Topeka: Matt Hagan final report

HAGAN DEFEATED BY TEAMMATE CAPPS ON A HOLESHOT TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - With a track temperature hovering close to the 110-degree mark for Sunday morning's first round of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park...

HAGAN DEFEATED BY TEAMMATE CAPPS ON A HOLESHOT

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 31, 2009) - With a track temperature hovering close to the 110-degree mark for Sunday morning's first round of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, and not yet as hot as on Saturday, Matt Hagan faced off against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

The pair hauled down the 1000-foot drag strip under full power, but it was Capps first across the finish line, winning on a holeshot advantage with a slower 4.280-second pass at 284.09 mph to Hagan's quicker but losing 4.274/288.27. Margin of victory: .0167 of a second. Reaction times: .107 for Hagan, .085 for Capps.

"Going up for that run we knew the race track was probably going to be tricky and we had to make a lot of big changes last night," said Hagan, NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender and driver of the Shelor.com Dodge. "Like (crew chief) Tommy DeLago always does, he put a good race car underneath me. He and the Shelor.com crew had to make some big decisions last night to try to go down this race track. They definitely made all the right calls and we went down the track.

"Running a guy like Ron is just great because he always does his thing and you don't have to worry about someone playing head games. I was a little late getting in to stage. I was just trying to get in there shallow so we could try to get lane choice next run. I have to apologize to Ron for being a little late getting my second bulb on.

"It was a good race. Like Tommy said, it just didn't turn in our favor, we lost up there by a nose. I never saw him but I didn't see my win light come on either. So, I was asking, What happened, guys? over the radio, and they just said we got beat on a holeshot. It feels like someone ripped your guts out when they tell you that over the radio.

"We just have to keep our heads up and move forward. Tommy has been making some big changes and he's starting to get a handle back on the car, and for these conditions that we had this weekend - it was pretty rough - it says a lot for our team to come up there first round and go down the track. The track was really good compared to what we saw the rest of the weekend.

"We ended up having two first-round losses in a row and we're not used to that. We're definitely used to going down the track and winning the first round, so I think it's going to be a testament to these Shelor.com guys if they can keep their heads up and win the next race in Chicago. If we can at least win the first round and go some more rounds after that, it would be great."

Hagan is now seventh in the points rankings, 73 markers out of fifth place.

Next up is the NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., June 5-7.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Matt Hagan