Richmond: Matt Hagan final report

LOCAL RACER HAGAN UPSET IN RICHMOND OPENING ROUND DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 11, 2009) - After impressing his Christiansburg, Va., family and friends, who were here rooting him on at the NHRA Virginia Nationals, by qualifying No. 3 with a career-best...

LOCAL RACER HAGAN UPSET IN RICHMOND OPENING ROUND

DINWIDDIE, Va. (Oct. 11, 2009) - After impressing his Christiansburg, Va., family and friends, who were here rooting him on at the NHRA Virginia Nationals, by qualifying No. 3 with a career-best elapsed-time and top speed of 4.051 seconds and 309.49 mph, Hagan was upset in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations.

Driving the shelor.com Dodge Funny Car, the contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner was ready for a strong result en route to achieving his goal of winning his first event of his rookie season at Virginia Motorsports Park, just south of Richmond, Va.

But it wasn't to be, as he struck the tires early in the run against Del Worsham, which shook the car enough to deploy the parachutes, and Hagan was there for the taking. Worsham claimed the victory with a 4.108-second pass to Hagan's 5.686/103.31.

"We're not happy with that, by any means," said Hagan, who is not in the Countdown to 1 playoffs and remains in 12th place. "For this type of race car to go out there and run a 4.05 and be No. 3 qualifier, then go out first round is very, very disapponting to me as a driver, to our team and to our crew chief (Tommy DeLago).

"It's easy to get your head in the mud here, and you have to dig yourself back out. We only have two races left to win a race and we have to start looking at that.

"My goal is to get a Wally (winner's trophy named after NHRA founder Wally Parks) before the year is up and that's kind of slipping away. So, whatever we have to do, whether it's bite, kick, spit, grab or pinch, to get ourselves back up and running again on race days and quit smoking the tires, we have to do it. No ifs, ands or buts.

"We have two races left. We did well in Las Vegas earlier this year (first final round, runner-up), so hopefully we'll roll back in there and do well again." The final two events in Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif., will complete the season.

"We were too aggressive out there," he said of that run. "The track was a little hotter and we tried to run a really good number. We tried to run a 4.06 or 4.07 (-second elapsed time), and there's just no room for mistakes when the guy runs a 4.10 beside you.

"When you mess up, you go home, and that's what we did today."

Next up is the ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hagan