Topeka: Matt Hagen preview

HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA ANOTHER NEW VENUE FOR ROOKIE HAGAN CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (May 27, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner Matt Hagan is checking off new venues on his list as he competes in his first full season of the NHRA Full Throttle...

HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA ANOTHER NEW VENUE FOR ROOKIE HAGAN

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (May 27, 2009) - NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner Matt Hagan is checking off new venues on his list as he competes in his first full season of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series driving the Shelor.com Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing. This weekend's NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.) is the next on his list.

Hagan, the Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., has had strong results so far this season: one runner-up, one semifinal, four quarterfinals and a 9-7 round-win record. And, despite a first-round mechanical problem at Bristol Dragway last week, he stands sixth in the rankings.

"I've never been to Topeka and I've never even seen what the track looks like, so it will be a whole new experience for me," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm always glad to go learn new tracks.

"Every one of these new tracks for me has been a little bit different. Some of them are tricky to get down and others are just really nice and easy. You never know what you're going to get until you get there, but that's what makes it exciting."

As for getting advice from his Don Schumacher Racing teammates, "I haven't yet, but I plan on talking to Ron Capps and (crew chief) Tommy DeLago when I get there," he said. "I am so busy working on the farm between races that I don't often get time to talk with my team or teammates. I'll just have to get to the track, talk to the guys, and go out there and learn it myself, first-hand.

"I don't know if Heartland Park has a long or short shutdown area, or if it's a great place to race or it's a crummy place to race, but I'll be finding out in a couple of days.

"It was wonderful that we didn't lose our points position after our problem in the first round in Bristol," added the 26-year-old of his starting line shutdown after the crew discovered a broken oil line. "We're very, very surprised about that. Some drivers who were ahead of me moved a little bit farther ahead, but we were glad to see we didn't fall backwards. You just have to take advantage of every opportunity and maybe we can produce some round wins this weekend and move into a better position."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan