Déjà vu would be great for Matt Hagan at this weekend’s Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals
MOHNTON, Pa., September 27, 2011 – Matt Hagan, driver of the DieHard Advanced Gold Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car would like to leave here Sunday night following the 27th annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals the same way he did after last year’s race – holding first place in the Countdown to the Championship standings.
You have to be greedy and go for everything this time of the year.
Last year at Maple Grove Raceway the Don Schumacher Racing driver used a record-setting run (4.011 seconds) to qualify on the pole and a runner-up finish to move around John Force. This year, the 29-year-old flopper pilot comes to Southeastern Pennsylvania four points – less than a round – behind Force’s teammate Mike Neff.
“We made progress and closed the gap last week in Dallas when we beat Zippy (Neff) in the first round,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native. “But we let an opportunity slip away by going out in the second round.”
A return to the hills of Southeastern Pennsylvania renews the team’s optimism.
“I hope it cools down this weekend, which it’s supposed to do, because Tommy has some great data for Maple Grove,” explained Hagan, who broke his national record earlier this month by running 3.995 seconds in Charlotte, the first sub-four-second 1,000-foot lap in history. “We could go for it again; those 20 bonus points would be a great thing to add to our total.
“You have to be greedy and go for everything this time of the year. You have to grab every advantage if you want to win the championship and that is exactly what we are gunning for.”
Hagan picked up his first win of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season at the Charlotte event – first of six Countdown races – which had moved him from sixth to second in the standings around DSR teammates Ron Capps and Jack Beckman as well as Cruz Pedregon.