By Don Schumacher Racing
Matt Hagan Advances To Quarterfinals Of Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Matt Hagan piloted the DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the second round of today’s fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals here, thus maintaining his hold on fifth place in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
The Don Schumacher Racing driver qualified a strong fourth in a rain-abbreviated preliminary program, and then bested Bob Bode in the first round of today’s eliminations at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park before dropping a tire-smoking run to Mike Neff, Funny Car points’ leader and eventual race winner, in the quarterfinals.
Saturday featured two qualifying rounds, with Hagan posting a first-session pass of 4.106 seconds at 304.32 miles per hour to secure his starting position. Today, he beat Bode with a 4.170 lap at 300.66 mph before losing traction in the second round of eliminations en route to producing a run of 9.557 at 69.20.
“We’ve got to get out of fifth place and begin to make our move,” said the 28-year-old Christiansburg, Va. native. “It’s great to see the guys continue to work hard, with their chins up, but we are all ready to begin winning.
“We’ve got to get our ‘mojo’ working for Chicago, where we had a great win last season,” added the runner up in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship. “That win is coming soon and Joliet sounds like the right place for it to happen.”
Including the July 7-10 Route 66 NHRA Nationals at the Chicago-area Route 66 Raceway, the 11th stop on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, six races remain in the regular season. The Countdown to 1 playoffs begin after the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
“We want win some races and get on a roll going into the Countdown,” Hagan said. “We did that last year, winning in Chicago, and then made a good run for the championship. We want to put the DieHard car back into that position as this season moves into its later stages.