Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN REACHES SEMIFINALS OF 57TH-ANNUAL U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS, September 5, 2011 – Matt Hagan today drove his MOPAR/DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the third round of the 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil here at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Coming out of the number-four starting position, Hagan opened final eliminations by defeating Tim Wilkerson with his quickest run of the weekend at 4.066 seconds with a top speed of 308.14 miles per hour.
He followed that up with a quarterfinal victory over Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, matching his earlier performance with a 4.066-second run (at 315.05 mph!).
The semifinals pitted the 28-year-old Christiansburg, Va. native against eventual-winner Mike Neff, who held lane choice for the encounter, which proved to be a crucial advantage.
“The car had been running well throughout the weekend, but losing lane choice to Neff hurt us,” Hagan explained. “As the day went on, it became a one-lane race track and we ended up smoking the tires in the semis.
“It was great going rounds, though, and qualifying like we did (4.071 at 309.13).”
Hagan finished the 16-race “regular” 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season sixth in the Funny Car standings. This means he will travel to Concord (N.C.) for the beginning of the Countdown to the Championship at the September 15-18 NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway 70 points behind points leader Neff.
“We wanted to move up in the standings for a better spot at the start of the Countdown,” the DSR driver said. “But, the reality is we are now closer to Mike than we were at the beginning of the weekend.
“That is the great thing about the Countdown – with the points being reset, every one of the top-10 drivers who make the playoffs have a real chance to win the championship – keep in mind that a couple of years ago Robert Hight won from the 10th spot!
“We’re going to Charlotte on a quest to win that championship. We’re going with a great car, one that really hauls!”