Las Vegas II: Matt Hagan final report

HAGAN EXITS IN VEGAS SECOND ROUND IN VEGAS; TAKES HOME TRACK RECORDS LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2009) - No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan exited in the second round of eliminations today at the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas ...

HAGAN EXITS IN VEGAS SECOND ROUND IN VEGAS; TAKES HOME TRACK RECORDS

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2009) - No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan exited in the second round of eliminations today at the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car.

After defeating Grant Downing in the opening round with a solid, straight pass of 4.131 seconds at 303.50 mph, he was bumped out by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the second stanza by a margin of just 11 feet. The pair launched with nearly identical reaction times, but a dropped cylinder slowed Hagan to a 4.242/287.35 pass, while Beckman took the win with a less-than-stellar 4.210/285.41.

"We went out there and had every intention of going down the track, but the Valvoline/shelor.com Dodge dropped a cylinder. It doesn't usually do that, so it was pretty surprising.

"We have a good race car, we qualified well, and qualifying No. 1 is great, but it's even better when you go rounds on race day. We got past the first round and did what we needed to there, and Jack was having problems in the other lane, too. I don't know if he tagged the wall or not, but he got pretty close. He said he might have tagged the headers, but it was after the finish line. So, we didn't luck out there, either.

"Stuff happens. These Funny Cars have a lot of variables and you never know what can cause it sometimes, but we'll go to the next race and see what happens," added Hagan, who is still seeking his first victory of his rookie season and is a contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner.

He did, however, leave this event holding both ends of the track record: 4.030-second elapsed time and 313.88 mph - the fastest speed in NHRA history racing to 1000 feet.

Next up is the 45th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 12-15.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman , Grant Downing , Matt Hagan