Hagan will race DSR teammate Capps in first round of eliminations
The Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car of Matt Hagan didn't have a spectacular qualifying outing for the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway.
But crew chief Dickie Venables feels he has a better handle on the tune-up of the Rocky Dodge after four rounds of qualifying on the tricky race track that combined with muggy weather conditions compounded the complexity of racing 10,000-horsepower race cars.
The first qualifying run on Friday was a challenge to nitro teams and Venables chose a conservative tune-up for the typically quick Friday night session. But the track proved to be better than most teams thought.
"It was such a challenge the first run and it got so much better Friday night we were just off on the set up on the second run and it shook the tires," Venables said. "We way underestimated it Friday night.
"Today there were kind of two sessions in one because of the oil down in the first session and we were in the good part of the session but we didn't really run that well. We made a lot of headway in our clutch department with what we learned."
Hagan, who scored his first career NHRA win at Royal Purple Raceway four years ago, is hoping to earn his second career Houston win on Sunday and park the Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T in the Winner's Circle for the first time in their two-year partnership with Matt and Don Schumacher Racing.
"We didn't have a great qualifying outing but I think Dickie really learned a lot for Sunday and that's important," Hagan said. "I'd love to get back in the Winner's Circle here and really want to get a win for all the folks at Rocky Boots.
"I've been at their midway display all weekend and it's been a blast. The fans just love the car and it's cool to hear them say that. I just can't wait to send a Wally trophy back to Rocky headquarters in Ohio."
Sunday's NHRA SpringNationals eliminations begin at 11 a.m. and Matt will race Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the opening round.
"We definitely never want to race our teammate in the first round on Sunday but it happens," Hagan added. "There's no doubt that it's going to be a good race. It's been a packed house here and hopefully everybody comes back out tomorrow for a great show and we're racing late into the day."
Don Schumacher Racing