Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN REACHES QUARTERFINALS IN TODAY’S AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS
Closes in on Countdown to the Championship lead
ENNIS, TEXAS, September 25, 2011 – Matt Hagan drove his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to a key first-round victory in today’s 26th-annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals here at the Texas Motorplex to close to within two points of the lead in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
Coming out of the 11th-qualifying position which meant a loss of lane choice on a hot, tricky and sensitive track, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver to eliminate current points leader Mike Neff in a tight side-by-side first round race.
Hagan grabbed a .026-second advantage at the Christmas Tree and then blasted down the 1,000-foot strip in 4.172 seconds at 302.14 miles per hour for the hole-shot victory. Neff, despite his quicker 4.151-second lap could not run down the Christiansburg, Va. native.
Although his day ended in the quarterfinals, the 2010 championship runner-up still felt it had been a productive day.
“The DieHard team struggled throughout the weekend, first in qualifying and then in the second round,” explained Hagan, disappointed by his loss to Melanie Troxel in round two. “We have a better car than we showed against Melanie; we just didn’t get it done. I pedaled and almost caught her, but it wasn’t to be.
“But putting things into perspective, we cut 18 points off Zippy’s (Neff) lead heading into Reading (Pa.).”
Hagan heads to Maple Grove Raceway for next weekend’s 27th-annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals in second place, four points – less than one round – behind Neff and three ahead of Cruz Pedregon, who won today’s race. According to Hagan, who set an elapsed-time record (4.011) there during last year’s race (which he broke last week in Charlotte with a 3.995-second lap, the first sub-four-second pass at 1,000 feet), performances could be way up when compared to this weekend at the Texas Motorplex, where track temperatures on Sunday soared into the triple digits.
“We’ve got great data from Reading and if it is cool, we could see some terrific runs,” he said. “We made some great headway this weekend, but I’m greedy. You have to be greedy every weekend and we are - we want to win every round and set every record – that’s what you need to get the championship.”