Matt Hagan Looks To Repeat In Joliet

Route 66 Raceway

Matt Hagan Looks To Repeat Magic At This Weekend’s Route 66 NHRA Nationals

Matt Hagan, aboard the DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, hopes to replay last year’s outcome at this weekend’s 14th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals and thus secure his first win of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Matt Hagan signs autographs
Matt Hagan signs autographs

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

The Don Schumacher Racing driver overcame lengthy rain delays and ever-changing and challenging weather conditions at last year’s event to not only gain the victory, his second career and second seasonal one, but also set a national elapsed-time record of 4.022 seconds (which he broke and reset, at 4.011, later in the year at Maple Grove, Penn.).

“We had a fairy tale ending here last year,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native who has struggled through an uneven 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season. “We should have had our first win in Pomona and I let it slip through my fingers. We just have to get the DieHard car secured and get that win.

“That first win will go a long way to relieving the pressure the DieHard team is putting on itself. Once that win comes, we’ll be able to breathe easier.”

One antidote for the pressure, according to Hagan, is to take a different approach to the racing.

“We have to maintain our focus, no doubt, but we still need to have fun,” he said. “If we do that, the wins will come and things will right themselves.

“After last season (which ended with Hagan runner up in the Funny Car championship), people thought we would dominate. But this is nitro drag racing and it’s never as easy or as predictable as many think. We have a good car, a great team and a great crew chief – we’ll get there!”

Hagan goes into the weekend race here at Route 66 Raceway holding fifth place in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings behind leader Mike Neff, DSR teammate Jack Beckman, Robert Hight and Cruz Pedregon.

“I’m just excited about going back to Chicago,” he said. “I’m looking forward to spending some time with the DieHard folks, who are based in the area, having fun and having a great weekend!”

By: don schumacher racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Cruz Pedregon , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher , Robert Hight , Matt Hagan , Mike Neff
Tags chicago, don schumacher racing, funny car, joliet, matt hagan, nhra, route 66 raceway