HAGAN OUSTED BY TEAMMATE BECKMAN IN TEXAS OPENING ROUND ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 27, 2009) - Matt Hagan, piloting the FRAM Tough Guard/shelor.com Funny Car, was ousted by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round of Funny...
HAGAN OUSTED BY TEAMMATE BECKMAN IN TEXAS OPENING ROUND
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 27, 2009) - Matt Hagan, piloting the FRAM Tough Guard/shelor.com Funny Car, was ousted by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations at the NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex today.
Beckman, vying for the Funny Car championship in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, faced off against Hagan, who is not in the playoffs but is still seeking his first victory of the season after reaching two final rounds. Hagan is also a contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner.
Each driver had a strong reason to win that round. Beckman, as the No. 7 qualifier, had the edge and lane choice over No. 10 qualifier Hagan. They were the first pair up to the starting line and had yet to learn that the right lane would end up being the eliminator of everyone who ran in it in the first round. (In fact, only one car all day won a round in the right lane.) There was evidence, however, as each car in that lane in first-round Top Fuel eliminations, which were contested first, was also sent packing.
Hagan took the lead at the starting lights, with an .083 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Beckman's .118. But a loss of traction half-way down the 1000-foot race track was Hagan's demise, as he slowed across the finish line to post a 5.704-second elapsed time at 124.03 mph. Beckman took the win with a 4.241/292.77.
"We did our best and so did (crew chief) Tommy DeLago," said Hagan, "but it was another hot day today and the right lane just didn't take much at all. We wanted to win that one, but if we didn't, then I'm glad my teammate did. I'm heading home to my wife Rachel as we get ready for our daughter Penny Louise to be born."
Said DeLago: "There wasn't one car that won out of the right lane in Top Fuel or Funny Car and not one Funny car even made it down the right lane without smoking the tires out there.
"We didn't know. We were first pair of Funny Cars, so we actually thought we were erring on the conservative side. The track was 15 degrees cooler than Q4 and we left it alone from Q4 just trying to go down the track. The computer data actually shows that it was more gripped in until it got to that bad spot in the track and it just came loose."
Hagan holds on to 12th place in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series point standings.
Next up is the 22nd annual NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Oct. 2-4, 2009.