Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN QUALIFIES SIXTH FOR SUNDAY’S NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS
CHANDLER, Ariz., October 15, 2011 – Matt Hagan – now less than a round out of the championship lead – will drive his DieHard Advanced Gold Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from the sixth starting spot in Sunday’s 27th-annual NHRA Arizona Nationals here at Firebird International Raceway.
Three points – less than one race round – will separate him from 2011 NHRA Countdown to the Championship leader Mike Neff when the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver squares off against 11th-qualifier and rookie Todd Lesenko in the first round of final eliminations, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. CDT.
“We just have to concentrate on getting down the race track in this heat,” he said. “We have to treat this round like any other, regardless of who’s in the other lane. We have to take Todd as seriously as if we were facing one of the top Countdown drivers. Anyone who was able to qualify here under these conditions has earned my respect and that of this DieHard team; it’s been a difficult couple of days here in the desert.”
Hagan opened Friday’s qualifying with a 4.409-second pass, followed by the 4.294 run at 264.55 miles per hour in the evening session which earned him the sixth spot. Today’s two trips down the scorching 1,000-foot strip were at 4.825 and 4.329 seconds.
“The key, as it often is, was Friday’s run in the cooler weather,” explained the racer who runs a cattle farm in Christiansburg, Va. when not on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit. “Track temperatures dropped to close to 100 degrees, well below what we saw earlier that day and today.
“On race day, the track will be real tricky, with temperatures approaching 120, 130 and above. It will be anybody’s ball game Sunday – we just want it to be ours!”