Hagan Gets First Wally In Houston

Matt Hagan (NHRA Photo)

Matt Hagan (NHRA Photo)

BAYTOWN, Texas — Matt Hagan earned his first National Hot Rod Ass’n triumph Sunday, beating Funny Car veteran Jeff Arend in the final round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

For Hagan, the win came in just his third final-round appearance — and first of the season — in 33 career starts in Don Schumacher Racing’s DieHard Dodge Funny Car. Hagan outpedaled Arend’s Kalitta Motorsports DHL Toyota, reaching the finish line in 4.390seconds at 247.57 miles per hour to Arend’s 4.714 e.t./231.20 mph.

In another pedalfest, No. 1 qualifier and two-time Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon bested Antron Brown despite crossing the finish line on fire to earn his 50th Wally and second of the season. Dixon posted a 4.541-second, 222.36-mph pass in the Al-Anabi dragster, while Brown trailed at 4.638 e.t./173.32 seconds in the DSR Matco Tools/U.S. Army machine.

Jeg Coughlin, racing out of the No. 4 spot, barely edged runner-up Allen Johnson to earn his first Pro Stock Wally of the season and the 49th of his career. More importantly, he improved his round-win record for 2010, as in four previous events this season the former champion had just one round win. Using a better reaction time (a .024 to Johnson’s .045), Coughlin made a 6.599-second, 210.77-mph pass in his Victor Cagnazzi-owned Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to narrowly hold of Johnson’s Dodge and run of 6.596 e.t./210.77 mph.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, No. 1 qualifier Hector Arana as good as handed the Wally to opponent Andrew Hines when the defending champ left the starting line .102 seconds too soon and fouled out. For Hines, who ran a 6.998 e.t./196.02 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines V-Rod to Arana’s 13.258 e.t./58.40 mph, it was the 19th win of his career and first of the season.