Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN TAKES POLE POSITION FOR NHRA NATIONALS AT zMAX DRAGWAY
CONCORD, N.C., September 17, 2011 – Matt Hagan used the quickest lap in Funny Car history to put his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T on the pole for Sunday’s fourth-annual NHRA Nationals here at zMAX Dragway.
Quickest in three of the four qualifying sessions, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver’s 3.995-second lap at 316.23 miles per hour in Friday’s second round earned the number-one starting spot for tomorrow’s race which begins at noon EDT.
A mechanical failure as the DieHard car neared the finish line in today’s third round both caused a fire and cost Hagan the backup run necessary to turn his quick lap into a national record and 20 bonus points.
“We were so close,” he said about the 4.038-second pass which was .003 of a second from providing the backup necessary. “The car pushed me hard at 900 feet and then I saw orange. We were going for the record on the run to get those points.
“But now it’s time to go racing. If the conditions allow tomorrow, we might take a shot at the record, but the most important thing is going rounds and going after a win. Now that we’re in the Countdown, the rounds and the points are the most important.”
Qualifying first and being quickest in three rounds produced 17 points for Hagan, allowing him to go around DSR teammate Ron Capps into the fifth position of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
John Smith, 16th-qualifier, provides Hagan’s first-round challenge.
“We’re really excited about going racing in the morning,” he said. “Tommy DeLago (crew chief) and the DieHard team have done a great job all weekend and I have tremendous confidence in our chances here.
“I know we didn’t get down the track in today’s last session, but we’re okay. My guys and guys from all the other DSR teams did a great job just getting the DieHard car ready for that lap after the fire. They’ll be working through the night to get ready for tomorrow and I have no doubts we’ll be there ready to take on all comers.”