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Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Driver Hagan Breaks Through with NHRA Southern Nationals Win

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Matt Hagan heats up with victory in all-Mopar Dodge NHRA Funny Car final round showdown against teammate Jack Beckman
  • Hagan races Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to first win of season and 19th of his career
  • Victory is second for a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in 2016
  • Three Mopar Dodge Funny Cars advance to semifinals at Atlanta Dragway
  • Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson advances to second consecutive semifinal
  • Jeg Coughlin Jr. scores round win in his "Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar" Dodge Dart
  • Tough luck snatches opening-round victory from Mopar Performance Dodge Dart driver Erica Enders

Matt Hagan claimed victory on Sunday at the 36th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Southern Nationals, scoring his first win of the season and 19th of his career in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. Hagan defeated teammate and fellow Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman in the all-Mopar NHRA Funny Car final round to claim his first win in 19 races.

It was a dominant weekend for the Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car squad, with Hagan, Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. combining to put three Mopar Dodge machines in the semifinals at Atlanta Dragway. Beckman claimed the pole on Saturday and all four DSR Dodge drivers qualified in the top half of the field. Hagan also reset both ends of the track record on Sunday after Beckman accomplished the feat during Friday qualifying.

"Congratulations to Matt Hagan for his first win of the year in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T," said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA - Global. "Everyone at Mopar is proud to see the DSR team's hard work and perseverance payoff with a national title at Atlanta."

The No. 2 qualifier, Hagan began eliminations by blasting to a track-record run of 3.906 seconds at 329.02 mph in a defeat of Chad Head. Hagan was also quickest of the round in the quarterfinals, posting a 3.926/327.19 in a win over Del Worsham. In the semifinals Hagan used a 3.939/325.06 (once again quickest of the session) to beat points leader Courtney Force to the stripe and set up a HEMI vs. HEMI duel with Beckman.

The No. 1 qualifier, Beckman took out Jim Campbell and then DSR Dodge teammates Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr. on his road to the money round. Beckman paid a visit to the sand trap after besting Campbell, but his Infinite Hero team was able to fix his Dodge and defeat Capps (who sent home John Force in round one) with a 3.989/323.81 to his stablemate's 3.992/320.81. The 2012 Funny Car champ outraced Johnson's Make-A-Wish Dodge to the finish in the semis with a winning 3.967/323.58 to TJ's 3.992/317.79.

In the final round, Hagan's 3.965/314.90 was more than enough as Beckman smoked the tires and tried in vain to recover, slowing to a 8.073/79.59. Hagan moved to ninth in the points, with Beckman jumping from sixth to the...