Haddock Clinches IHRA Funny Car World Championship at the Rock Rockingham, NC (Oct. 19, 2008) -- Lend America Funny Car driver Terry Haddock claimed the 2008 IHRA Nitro Funny Car world championship Sunday by defeating rookie Matt Hagan in the...
Haddock Clinches IHRA Funny Car World Championship at the Rock
Rockingham, NC (Oct. 19, 2008) -- Lend America Funny Car driver Terry Haddock claimed the 2008 IHRA Nitro Funny Car world championship Sunday by defeating rookie Matt Hagan in the first round of eliminations at the 13th annual IHRA World Finals this weekend at Rockingham Dragway.
After qualifying No. 1 as the only racer in the four-second zone and almost two-tenths of a second ahead of the closest racer, Haddock said his confidence was high heading into eliminations, but the pressure of facing Hagan in round one was enormous.
"When I pulled to the line against Matt, I was stressed out," Haddock said. "I knew it wasn't completely on the line, but this was my shot at putting him away and wrapping the whole thing up. I wanted to do everything right, just like we had so many times this season, so that was what I focused on, and the results are in the history books."
When the lights climbed down the Christmas tree, Haddock took off and never looked back. Leading the whole way, the Woodville, Wash.-resident decisively took the stripe, 5.053/284.03 to Hagan's 5.703/184.25.
"I can't thank my family, sponsors and crew enough for getting my here -- we all have earned this together. The crew has been with me through thick and thin, rain and shine, and they are the ones who put me in a car that could win rounds and races.
"On top of that, Lend America and Mike Ashley have been an incredible support, and Mike is such an amazing mentor and friend. He called me right after the race and told me how proud he was to have me on the Lend America team, and then said, 'now go enjoy the win. You've earned every second of it.'
"We've had so many fine sponsors also help us along the way -- DJ Safety and Aircat Pneumatic tools, Red Line Oil, Race Girl and so many more. Without their support, we would never have gotten here," he said.
After clinching the championship and getting the 'weight of the world' off his shoulders, Haddock prepared to take on John Lawson in round two, with hopes of doubling up and winning the race. Those hopes, however, were dashed when the blower separated from the engine, sheering every retaining stud and ending the champion's day.
"We were just so relaxed and relieved after we clinched the championship that we probably didn't check things as closely as we should have and it just blew apart about half-way down the track. I wasn't too worried, though, because we came to do what we had to do, and we were successful in making that happen," Haddock said.
"Winning the world championship hasn't really hit me yet -- I'll probably be able to think about it tomorrow, but for now, I'm just kind of numb. This is a dream come true, and I've got so much to be thankful for, so many people who have helped me -- it just has to become real in my head."
Haddock and crew will have several weeks for the reality to sink in before they are officially awarded the championship at the Nitro Jam Awards Banquet November 15 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio.