HAGAN ADVANCES TO HIS SIXTH SEMIFINAL OF THE SEASON AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 6, 2010) - In only his third U.S. Nationals start and his first time in the Countdown to the Championship, Matt Hagan advanced to his sixth Funny Car ...
HAGAN ADVANCES TO HIS SIXTH SEMIFINAL OF THE SEASON AT U.S. NATIONALS
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 6, 2010) - In only his third U.S. Nationals start and his first time in the Countdown to the Championship, Matt Hagan advanced to his sixth Funny Car semifinal round of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series today at the 56th annual U.S. Nationals.
The No. 1 qualifier racing the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car in the first of six races of the Countdown was on track to a solid run to the final round, first defeating Tony Pedregon with a 4.096-second elapsed time at 303.09 mph, then Bob Tasca, without lane choice, with a 4.119/291.13. Surprisingly, his day ended in the semifinal round, despite having lane choice, when he met up with points leader John Force.
The pair took off at the starting lights with nearly identical reaction times. Both cars lost traction, but Hagan lit the tires first, and both drivers entertained the fans with a pedaling contest as they headed towards the finish line. Force won that battle, hitting the beams first with a 4.710/244.65 to Hagan's 5.302/189.04.
The 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., moved up to third in the point standings, and now trails leader Force by 61 points.
"He was there for the taking," said Hagan, "but I'm still very proud of (crew chief) Tommy DeLago. He's doing a great job. He's the glue that holds this DieHard team together and keeps the guys' spirits high. And, instead of getting down on ourselves for not being able to run for the money, we just need to keep our chins up and move forward.
"We were trying to be aggressive. Ashley (Force Hood) ran a 4.15 in front of us and I'm sure we were trying to run an .11 or .12. This DieHard Dodge has been a hot rod all weekend.
"We've lot some semifinal rounds before by not being aggressive enough, so I think Tommy was just not going to let that happen this time. It was either go and haul butt or it wasn't going to go at all. Even though John was there for the taking, we didn't take him. We'll learn from it and move forward.
"It's easy to kick the dirt and say, Hey, we shoulda done this or we shoulda done that, but all in all it's a pretty good weekend.
"We're still fighting and battling and we're still in this hunt and we're going to keep our heads up and we're going to charge into the next race in Concord, N.C."
Next up is the third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals in Concord, N.C., Sept. 17-19.