Pomona II: Matt Hagan preview

POINTS LEADER HAGAN HAPPY TO BE IN THE HUNT CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Nov. 9, 2010) - In only his second full season competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan is happy to be in the championship ...

POINTS LEADER HAGAN HAPPY TO BE IN THE HUNT

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Nov. 9, 2010) - In only his second full season competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan is happy to be in the championship hunt.

The 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Virginia leads 14-time Funny Car champion John Force by 37 points as the 2010 season comes to an end at this weekend's 46th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif.

Racing the DieHard Dodge Charger, Hagan is two rounds of competition ahead of John Force (20 points per round win). But there are many variables, including qualifying position (eight points for No. 1), qualifying bonus points earned (12 total available for the quickest driver in each of four rounds), plus the opportunity to earn 20 bonus points for setting a national elapsed-time record. Bottom line: anything can happen!

"I feel really good about everything," said Hagan, whose consistent finishes this year, plus setting a national ET record during the Countdown, have earned him the top spot. He has three national-event victories to Force's five. "It's the end of the year and I'm excited to be in the championship hunt. We're still leading the points, which is huge, and leading is a lot better than following coming into the final race, so I'm excited about that.

"My family is going to be with me in Pomona, so I'm looking forward to spending some time with them. It's just been a great year. Hopefully we finish strong.

"No matter what happens, we can't lose sight of how much progress we've made this year. This is the team that in our rookie season last year struggled to try to make the Countdown. And now we're in a position where we've really got a legitimate shot to win the championship.

"There are only four rounds of racing left and John Force has to make up half of those on me, and that's huge. But I know how determined he is, but so are we.

"It's easy to get wrapped up in this championship, but I think the big picture is that this DieHard Dodge team has taken huge steps forward in a short amount of time. And we've all grown together well and are working together well.

"We've been to three finals in a row and that's tough to do in a Funny Car. I'm just really proud of the DieHard guys. I'm proud of all the work they're doing and I'm proud of (crew chief) Tommy DeLago. He's really come into his own as a crew chief and he's doing a great job. This thing will fall where it falls, but we sure hope it falls our way."

-source: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Matt Hagan