Atlanta: Matt Hagan preview

HAGAN LOOKS TO GET BACK ON FAST TRACK IN ATLANTA CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (May 11, 2010) - Matt Hagan is hoping that the momentum that began for him and the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car team after winning their first race in Houston this year will...

HAGAN LOOKS TO GET BACK ON FAST TRACK IN ATLANTA

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (May 11, 2010) - Matt Hagan is hoping that the momentum that began for him and the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car team after winning their first race in Houston this year will get kick-started again at this weekend's 30th annual NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga.

Before losing in the first round in St. Louis two weeks ago, second-year racer Hagan and the DieHard team had the distinction of being the only NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car contenders to have advanced out of the opening round of eliminations at each of the first six events of the year.

After that Texas victory, although glad to have finally accomplished it, Hagan yearned for another win and continued to drive his heart out at each event. It's tough out there, and the 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer knows it. But the taste of triumph was so sweet and he's been wanting to savor it again.

"We're going to get back on track," said Hagan, who is second in the point standings behind 14-time Funny Car champion John Force. "I know the DieHard Dodge guys have been working hard at the shop and I've been working on my lights (reaction times) at home and I'm looking forward to getting back in the race car.

"I know that we've had some peaks and valleys this year and now we're a quarter of a way through the regular season. Hopefully we can get everything back on track, and qualifying well is going to be our first step.

"We didn't qualify well in St. Louis (No. 12) and it really hurt us first round. But, I've just got to go up there and stay focused and I know Tommy and John (DeLago and Medlen, crew chiefs) are going to put an excellent race car under me and I think it's going to be a good weekend.

"This sport is so humbling and it is frustrating at times," added Hagan. "On the flip side, I know we've got a bunch of smart guys on the DieHard team, so it's going to roll right back around. It's just a matter of how fast we can bounce back.

"I think we'll bounce back a whole lot quicker this year than we did last year. What we don't want to do is get into a slump like we did last year, where we couldn't get out of the first round in 11 of the final 17 races. We do not want to repeat that. But, St. Louis was the first race we lost in the first round this year, and you're going to have that sometimes.

"You have to pay your dues when they come, and I think we're going to bounce right back and be OK."

In his NHRA rookie year in 2009, Hagan qualified No. 5 at Atlanta Dragway, losing the second round to Tony Pedregon.

-source: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Matt Hagan