MATT HAGAN REACHES SECOND ROUND OF NHRA SPRING NATIONALS
BAYTOWN, TEXAS, May 1, 2011 – Matt Hagan drove the DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the quarterfinals today at the 24th annual NHRA Spring Nationals here at Royal Purple Raceway.
After defeating 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car points leader Robert Hight in the first round at the track formerly known as Houston Raceway Park, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver could not repeat that performance against Hight’s teammate Mike Neff in round two.
Neff, whose 4.122-second, 310.34-mile-per-hour lap was the quickest of the round, outdistanced Hagan, a cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., who posted a 4.211/300.73-mph pass. His first round pass was 4.261/297.02 mph versus Hight’s 4.952/163.35.
Despite the natural disappointment at his premature departure, he still found reason for optimism moving forward.
“I am still excited about where our program is headed,” said an obviously frustrated Hagan, who had won this race last year. “We have a good race car, qualified in the top half of the field, and are just working things out. It was a hot, humid, sticky day and the track was tricky, just like yesterday. Considering the conditions, we were still able to get a few good runs under our belt.
“Tommy DeLago (DieHard crew chief) did a great job this weekend, especially considering he was doing double duty, helping out on Ron’s (Capps, DSR teammate) car.
“He got both cars in the show and both made it into the quarterfinals on Sunday. That says a lot about Tommy and his ability, tuning two race cars in the same race under tough weather and track conditions.”
Heading to the next event on the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, the May 13-15 31st annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga., Hagan holds sixth place in the Funny Car standings. He trails points-leader Mike Neff, Robert Hight, DSR teammate Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon and Jeff Arend.
“We’ll go back to the shop, get everything serviced and ready, then head to Atlanta Dragway,” he said. “That race is pretty close to home, so I’ll have friends and family out to watch and hopefully we’ll turn it around there.”