Gainesville: Matt Hagan final report

HAGAN SETS NATIONAL SPEED RECORD AT GATORS GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2010) - Polesitter Matt Hagan set the national top-speed record racing to 1000 feet today at the 41st NHRA Gatornationals when he ran 316.15 mph to win the opening round of...

HAGAN SETS NATIONAL SPEED RECORD AT GATORS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2010) - Polesitter Matt Hagan set the national top-speed record racing to 1000 feet today at the 41st NHRA Gatornationals when he ran 316.15 mph to win the opening round of Funny Car eliminations driving the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing.

The 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., backed up that record with the 313.58 mph he recorded during qualifying.

After defeating John Smith with a stunning 4.061/316.15 in the first round - the quickest and fastest pass of the day - he fell victim to eventual event winner Tim Wilkerson in the quarterfinal. The pair launched with identical reaction times, but Hagan struck the tires early, then pedaled it in an attempt to regroup. But his efforts fell short, as Wilkerson crossed the finish stripe first with a 4.094/307.86 to Hagan's losing 4.465/284.62.

"We always qualify very well," said a disappointed Hagan. "We just have to learn to put four runs together on race day. These cars have so many variables and it's easy to miss stuff, but I'm not trying to make any excuses.

"It shook, I pedaled it and he ran a really good lap beside me, an .09, which is one of his faster times of this weekend. (Co-crew chief) Tommy DeLago said the track got warmer and the DieHard car just didn't respond to the changes the team made.

"Setting the national speed record is awesome. There's no doubt in my mind on any given day we have one of the fastest race cars out here. We just have to put a couple of laps together and make that all come together. When that happens, watch out, because we're going to be somebody to really reckon with out here.

"We're so close to winning our first race," added Hagan, who is in his second full season of Funny Car competition. "We came away from this with a lot of positive data. It's great to have (new co-crew chief) John Medlen on board. He brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the team.

"We made some really nice laps this weekend, and I think we can take those and learn and pull from those and better ourselves for the four-wide race in Concord, N.C., coming up. We should see a lot of similar conditions in Concord because the weather is going to be kind of similar."

Hagan is now tied in fifth place in the points with Robert Hight.

Next up is the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C., March 25-28.

-source: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tim Wilkerson , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan