Don Schumacher Racing press release
Matt Hagan grabs first win of 2011in NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway
Record-setting weekend for DSR Funny Car driver
CONCORD, N.C., September 18, 2011 – Aboard his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Matt Hagan put together a record-setting three-days here en route to his first victory of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season in the fourth-annual NHRA Nationals here at zMAX Dragway.
The 28-year-old Don Schumacher driver accumulated 147 (out of a possible 150), the most for any Funny Car driver in a single event, which included 20 bonus points for setting the elapsed-time record and became the first flopper pilot to break the four-second barrier with a 3.995-second lap in Friday-night qualifying, which earned him his third pole of the year. In addition, he recorded the fastest 1,000-foot Funny Car lap at 322.27 miles per hour, the first 320-plus in history.
Whenever you strap into a car tuned by Tommy, you have to pull your straps tight because you know you’re going for a ride.
The win, on the strength of a final-round victory against season-long points leader Mike Neff, propelled Hagan into second place, from sixth, of the Countdown to the Championship standings with five races left in the season.
“I’m still floating after seeing my name (and national e.t.-record numbers) on the wall here at zMAX,” the elated driver told a post-race media group. “When you have a group of guys behind you like I do, Tommy DeLago (crew chief), Glen Huszar (assistant crew chief) and the rest of the DieHard team, you can do great things.
“I can’t say enough about how smart Tommy is. I just try to do my job – leave on time and keep the car in the groove.”
Coming out of the number-one starting spot, Hagan posted a 4.018-second lap at 322.27 mph in racing past John Smith in the first round. He next took out Cruz Pedregon with a run of 4.054 at 316.38 mph. The semifinal win against DSR teammate Jack Beckman came on a 4.083 pass at 318.69 (with Beckman’s 4.090 at 317.79 mph making this the fastest Funny Car round in history).
Hagan ran 4.130 at 301.07 mph to defeat Neff, 4.431 at 202.79, in the finals to gain his first winner’s circle appearance since last year’s race in Ennis, Texas (which is the next stop on the circuit).
“I know I keep talking about Tommy as the mad scientist, but he blew me away again today when he made adjustments after the burnout for the first round when the sun had come out,” said Hagan about the run which backed up the e.t. record and earned the bonus points. “He never does that, but, obviously today, it made a difference.
“Whenever you strap into a car tuned by Tommy, you have to pull your straps tight because you know you’re going for a ride.
“We hope to take our momentum and karma to Texas (next weekend’s 26th-annual AAA Texas NHRA Nationals at the Texas Motorplex outside Dallas), repeat last year’s win and keep working towards a championship.”