BRAINER, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2009) - Matt Hagan, the 26-year-old contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner, qualified 13th for the 28th annual NHRA Nationals today.

With only three qualifying sessions completed between Friday and today because of rain, Hagan pulled out a solid 4.266-second pass at 286.50 mph in today's only run driving the shelor.com Dodge Funny Car, which followed an 8.092/80.08 and 4.755/175.62 on Friday.

"It was kind of a tough weekend for us," he said. "On the first lap I guess we missed an opportunity. We pulled some timing out of the car and I felt it nose over. Well, sometimes it feels like it's spinning the tire. And you try to take care of the equipment because you don't want to blow it up, so you pull your foot out of it. If you're unsure about something it's always better to step off than to keep your foot in it. That put us a little behind the 8-ball for qualifying yesterday evening.

"We went out there and smoked the tires pretty bad in the evening session. This morning we ran a good number, it went right down the race track, and that's what we needed to do.

"Since there was not a fourth session, we're pretty satisfied with where we're at. We have Cruz Pedregon in the first round tomorrow, and that is an important match-up." Hagan is 11th in the standings, Pedregon is 10th. If Hagan defeats Pedregon he will move into 10th place. Only the top 10 in points will vie for the Funny Car championship in the Countdown to 1 playoffs which begin following the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day for the final six events.

-credit: dsr