Gainesville: Matt Hagan preview

HAGAN GEARED UP FOR GATORS DRIVING SHELOR.COM DODGE CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (March 9, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan is geared up for the third national event of the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this weekend, the NHRA...

HAGAN GEARED UP FOR GATORS DRIVING SHELOR.COM DODGE

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (March 9, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan is geared up for the third national event of the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this weekend, the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

His rookie season is off to a good start. The Virginia native has qualified for each of the first two races and won his first round of pro Funny Car competition at the last event in Phoenix. Standing No. 10 in the rankings, he's aiming to win even more rounds this weekend, driving the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car.

"It feels great," he said of his strong season start. "I think we have a great race car underneath us. And we were right there in the middle of the pack in qualifying in Phoenix (No. 8 qualifier). It shows that we can run with everybody out there. So, I'm excited to get to Gainesville. I've always had a lot of success there in the Pro Mod class. I like the track. It has plenty of shut-down area, it's a historic race and there are always a lot of fans there, so it's pretty cool. And, I actually got my Alcohol Funny Car license from Frank Hawley there in 2004."

Now that the 26-year-old Angus Cattle farmer has won his first pro Funny Car round, his confidence level has risen, but he admits he's a long way from being a "seasoned veteran."

"I don't think I'll ever feel like I'm a seasoned veteran," he said with a laugh, "even years from now. You're always learning in these cars. Every lap is different and you just take it, run with it and learn from it. I definitely feel more comfortable in the car but I certainly don't feel like a seasoned veteran."

But he does get support from a true seasoned veteran, his teammate Ron Capps, winner of the first two Funny Car events of the season in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge. "Ron's been spectacular as far as coming over and giving me a few pointers here and there," said Hagan. "He's really gone out of his way to be nice and to offer some opinions. That goes a long way in my book."

Shelor.com comes on board this weekend as primary sponsor of the Dodge Funny Car tuned by Tommy DeLago. Shelor.com is a 24/7 web site, representing eight new-car franchises and a used-car super store in Southwest Virginia.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hagan , Frank Hawley