Matt Hagan Remains Confident Heading Into NHRA Northwest Nationals
Thanks to consistently solid runs in recent races by his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, driver Matt Hagan finds himself eager to compete in this weekend’s 24th-annual NHRA Northwest Nationals here at Pacific Raceways.
“I’m really excited about racing in Seattle,” said the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver. “We were strong in qualifying and on race day two weeks ago in Denver and again last weekend in Sonoma.
“Tommy DeLago (crew chief) has been making adjustments, trying out things and giving me a great race car these past two races and it feels terrific to be a real challenger each time out.
“Our performance has Tommy feeling even more confident in the car and I’m feeling more confident with every round about everything in this DieHard team.”
When qualifying begins on Friday (nitro scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT), the Christiansburg, Va. native will be in fifth place of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings. The top-10 drivers at the conclusion of the 16-race “regular season” will qualify for the six-race Countdown to 1.
“We’ve got to make sure we snag our spot, a good one, in the playoffs,” he explained. “With only three races left before they start, we’ve got to be consistent and go rounds to get this done. We want to be as close to the top as possible when the Countdown begins.”
The points are reset for the Countdown, with a 10-point gap between each of the second through 10th spots, while the leader will have a 20-point advantage over the second-place holder when the action begins following the Labor Day weekend U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
“We’re getting stronger as we get closer,” said Hagan. “Of course we want to win a race as soon as possible, but being prepared for the championship run is more important.
“Like I said, the DieHard car is running great. We had the car to beat in Denver and last week in Sonoma Cruz Pedregon just got by us in a very close race (Pedregon’s margin of victory - .003 seconds).
“But it’s all good and we’re really going great right now.”
By: don schumacher racing