Don Schumacher Racing press release
QUICK MATT HAGAN HOPES TESTING SUCCESS TRANSLATES INTO RACING SUCCESS AT U.S. NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS, August 30, 2011 – Matt Hagan turned the quickest lap during pre-race testing here last week which he hopes is indicative of the potential success his MOPAR/DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car will have this weekend at the 57th-annual U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.
The 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver flew down the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis drag strip in 4.055 seconds at 310.41 miles per hour Thursday, quickest of the Funny Cars during open nitro testing in advance of the “Big Go.”
“We made that run in good, cool conditions and we hope we can repeat it under similar ones when the action becomes real on Friday,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native about the first nitro qualifying session scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. “We’ve been running well in recent races, but we’re still working on a new combination. We’ll run it at Indy and Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) will continue to get data from it which will be crucial as he decides on the setup for the Countdown.
“We’ve stuck with this one because it has shown promise to run in the 0s, which it hasn’t yet at a race, but it has worked well in both cool and hot conditions.”
The combination has helped Hagan reach two semifinal and one final round in the last four races (with a photo-finish first-round loss in the other race by .003 seconds). He heads into this weekend solidly in the field for the Countdown to the Championship sitting fifth in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, but he would like to go deep on Sunday before the playoffs begin (at the next race in Charlotte, N.C.).
“Everybody gets pumped up for Indy, but for me, I want to win every race, to do well at every race,” he said. “We have to treat it as ‘just another race’ so we don’t get too pumped up; we have to stay on our game and not let the hype take over.
“Maybe some folks try too hard for this race which can get them in trouble. We just have to do our thing.”
Last year Hagan set a track elapsed-time record of 4.039 en route to his number-one qualifying position and a semifinal appearance on race day.
“We just try to do the best job we can every time we go to the starting line.”