Matt Hagan Makes His Case for Mount Rushmore of NHRA Funny Car

matt hagan nhra
Hagan Makes His Case for NHRA Mount RushmoreNHRA/National Dragster

With all the hype about Ron Capps defeating Robert Hight by three points for the Funny Car championship last November and the fact both of them are aiming for a fourth title this year, Matt Hagan got a bit lost in the public-relations shuffle.

But he reminded everyone Sunday that he, too, is a three-time champion.

And with Sunday’s final-round victory in the Gatornationals at Gainesville over JR Todd—who incidentally was driving a brand-new car patterned after the one Hagan excelled in last year for a No. 3 finish in the standings—Hagan became the No. 4 driver on the Funny Car class’ all-time victories list. The Tony Stewart Racing driver broke a tie with retired Tony Pedregon (now a FOX TV analyst) with his 44th triumph.

As for being on that “Funny Car Mount Rushmore” with John Force, Ron Capps, and Robert Hight, Hagan said, “Those two guys—Capps and Hight—they're a great drivers. Ron's a good friend of mine, and Robert, I got a lot of respect for him. It always comes down to those two and me and a couple other drivers every year.

"There's never been in the last probably eight years that I can think of that we haven't been had a title shot at it at the last day, at the last race. Capps, Force and Hight . . . I don't know, maybe one day we might catch Robert, but as far as Force goes, he's going to be the G.O.A.T. forever. I'm going to have to do it till I'm 200 if I'm going to catch Force. And Ron's got actually 20 years on me, as far as his driving. To pass some of these other guys that have been out there doing it is an honor, just to even be in that caliber of drivers and people and showmen. It's incredible.”