Matt Hagan to defend his Englishtown title

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Defending Englishtown event winner Hagan hopes to repeat 2013 performance of Mopar Express Lane team this weekend

There's no denying that it has been a rough eight NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events this season for 2011 Funny Car champion Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team.

After reaching the final round in the February season-opener in Pomona, Calif., the team has advanced past the second round of eliminations only once and that was two weeks ago near Atlanta.

Hagan and the team led by crew chief Dickie Venables lost in the first round Sunday in the Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

"It's definitely not been a good start for us," Matt said. "There's no way around it. We're in a stretch of races where it's very important to get round wins and get momentum going. We're finishing up three in a row this weekend and then we have one week off before it's four in a row.

"You can't get stuck in a slump during these summer races. I have all the faith in Dickie and the guys on this team to get it turned around. It isn't for lack of effort, these guys have been working really hard and it's easy to get down but you just have to stay positive and keep your head up."

Venables has a great page of data from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in his notebook after qualifying No. 1 qualifier and winning the event title at Englishtown a year ago.

"We definitely had a good outing there last season and we're going to try and do that again," Matt said. "I have no doubt in my mind that we can get the job done this weekend. Once we get a couple round wins under our belt and get momentum going we'll be fine. It's just time to turn the corner and get that job done.

"This team needs a get-healthy weekend and this is the time to do it."

DSR

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Series NHRA
Article type Preview
Tags don schumacher racing, englishtown, funny car, matt hagan