ROOKIE HAGAN AVOIDS MISHAP IN MEMPHIS SECOND ROUND MEMPHIS (Oct. 5, 2009) - NHRA rookie Matt Hagan had a close call in the second round of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park today, after defeating...
ROOKIE HAGAN AVOIDS MISHAP IN MEMPHIS SECOND ROUND
MEMPHIS (Oct. 5, 2009) - NHRA rookie Matt Hagan had a close call in the second round of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park today, after defeating Cruz Pedregon in the opening stanza.
Driving the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/shelor.com Dodge, the contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner defeated one Pedregon brother in the first round with a pedaling effort of 4.314 seconds at 305.15 mph, then met up with brother Tony in the second round.
Soon after the pair launched from the starting lights, Pedregon had an engine explosion which catapulted the body off his car into the air and directly on to the center line. Despite that, Pedregon crossed the finish stripe first with a 5.224/127.70. Hagan attempted to avoid the debris, and followed with a 5.315/289.63.
Pedregon claimed the win, sans body, as neither the tire nor the chassis crossed the centerline, according to NHRA rules.
"I could see that body come up." explained Hagan, who remained 12th in the standings. "I was like, I need to get out of the way of this. I hate it for Tony, but I hate it for us.
"We've been trying to get down the race track all weekend. It's a tight race track out there. First lap we shook the tires and pedaled it, it came around, and we got that win. The graph said to tune it up, so Tommy went out there and tuned it up, and we might have been just a little over center and smoked the tires a little bit.
"Tony blew up really bad and I thought I could catch him right there at the end and it was close. I got back and asked, Who won, who won? I guess he got me right there at the stripe.
"There was so much going on, I was kind of watching the body, trying to get out of the way of all that carnage."
"We'll just move on to the next race and hopefully we can get a win before the year's up."
Next up is the Fourth Annual NHRA Virginia Nationals in Richmond, Va., Oct. 9-11.