Brainerd: Matt Hagan preview

HAGAN HANGING ON THE EDGE OF COUNTDOWN HEADING INTO BRAINERD CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Aug. 11, 2009) - Matt Hagan is hanging on by a thread to 11th place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings, and his chances of making it into the Countdown to 1 ...

HAGAN HANGING ON THE EDGE OF COUNTDOWN HEADING INTO BRAINERD

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (Aug. 11, 2009) - Matt Hagan is hanging on by a thread to 11th place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings, and his chances of making it into the Countdown to 1 playoffs are strong. He's just six markers out of a spot on the list of the top 10 drivers who will contend for the title in the final six races, and he's banking on continuing his and the team's recent solid performances at this weekend's NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.

Fresh from scoring his first No. 1 qualifying position in Sonoma, Calif., three weekends ago, which followed two straight No. 3 qualifiers, the 26-year-old contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner is charged up for the battle in these last three events before the Countdown kicks in.

Driving the shelor.com Dodge Charger with the Valvoline Engine Guarantee program featured on its rear panel this weekend, Hagan will make his first visit to Brainerd. After spending these off-weeks back on his family's 500-acre Angus Cattle farm in Christiansburg, Va., where he baled hay, built fences, rode the Bobcat, and enjoyed time with his expecting wife Rachel and son Colby, he's ready to attack Brainerd's drag strip racing an 8000-horsepower Funny Car.

"I've never been to Brainerd, so it's going to be a new one for me," said Hagan, who has competed before in Reading, Pa., and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis (the final two events before the Countdown). "It will be interesting to see how our team steps up to make sure that we secure ourselves a place in the Countdown. That's very, very important to us.

"Obviously, it would have been great to have had some experience in Brainerd, but a lot of these tracks this year are new to me and I'm learning them as I go along. I feel like once I have a lap or two underneath my belt, I'll be good. It is such a tight chase to the Countdown for those of us aiming to make the top 10, narrowing down that learning curve will help.

"I'm just excited to be going racing again," he added. "We had a long break and I'm ready to get back at it. ESPN gave me a FLIP camera and I've been trying to film all my activities, which included competing in a fishing tournament, working on the farm and on some of my equipment. It's been kind of relaxing spending time with my family. Rachel had a big honey-do list for me so I've been trying to knock that out so that she would feel comfortable until the time comes for us to have our new baby girl (in September)."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hagan