NHRA Opener

MOPAR Gets Runner-up Finishes

Larry Jewett - February 15, 2014 11:00 AM


Team Mopar driver Matt Hagan helped rev up the Mopar brand’s year-long 426 HEMI 50th anniversary celebration, driving his new Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charge R/T to a runner-up finish.


In his 15th career final-round appearance and first-ever at Pomona, Mopar driver V. Gaines’ quest for his first Winternationals win came up just hundredths of a second short.


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The first round of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has completed with the running of the annual Circle K Winternationals. Team MOPAR wasn’t able to break through for victory, but in at least two classes, the competition knew they were there.
 Matt Hagan lost traction early in his championship round run against john Force and watched the NHRA record holder add another title in Funny Car action. Hagan’s Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger sits in second spot in the division point standings. Hagan knocked off Courtney Force in the first round and disposed of Robert Hight in the next elimination before sidelining the veteran Del Worsham. Two other Dodge drivers, Ron Capps and Tommy Johnson Jr., were eliminated in quarterfinals.
 V. Gaines made his 15th finals appearance but his first at Pomona in the Pro Stock main. The battle was epic as Gaines ran a 6.533 in his Dodge Avenger, only to fall short of Line’s 6.526. Gaines trapped a 212.56 to the winner’s 212.06.
 Gaines avenged 10 previous losses to Greg Stanfield by taking out the Camaro driver in the first round. Gaines got the hole shot on Erica Enders-Stevens to power to the second round victory. He cut a .003 light to stop #1 qualifier Vincent Nobile and earn the showdown with Line.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Feb. 21-23 with the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.