HAGAN MAKES CHARGE TO SEMIFINALS IN GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Funny Car rookie Matt Hagan took out half of John Force Racing's Funny Car team today at the NHRA Gatornationals en route to his first semifinal finish in the...
HAGAN MAKES CHARGE TO SEMIFINALS IN GAINESVILLE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2009) - Funny Car rookie Matt Hagan took out half of John Force Racing's Funny Car team today at the NHRA Gatornationals en route to his first semifinal finish in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Prior to today's eliminations rounds, Hagan had only round win driving the Shelor.com Dodge in his first season with Don Schumacher Racing - at the last event in Phoenix.
First he dismissed JFR's Robert Hight in the opening round with a stout 4.146-second pass at 304.32 mph, then dismissed Ashley Force Hood in the quarterfinal with another consistent 4.171/297.61.
Hagan's semifinal round against Tony Pedregon produced a third outstanding pass, a 4.161/302.62, but Pedregon edged him out by .0431 of a second to grab the win with an elapsed time of 4.160 seconds at 300.60 mph.
"We're really excited to be able to go to the semifinals in our third race with DSR," said Hagan. "We're improving every round, every race, and I'm getting more comfortable in the car. The guys are doing such a great job. They're knocking it apart and putting it back together and I have so much confidence in my crew chief Tommy (DeLago).
"We were right there this weekend and I could taste the final round, but I just left a little bit on the tree and I think we might have left a little bit out there. But Tommy's got a real good handle on the car.
"We had a lot of issues to deal with, especially with our sponsorship. I'm not only learning to drive the car I have to worry about stuff like that, too. It really plays mind games with you a little bit.
"But when you get in the car and you're strapped in you just try to do the best that you can do, and do your job. We're real close to getting ourselves to the final round and maybe get a win. It's going to come in time."
As for his runs against the Force teams: "That was great. I had the butterflies against Robert. Not taking anything away from Ashley, but I grew up watching Robert on TV so I'm like, Man this cat's really beside me. So, being able to go out there and take him out and take out Ashley says so much about our DSR organization. It's first class, and when you can be a part of something like that it really makes you proud.
"Both Robert and Ashley came over to me," he added. "They're both great people. And they really do a terrific job out there and represent their whole camp very well and hopefully I can do as good a job representing DSR."
Next up is the 22nd annual NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas, March 27-29.