Matt Hagan wrapped up a perfect day at the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, clinching the championship in the semifinals and then winning the event, his third of the season, beating teammate Ron Capps in the final.
With the Don Schumacher Racing teammates in the final, DSR was assured a complete sweep of the 11-race season, and it’s Hagan who will hold that final trophy after pounding out a 3.91 after Capps’ low qualifying machine backfired the blower at halftrack,.
Hagan knew he needed to reach the final round to lock up the title and he did that, reaching the money round for the fifth time this season and the 65th of his career. The Dodge Charger Hellcat Red wheeled its way past Cruz Pedregon with a 3.901, which was low e.t. of the meet. In that same round, Paul Lee eliminated Jack Beckman from championship contention, and Hagan repaid Lee by sending him to the trailer, too, with a 3.93.
Hagan’s last remaining challenger was teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., but Johnson had already been felled and the title was Hagan’s before Hagan even fired for the semifinal, but Hagan and Co. took care of business anyway by dispatching Alexis DeJoria’s resurgent ROKiT/ABK Beer Toyota with a 3.913 to reach the final.
Capps wasn’t able to join his DSR teammates in the final battle for the championship, having been eliminated in qualifying despite grabbing his first No. 1 of the season, but he and crew chief Rahn Tobler still made the most of their final event of the year.
After qualifying No. 1 with a 3.902, Capps took a first-round single when rookie Chris Morel had to be shut off on the starting line with a fuel leak, and was fortunate that he did because Capps’ machine went silent and coasted to the win with a 6.03. The NAPA team regained its form in round two where a 3.953 dispatched J.R. Todd and then a 3.906 defeated teammate Johnson to help crown Hagan as the world champion.