Baytown: Matt Hagan Saturday notes

NHRA ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR FRONTRUNNER HAGAN NABS NO. 7 IN HOUSTON QUALIFYING BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner Matt Hagan qualified the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car in the seventh spot today for the NHRA Spring ...

NHRA ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR FRONTRUNNER HAGAN NABS NO. 7 IN HOUSTON QUALIFYING

BAYTOWN, Texas (March 28, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner Matt Hagan qualified the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car in the seventh spot today for the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

Despite having only three qualifying sessions because of a rain delay and moisture on the track, which cancelled Friday's second session, 26-year-old Hagan proved he is a quick learner in only his fourth national event driving for Don Schumacher Racing.

His first pass on Friday produced a 6.384/99.74 (No. 10), but his second run today, a 4.127/300.60 propelled him into the No. 4 position at the time. While others improved in the final session, Hagan lost traction in the less-favored right lane and posted a 5.082/154.56. That dropped him to seventh place and he'll face No. 10 qualifier Gary Densham in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

"The weekend has been good so far," said Hagan, an Angus Cattle farmer in Virginia. "It was just kind of tough trying to figure out the weather, and then the track's a little tricky out there. The right lane is really difficult to get down right now. It has a pretty bad bump in it.

"Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) is doing a great job tuning the car. In our second qualifying we went right to the top. We're in the field pretty deep and that's what we needed to do: get that lap underneath us for tomorrow and go up there and have a good race day.

"The wind is incredible out here right now. When you come out just past the grandstands it really pushes the car around. I found myself fighting the car trying to get it back in the groove. Once you get behind the car a little bit, it's hard to get it back in the groove. So, you have to really be on top of it, be waiting for it, and have a handle on it.

"It's great to be able to run Densham tomorrow," added Hagan, who had his first semifinal finish at the last event in Gainesville, Fla. "Hopefully this young kid can teach an old dog new tricks. It'll be a good deal. He's been out here a long time so hopefully he doesn't show me how to do it."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Densham , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan