CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2014) - It's not easy being a drag racer. And things were tough for Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane Funny Car team on Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix.

Matt Hagan
Matt Hagan

Photo by: Todd Steitle

Hagan, who qualified No. 11 after struggling to make it down the track during three of four qualifying rounds, was ousted in the first round of Sunday's eliminations to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman's Dodge Charger R/T.

"There are no easy rounds out here and that showed today," Matt said. "We just got behind the eight-ball a little bit here and had some stuff going on with the car that took a few runs to get figured out.

"It seems to be fixed now but we had to back up so far to find it that the car wasn't running where it needed to be."

The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables posted a 4.135-second pass at 306 mph in the opening round of eliminations but it wasn't enough to beat Beckman's 4.057-second pass at 312 mph.

Venables is planning a Monday test session at Wild Horse Pass to get the Dodge Charger R/T back on track.

"We will go testing on Monday and keep pounding away at it and get it ready for Gainesville," Matt said. "There are a lot of races left so we can't hang our heads this early just because we had a bad race.

"I'm confident that Dickie will get this tune-up figured out and we'll come out swinging in Gainesville."