Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN TAKES SECOND POLE OF 2011 AT 30TH-ANNUAL LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS
BRAINERD, Minn., August 20, 2011 – Matt Hagan today secured his second pole of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, putting his Freightliner/DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in the top-spot for Sunday’s 30th-annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals here at Brainerd International Raceway.
The 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver banked a blistering 4.101-second lap at 303.57 miles per hour in Friday’s second session to earn a first-round match in final eliminations against 16th-qualifier Tony Pedregon.
“It really doesn’t matter who’s in the other lane or who we have to race,” explained Hagan, who was the number-one qualifier in the season’s second race at Gainesville, Fla. “We know Tony, who’s fighting for a spot in the playoffs, will go out and try anything he can to beat us, but we just have to race the race track, race our race.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll take Tony or any other driver lightly, it just means we have to remain focused on doing our job without worrying about somebody else.”
It will be the first meeting this season between the two veteran drivers who are on different paths as the regular season evolves into a six-race Countdown to 1 playoff for the Funny Car championship.
Hagan comes into this race a solid fifth in the Funny Car standings, Pedregon 12th, with the top-10 drivers at the conclusion of the next race (Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis) qualifying for the playoffs.
“Even though we’ve already clinched a spot in the Countdown, this is an important weekend,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native. “Tommy DeLago (crew chief) is still perfecting our setup and getting ready for the playoffs – and his ability to do so came through in this number-one qualifying run.
“And we’d really like to get a win under our belts. The team has been doing a great job, giving me a great race car – we just haven’t gotten to the winner’s circle. I won’t talk about luck because we haven’t had any this year. So we won’t look to be lucky; we’ll just work hard to earn our successes.”