ROOKIE HAGAN EARNS QUALIFYING BONUS POINTS, TAKES NO. 10 IN TEXAS QUALIFYING ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2009) - Matt Hagan, steering the FRAM Tough Guard/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car to No. 10 in qualifying for the NHRA Fall Nationals, earned his...
ROOKIE HAGAN EARNS QUALIFYING BONUS POINTS, TAKES NO. 10 IN TEXAS QUALIFYING
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2009) - Matt Hagan, steering the FRAM Tough Guard/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car to No. 10 in qualifying for the NHRA Fall Nationals, earned his first bonus points since the NHRA instituted a new qualifying points system for the Countdown to 1 playoffs, for which all national-event competitors are eligible.
Hagan, 12th in the point standings and not vying for a championship in the playoffs, was the beneficiary of those points as the second quickest of the final round of qualifying. He posted a 4.233-second elapsed time at 292.08 mph in that pass, but his quickest lap of the weekend was a 4.207/294.75, which he established in Friday night's session.
His other passes included an opening 5.489/127.87 run (No. 11), and a 5.186/143.22 earlier today (No. 10).
"We got some extra points; that's great," said the contender for the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner. "But, it's hot out here. To learn how to get down this hot race track we really had to pull the car back and do some wild things out there.
"I'm really impressed with Tommy (DeLago, crew chief). He's been really stepping up his game here the last couple of races," added Hagan, who was runner-up in Concord, N.C., last Sunday. "We kind of struggled a little bit earlier in the season and Tommy's putting a real good race car under me now. All I have to do is go out there and drive it."
Hagan, who is awaiting the birth of his second child, daughter Penny Louise, any day, will face his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations. "Obviously, I don't want to run Jack tomorrow," he said. "But I have to take him out, and we have to try to move on to the next round. Jack is going to try to take me out, because he's hunting a championship (No. 6 in the playoffs).
"We'll just roll up there and the best man is going to win it. I just want to go out there and have fun with it tomorrow and have no worries. We'll go up there and I'm going to try to leave on Jack and I'm sure Jack will try to leave on me."