Dodge//SRT Hellcat Takes Back-to-Back Wins at NHRA Route 66 Nationals

May 28th, 2024 by

 

Despite dealing with some tough racing conditions at the NHRA Gerber Collison & Glass Route 66 Nationals drag races near Chicago, driver Matt Hagan and his 11,000-horsepower, nitro-burning Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Direct Connection Dodge//SRT Hellcat Funny Car were able to race to a victory on Sunday, May 19th. 

 

Challenging conditions on the track, including hot and humid weather, made for high tensions as Hagan, a four-time NHRA Mission World Champion, made his way through the Friday and Saturday qualifying rounds, ranking only 11th out of 16 in the Funny Car field. Hagan’s unexpected victory on Sunday marks his second straight NHRA Funny Car national event win.

 

Some well-planned adjustments from Hagan and his TSR Dodge//SRT crew on race day made this win, the 51st NHRA National win in Hagan’s career, possible, allowing the defeat of the legendary John Force in the final round with a 3.998 over Force’s 4.096.

 

“It was a massive day for TSR (Tony Stewart Racing) and the Direct Connection Dodge//SRT guys,” said Hagan in the victory lane. “Back-to-back wins is super in very tough track conditions this weekend. This place was so tricky with the heat and humidity. We got stuck in the tough lane and we drove it to another win. Dickie Venables, Mike Knudsen, Alex Conaway and all of the crew guys do such a great job on race day. I trust them to put me in position to win races. I just stab the throttle and steer it. I had to drive the wheels off the car today.

 

“I wouldn’t have believed we could have won on Saturday. But Tony (Stewart) gives me the best equipment I could ask for in NHRA competition. We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted with an 11th spot, but, on race day, we clicked those win lights and that is what it is all about. Getting those four ‘win’ lights is why we do this. I feel like if you are in it, you can win it. Racing and beating John Force is an honor. He is the GOAT. So, I feel tremendous when you beat the best ever. I’m always excited to win a ‘Wally’ trophy and now it was my 51st career win. I’m so grateful to race these cars and drive for Dodge and Tony Stewart Racing.”

 

“Matt and the team did a great job in the Direct Connection Dodge//SRT machine today,” said Team owner Stewart. “He had a big moment in E1 (first round of eliminations) where he crossed the centerline after the finish. That was a big moment, but this team knows how to race all day. Race day is their day! I’m really proud of these guys and, of course, Matt. Matt did a super job today.”

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