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Matt Hagan continues fast start to 2020 with provisional Funny Car pole

Matt Hagan grabbed another five bonus points by going to the top of the NHRA Arizona Nationals Funny Car field on Friday.
21 Feb 2020
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Matt Hagan

Matt Hagan highlighted an incredible second qualifying session of Funny Car and took over the provisional pole at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. The driver of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car ran a 3.859-second pass at 331.61-mph to go to No. 1 on Friday in the second of four qualifying passes as he seeks his second-straight pole position. 

Hagan captured pole at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com in his Dickie Venables-tuned Funny Car and got the second race of the season off to a tremendous start. He made the second-quickest pass of the first session, trailing only defending champion Robert Hight, and then went a step further by going to the top of the sheet in the second. 

“We have a really great race car,” said Hagan. “We qualified No. 1 in Pomona and then rolling here into Phoenix, the provisional No. 1. The car is just really working. We have to make some better decisions on race day, but race day is race day. You never know what is going to happen and what you will get thrown at you and how the track will be. But all-in-all conditions are great out here right now. The car is good, the track is good and just all around a really good pass.”

The Don Schumacher Racing driver out-qualified the runner-up from the Winternationals, 16-time world champion John Force, by .002-second. Force drove his Peak Blue Def Chevy Camaro to a 3.861 at 331.94 as he chases his 161st pole. 

SEE FULL FUNNY CAR QUALIFYING ORDER HERE

Force was followed by John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight, who wheeled his Auto Club Chevy Camaro to a 3.867 to take the No. 3 position after the first day of racing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Hight is the defending world champion and also took home the world championship in 2017. 

Bob Tasca III ran a 3.883 and is currently qualified fourth. The Ford Motorcraft racer is followed on the qualifying sheet by 2020 Winternationals winner Jack Beckman, who ran a 3.889. Beckman defeated Force in the final and has won the last two events (the season-opening Winternationals and the 2019 season-closing Auto Club NHRA Finals). 

Jeff Diehl, who is making his season debut, holds the bump of the 16-car field after running a 6.987. The California native trails Terry Haddock, who ran a 5.612 in the first qualifying session of the weekend. 

The third qualifying session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Mountain Time Saturday. You can catch all the action on NHRA.tv.