Gainesville: Matt Hagan Saturday notes

ROOKIE CONTENDER HAGAN DRIVES SHELOR.COM DODGE INTO NO. 7 IN GATORS QUALIFYING GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2009) - Matt Hagan made it clear that he was a rookie to be reckoned with as he rocked the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car into the No. 7 ...

ROOKIE CONTENDER HAGAN DRIVES SHELOR.COM DODGE INTO NO. 7 IN GATORS QUALIFYING

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14, 2009) - Matt Hagan made it clear that he was a rookie to be reckoned with as he rocked the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car into the No. 7 qualifying position at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway today.

The 26-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., set his quickest lap of 4.157 seconds at 299.66 mph in Friday's second round, which followed a tire-smoking 10.316/71.16 earlier in the day (No. 16). He completed the qualifying rounds today with a 4.618/183.37 (No. 5) and 4.223/297.94 (No. 7).

He will face Robert Hight in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

"I tell you what, it's great to be No. 7 and to be in the top half of the field," said Hagan, always with enthusiasm. "We have Robert Hight tomorrow and he's obviously always had a good race car. I think Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) has a good handle on the car and I feel really positive going into the race.

"The Gatorationals is one of NHRA'S bigger races, so there are lots of people out here. I have a lot of family members visiting as well. And we're having a lot of fun, but the track conditions are a little bit tricky. It's hot. The 110-115-degree track temperatures make it a little tricky to negotiate the race track, so you really have to be on top of it and not let the car get out of the groove because that will make a difference in whether you smoke the tires or not. If I can keep it in the groove then we'll be just fine tomorrow."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Robert Hight , Matt Hagan