HAGAN HANGS ON TO NO. 1 IN VEGAS
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 31, 2009) - Matt Hagan held on to the No. 1 qualifying position for the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today through two more qualifying rounds and will face Grant Downing in the opening round of Sunday's Funny Car eliminations. This is his second No. 1 of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle season.
After posting a track-record-setting 4.030-second elapsed time at 313.88 mph on Friday to establish the fastest speed in NHRA history racing to 1000 feet, Hagan drove the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car to another stout run in the heat of the day in today's third session to set a round-quick pass of 4.153 seconds at 305.08 mph.
In the final qualifying session, under the lights, the contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner lost traction in the left lane and coasted to a 10.508/72.36. He held on to the top spot and ended two days of qualifying having earned six bonus qualifying points.
"We've had a great weekend so far and the only way we can top this off is with a win tomorrow," said Hagan, who has two runner-up finishes this season, including his first here at The Strip in April. "We have a good team, a good car, and we showed that we could run down there in the heat this morning. We have a good tune-up and I think that's what Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) is going to do tomorrow. He's going to go right back to what we had this morning and put that in there - it's pretty safe - and [hopefully] go right down the track."
Hagan could set a national speed record if he backs up his 313.88-mph lap (no bonus points are available for a speed record). "Whether we back it up or not it's a record to me to be able to go that fast, and to hang on to something like that is pretty awesome," he said.
"But, hopefully we'll just go out there and get the win light to turn on. That's my main goal. And I know the guys that are wrenching on the car, it's their goal too. So, that's what our focus is this weekend: go some rounds, and hopefully get to the final and win one of these things."