Funny Car champ Matt Hagan finds a new way to turn his season around
Mired in the 13th spot in the standings, reigning NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan is not having the kind of season to which he is accustomed in 2012. With just four elimination-round wins to his credit this year and the prospect of missing the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship staring him right in the face – Hagan did what any young man would do to release some frustration.
He climbed into a Monster Truck and crushed some defenseless cars.
Hagan took the opportunity to drive the Virginia Giant truck on the Fourth of July at Shelor Motor Mile Speedway in Salem, Virginia, jumping a half-dozen cars and rolling his new mount over a few others.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and it was really cool,” Hagan said. “It’s a real honor for someone to give you the keys to their hot rod and let you take it out. It’s nice that people recognize what we’ve done out here with Don Schumacher Racing and give us a chance to do some things like this.”
Before destroying some cars on the Fourth, he spent some time on his 1,000-acre farm prior to leaving for this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio clearing his land – and clearing his mind.
“Yeah we had a lot of trees down after some storms and we have 300 cows to take care of, so that keeps me pretty busy when I get a chance to spend some time there,” Hagan reported. “But getting out there on the tractor really gives you a chance to relax, and sometimes you need it because this can be a real stressful deal.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and it was really cool. It’s a real honor for someone to give you the keys to their hot rod and let you take it out.
“You put your head on the chopping block every weekend and once in a while you need to get away from it,” continued Hagan. “I still think about the race car and the team when I am at the farm, but if you don’t get away from it once in a while, you become unable to see the forest through the trees.”
Clearing the mind can only help things for the Hagan effort this year as the team searches for a reason why it is yet to earn even a semifinal berth this season in a tough Funny Car class. The Aaron’s/Mopar Dodge Charger has qualified in the top five in just two of the season’s first 11 events, after earning four number-one spots in each of the last two seasons.
“It’s heartbreaking for us this year,” said Hagan. “If we don’t get it going soon, we’re going to be on the outside (of the Countdown) looking in and that’s not acceptable to me, the team, the owners and the sponsors. Basically, everything is the same this year and our whole team has been pushing really hard, but we just haven’t put it all together. It’s hard because the guys are working hard every week, and we don’t always have the answers to tell them why we aren’t having success. But we will keep working and doing everything we can to get this car up where it should be.”
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