HAGAN OUT IN SECOND VEGAS ROUND, HOLDS ON TO SECOND IN POINTS LAS VEGAS (April 18, 2010) - No. 3 qualifier Matt Hagan landed in the quarterfinal round of Funny Car eliminations today at the 11th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas ...
HAGAN OUT IN SECOND VEGAS ROUND, HOLDS ON TO SECOND IN POINTS
LAS VEGAS (April 18, 2010) - No. 3 qualifier Matt Hagan landed in the quarterfinal round of Funny Car eliminations today at the 11th annual NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He held on to second place in the point standings, behind event winner John Force (120 points).
The driver of the DieHard Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing got a lucky break in the opening round when Jeff Arend (the same opponent he beat to score his first career victory in Houston last week) smoked the tires on his car after Hagan's did it first while leading. Hagan recovered quickly, and snatched the victory at the finish line by .0508 of a second (17 feet), posting a 4.595-second run at 280.60 mph to Arend's 4.636/223.21.
Without lane choice in the second round against 14-time champion John Force on a hot, sticky 124-degree race track, he was at a disadvantage in the left lane. Hagan lost traction early, losing to Force's 4.335/290.51 with his 4.767/203.52.
"That left lane was definitely not the favorite of all the crew chiefs and drivers out there," said the 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va. "We have a great race car, although I know it didn't show it this weekend. I have a lot of confidence in our tuners and John (Medlen) and Tommy (DeLago) are doing a great job. We're going to stay here on Monday and test and we're looking forward to that.
"It will mean more seat time and more experience for me, and we'll go out there and get ready for the next race in St. Louis."
As for his first-round match-up against Arend: "I felt it rattle, slap the tires, and then I looked over and he was pulling away," Hagan explained. "Then he smoked the tires and we just drove right around him. That was really cool to do. Arend and his team are great guys, stand-up people and it's always a pleasure to race with them."
Next up is the 14th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., just over the bridge from St. Louis.