POINTS LEADER HAGAN STAYING CALM AS NHRA SEASON BEGINS TO WIND DOWN IN VEGAS CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Oct. 26, 2010) - Second-year full-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series racer Matt Hagan finds himself in a lofty position for the first time...
POINTS LEADER HAGAN STAYING CALM AS NHRA SEASON BEGINS TO WIND DOWN IN VEGAS
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Oct. 26, 2010) - Second-year full-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series racer Matt Hagan finds himself in a lofty position for the first time in his short pro NHRA career as he faces the 2010 season's final two races. He's 64 points ahead of 14-time Funny Car champion John Force in the rankings as the series heads to the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the penultimate race of the year.
That's more than three rounds of racing, with just eight rounds left before the season sees the checkered flag at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 11-14. Racing the DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, Hagan is staying unusually calm for a 27-year-old.
"We're just going to treat it like any other race," said Hagan, who will spend this Wednesday celebrating his son Colby's 4th birthday at the family farm in Christiansburg, Va., before he travels to Las Vegas. "It would be nice to be able to jump up and down and say we've got something wrapped up, but we're far from wrapping anything up.
"We've had a steady race car, a good race car, and we've gradually gained points all year long to get into the position we're in right now. We just have to keep doing that, keep our heads on straight, and not do anything crazy or stupid.
"It has a lot to do with fate, and a lot to do with a lot of things," added Hagan, who will be racing in his 50th career NHRA national event, while Force will be competing in his 564th. "We have a bunch of good guys on the DieHard Dodge team, and they're working hard. (Crew chief) Tommy DeLago and (assistant crew chief) Glenn Huszar have been doing an outstanding job tuning the car this year. We're just going to go out and have some good solid racing and some fun.
"All this talk about being a champion can get you up there on cloud nine, but you just have to come back to earth, strap yourself into one of these nitro-burning cars, mash on the pedal, and have some fun."