After running the table in 2020 and posting 14 straight Funny Car victories, it was shocking to see the Don Schumacher Racing team struggle to put together a win this season. Entering the Dodge//SRT NHRA Mile-High Nationals presented by Pennzoil riding an 0-for-7 streak to start the season, the reigning world champion came to the rescue when he defeated Alexis DeJoria in the final round.
A steady Hagan used a string of 4.0s to get to the final, where his 4.105 was enough to hold off DeJoria, who dropped a cylinder early in the run and slowed to a 4.227.
“Well, my boss at SRT told me he’s had enough, and if we don’t win, he’s gonna get a new driver, so I thought it was pretty important to win this one,” Hagan joked. “Honestly, I’ve been trying to get this trophy for so long, like 15 years in my fuel career that we’ve been up here on the mountain. I can’t say enough about the guys who wrenched on this car today; watching them sweat, watching them suck wind. I am so proud of each and every one of them. This is our sponsor's race, and we love Denver. We love all the fans who stayed this weekend.”
Hagan, now a 37-time winner, beat rookie Chris King to earn a semifinal bye. His best match came in the semifinals when he took on teammate Ron Capps. In what may have been the best side-by-side race of the day in Funny Car, Hagan drove his Dickie Venables-tuned Dodge to a 4.022 to narrowly defeat Capps’ 4.051.
DeJoria was certainly able to take a lot of positives from the Denver event. When she returned to the Funny Car class after a two-year layoff, DeJoria was determined to build a winning program, and she’s largely accomplished that goal with the addition of crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante.
DeJoria was solid in qualifying with a second-best 3.982, and she made it to the final with wins against Jack Wyatt, points leader Bob Tasca III, and Tim Wilkerson.