HAGAN SNAGS NO. 1 IN GATORNATIONALS QUALIFYING GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2010) - Matt Hagan, driving the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, claimed his first No. 1 of the season and the third of his short two-year ...
HAGAN SNAGS NO. 1 IN GATORNATIONALS QUALIFYING
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2010) - Matt Hagan, driving the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, claimed his first No. 1 of the season and the third of his short two-year full-time career today at the 41st annual NHRA Gatornationals.
He posted a track-record-setting top speed of 313.58 mph and ran a 4.060-second lap to grab the top spot because of speed. Robert Hight, in second, recorded the same elapsed time. Hagan’s two other laps during the rain-shortened qualifying sessions were a 4.104/304.12 (No. 4) on Friday, and a tire-smoking 9.892/77.28 in today's earlier round.
"First of all, it's great to snag that No. 1 spot at the Gatornationals," said the 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va. "This is a huge race for us. I have a little bit of history here with the Pro Mods. It's just a great race track out there.
"I knew Tommy (DeLago, co-crew chief with John Medlen) was going for it. We were already qualified. It's one of those things where you kind of have to go for broke out there and it stuck. When the clutch went one to one and it set me back in the seat, I said, It's going to run pretty good."
As for Medlen's influence after the announcement today that he had joined DSR and the DieHard team: "I'm not real sure yet," he said. "John is kind of feeling his way through everything right now. I'm sure he still has some input there. It's just great to have him on board with the DieHard car. And I think we're gong to see a lot of stuff out of John and Tommy working together. They seem to be pretty open to each other and working together well so far. I'm really excited and I can't wait to see what they're going to produce out of this deal.
"We have the DieHard folks here this weekend. It makes it even better when you can go out there and pull down that No. 1 spot and try to impress your sponsors a little bit.
"It's just great. We're just having a blast with it. We need to put four runs together tomorrow. That's the key out here. We always qualify well, but we have to put four runs together tomorrow and get that Wally (event trophy)."
Erik Rosenstrauch, general manager of DieHard brand business unit, was thrilled with his first visit to an NHRA drag race. "Fantastic," he said. "First off, we are so happy to be back in the sport, the most powerful in auto racing and [with] the most powerful battery out there. We're just beginning to build our relationship with Matt. He's a stellar man and a stellar driver at the same time. He embodies what the brand is about. We're about power, trust, reliability, performance, all the things that Matt is performing and doing for us and certainly doing for the race team today. He's putting on an extra show for us, perhaps."
Hagan faces John Smith in opening round of eliminations on Sunday.