MATT HAGAN READY TO BREAK OUT AT THIS WEEKEND’S ENGLISHTOWN RACE
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – Matt Hagan believes the time is coming for his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team to turn things around and this weekend’s 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals here at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park would be a good time to start.
According to last season’s runner up in the Funny Car championship, staying the course will result in success.
“The DieHard car has not opened up yet,” said the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver. “The biggest thing for us is to stay positive; we still have a lot of races ahead of us (15 remain in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, nine in the “regular” season, six in the Countdown to 1 playoffs).
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up and keep our composure and, hopefully, I can do my part and win one for this DieHard team.”
As the season comes into the hot-weather months the DieHard team returns to last year’s setup by crew chief Tommy DeLago.
“We’ll stick with the combination which gave us so much success in the past,” he explained. “We need to get some solid runs in the 00s.”
Hagan comes to Englishtown in fifth place of the Funny Car standings, trailing Mike Neff, DSR teammate Jack Beckman, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon (respectively).
Known as a fast track when the weather conditions cooperate, Hagan thinks Englishtown could be the place to challenge the national elapsed-time record, 4.011 seconds, he established last year in Maple Grove, Pa.
“If we get conditions Tommy likes, I’ll have to pull my seatbelt down tighter,” Hagan said. “We might just shoot for that record!
Regardless of the record potential for this weekend’s Garden State race, Hagan is happy to be behind the wheel of the 8,000-horsepower hot rod. Since the Topeka race, where Hagan lost a “pedalfest” to eventual race winner Robert Hight in the second round, he has been cutting hay on the farm in preparation for the winter.
“I’m excited about getting back to racing,” said the cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va. “I’m exhausted from the last two weeks of farm work; racing is like my vacation.
“We cut and rolled 478 (four-foot-by-five-foot) bales of hay.”