ROOKIE MATT HAGAN BOWS OUT IN POMONA OPENING ROUND POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan had his first taste of competition driving the BrakeSafe Rear-End Collision Avoidance System Dodge Funny Car for Don...
ROOKIE MATT HAGAN BOWS OUT IN POMONA OPENING ROUND
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan had his first taste of competition driving the BrakeSafe Rear-End Collision Avoidance System Dodge Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing today at the NHRA Winternationals.
After qualifying 14th in only one qualifying round at the season-opening race of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Hagan squared off against Ashley Force Hood in the first round of eliminations after a four-hour rain delay. Under cool conditions and continuing threat of rain, Hagan and Force Hood launched with nearly identical reaction times. Hagan lost traction early, reaching the finish line in 7.981 seconds at 92.32 mph, while Force Hood posted a 4.334/303.43 to take the win.
"Basically, the BrakeSafe Dodge went out there and it struck the tires and I watched her flames go out and I thought maybe there's a chance I could catch her. I hit the throttle again and it went back up in smoke. It was a tricky race track out there.
"There were a lot of people struggling in the right lane and even on the left side they were having to pedal. It's just a situation where a lot of these guys haven't seen this cool of a track in a long time, so it made it tough for the driver and the crew chief.
"I'd have felt a whole lot better if we had won it. It's really great to be able to run against this caliber of drivers. We're going to have our ups and our downs. The biggest thing we can do right now is keep our heads up and roll into Phoenix and make sure the guys stay motivated because we're going to win some, we're going to lose some. We hope we win more than we lose so all we can do is get out here and keep trying."
The event was postponed until Monday after completing the Top Fuel and Funny Car elimination rounds because of rain.
Next up is the 25th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz.., Feb. 20-22.