckman (second round) but then inexplicably red-lighted against Hagan in the semifinals with a -.199 reaction time, his first foul in more than a year (Reading 2018).
After qualifying fourth, Tasca had low e.t. of the opening round with a 3.873 in besting tire-smoking Jonnie Lindberg, then took down second-place Jack Beckman with a 3.93 in round two. Tasca then eliminated another driver in front of him in points, low qualifier John Force, with a 3.92 to reach the title round.
Beckman may have lost in round two, but he did himself a favor by taking out his DSR teammate, fourth-place Ron Capps, in the opening round.