Commerce: Matt Hagan final report

HAGAN FALLS OUT IN SECOND ROUND IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - After Matt Hagan defeated reigning NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Southern ...

HAGAN FALLS OUT IN SECOND ROUND IN ATLANTA

COMMERCE, Ga. (April 19, 2009) - After Matt Hagan defeated reigning NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Southern Nationals, he was felled by brother Tony Pedregon in the second stanza.

Hagan's victory over Cruz using a stout 4.114-second pass at 303.84 mph earned him lane choice against Tony, but it was not an advantage as Tony led him to the finish line grabbing the win with a 4.110/308.57 to Hagan's losing 4.126/306.12. Margin of victory: .0664 of a second.

With that, Hagan fell from second to fourth in the points rankings, but is well within striking distance of the top four.

"We have a good race car in this Shelor.com Dodge," said a disappointed but upbeat Hagan. "Tony's got a good race car, too; that's why it's drag racing. We're trying to figure out how to get everything together and fine tune everything a little bit so we can come out next race and hopefully throw out some serious numbers.

"It was a pretty straightforward run. We went up to the starting lights and there was no playing around. We just went right on in. He ran an .11, I ran a .12 . I saw him as we got close to the finish line and he started pulling away and I said, Wow, it's just one of those days.

"I feel very confident with Tommy (DeLago, crew chief). The car is fast, we're qualifying well, and we're at the front of the pack all the time. Sometimes you just get beat and that's what happened today. We just got beat all the way around. He beat us on the tree and beat us on the race track.

"Sometimes you have to lick your wounds and go back home and get a new game plan together."

As for his win over Cruz: "Cruz is the champion. You have to respect him for that," said Hagan. "He is a great competitor, has a great race car, and I have a lot of respect for Cruz. We just went up there to race and he had some trouble with tire smoke, which allowed us to advance to the next round to race his brother Tony. Everything went very smoothly in that race."

Next up is the 13th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis, Mo., May 1-3.

Unofficial Funny Car point standings will be issued once the final round of today's event is completed. As of 7:30 p.m. ET it is on hold because of rain. Ashley Force Hood and Jack Beckman will vie for the title.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Ashley Force , Matt Hagan