Hagan and B. Force Top Field at Las Vegas

At the team’s third NHRA event back in March of 2022, three-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan (pictured to the left at Gainesville Raceway) handed Tony Stewart Racing its first NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Wally at the 53rd annual Gatornationals. It was Hagan’s second final round of the season and the 40th Wally of his NHRA Funny Car career.

The Virginia driver left Don Schumacher Racing at the end of last season to join forces with NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Tony Stewart. Hagan splits his time in the off season wrangling steers on his 3200-acre ranch outside Christiansburg. This is his first season driving the Dodge Power Brokers Charger for Tony Stewart’s first year TSR team.

This past weekend Hagan and all the NHRA nitro division and stock division drivers and teams were eager to kick off the NHRA Nevada Nationals at the famed piece of pavement fondly known as The Strip. Located about fifteen miles northeast  of the famous Strip in Paradise NV, the penultimate round of the Countdown to the Championship was staged across the road from Red Horse Special Capabilities Squadron on Nellis AFB.

Matt Hagan Wins Funny Car at Nevada Nationals

Since it is Smoke’s team, you could speculate that the boss was expecting his Nitro drivers to win races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series for the first year Tony Stewart Racing team. On Sunday, Funny Car driver Matt Hagan kept those dreams alive for winning the Countdown to the Championship. Behind the wheel of the Dodge Power Brokers Charger SRT Hellcat, Hagan eliminated Steven Densham, Chad Green, and Bob Tasca III to earn his berth in the penultimate final round.

In the other side of the Funny Car ladder, the Number One qualifier Robert Hight eliminated Terry Haddock in round one, Alexis DeJoria in round two, and longtime rival JR Todd in semifinal to earn his ticket to the Funny Car finals against Hagan. Off the tree, Hagan had a very slim .005-second advantage over the driver of the Auto Club Camaro before Hight had to lift around the hundred foot mark due to tire shake. Hagan posted a 3.896 ET at 330.23 mph to claim his fourth win in Las Vegas and the 43rd Wally of his career. Hight heads to Pomona for the final Countdown race with a 61 point lead over Ron Capps and 63 point lead over Hagan.

Brittany Force Back on Top in Top Fuel Points

Strange things happen on Halloween but Brittany Force taking over the points lead for the Countdown to the Championship in the nitro Top Fuel division wasn’t one of them. The stage was set at the penultimate round of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series for drivers to make their moves. To no one’s surprise, the driver of the Flav-R-Pac/Monster Energy team led the way in Friday’s qualifying to earn her ninth Number One qualifier of the 2022 season. Entering the fifth of six Countdown races, Force trailed Justin Ashley by 73 points.

In the quarterfinal round of eliminations, Antron Brown smoked the tires and Force would eliminate eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher to earn her ticket to the Final. Mike Salinas advanced on the other side of the ladder with wins over Leah Pruett, Clay Millican, and Austin Prock. Force relied on a .034 RT (best of the event in Las Vegas) to beat a slightly quicker Salinas with a 3.705 ET to a 3.702 ET, respectively. It was the JFR driver’s third victory at The Strip and her 16th overall win in Top Fuel. The win moves her seven points ahead of Ashley with one round remaining.


Auto Club NHRA Finals

Race teams have a short trip southwest of Vegas for the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway for the season-ending final race in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship on November 10-13 in Pomona CA.


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