Matt Hagan Takes On Mopar Mile-High Nationals In Mopar Livery Looking For Good Results
Matt Hagan hopes a second year driving the MOPAR/DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in this race will produce another successful day at the MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals here this weekend at Bandimere Speedway.
Last year, his first carrying the MOPAR livery, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver qualified first for the race, setting both low elapsed time and top speed of the event, en route to a semifinal finish where he dropped a close (.016-second differential) race to eventual-winner Robert Hight.
“I’m really pumped about returning to Denver in the MOPAR Funny Car,” said the Christiansburg, Va. resident who actively runs a cattle farm when not piloting a race car. “We had a really good showing there last year. The car sparked interest and we had fun with the entire MOPAR relationship and they seemed to enjoy it as well.”
According to Hagan, this race, which marks the start of the grueling Western Swing (consecutive weekends racing in Denver, Sonoma, Calif. and Seattle) is more important than simply having fun with his fans and sponsors.
“We really need to begin winning,” he said. “We’ve been down on our luck a bit, but we tested Monday (July 11) after the Joliet race and went down the track four times so we’re excited about getting back on the track. We tried a lot of new things on Monday and they stuck – and we ran well in the heat, which is going to be important in the coming races.”
Hagan comes to Colorado fifth in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings with just five races including the Western Swing remaining in the regular season before the start of the Countdown to One championship playoffs.
“This is a challenging series of races, especially this one,” he said. “The crew chiefs have to deal with the altitude and air, but at least we get it out of the way before going to the other two which are close to sea level.
“Doing three races like this takes its toll on the drivers and the crew guys, especially those, like me and my guys, from the East. We have to stay alert, pace ourselves and stay focused.
The 2010 runner-up in the Funny Car championship is focused on one thing as the series moves west – winning.
“People ask me how it would feel to win the Western Swing,” he explained. “We’re not thinking about that; we’re thinking about winning rounds and getting our first win. Once that happens, good things will continue.”
By: don schumacher racing