By Don Schumacher Racing
Matt Hagan To Come From Fourth Starting Spot For Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Matt Hagan today drove the DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the fourth starting position for Sunday’s fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals here at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
On the strength of a 4.106-second, 304.32-mile-per-hour pass, the Don Schumacher Racing driver will face Bob Bode in the first round of final eliminations, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET. Hagan defeated Bode in Gainesville, their one meeting during the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
Like many in the 21-car group, Hagan did not improve on his time in the second round of a rain-shortened qualifying session (Friday’s two rounds were canceled) as the track and air heated up under streaming sunshine. The 28-year-old Christiansburg, Va. resident posted a run of 4.144 at 289.45.
“All in all it has been a good weekend so far,” Hagan said. “It was a short, two-lap, qualifying session, which puts a lot of pressure on everyone. But Tommy DeLago (crew chief) is really getting a good handle on the DieHard Funny Car and we’re coming on.”
Hagan, who is a full-time cattle farmer when not piloting an 8,000-horsepower race car, is optimistic about putting together quick and fast runs in final eliminations, despite some concerns about the track’s surface.
“I have a lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s race, even with the traction issues at the top end,” he explained. “The track is really quick for about 600 feet, and then it becomes a challenge not to spin the tires. I know Tommy will go after it and figure out the best way to conquer the track.”
Looking for his first win of the season, Hagan motors into the race holding fifth place in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
“We just want to continue our good runs tomorrow and get through four rounds with a win light,” he said. “We do that and we’ll have our victory, which Tommy and the DieHard crew have worked so hard to achieve.”