Don Schumacher Racing press release
MATT HAGAN TAKES OVER POINTS LEAD FOLLOWING 27TH-ANNUAL AUTO-PLUS® NHRA NATIONALS
MOHNTON, Pa., October 2, 2011 – Matt Hagan rode his DieHard Advanced Gold Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the second round of today’s 27th annual Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals here and left Southeastern Pennsylvania holding the lead in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
On the strength of being the quickest flopper in the first two qualifying sessions (4.076 and 4.012 seconds), being the number-three qualifier for today’s race and winning a first-round contest, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver caught – and passed by two points – season-long leader Mike Neff.
“We’ve made up a lot of points – 70 – since the Countdown began,” said Hagan. “But there’s still a lot of racing left and we have to continue to go rounds. I’m the best example of how quickly things can change (going from sixth to second after winning the opening Countdown race in Charlotte).
“Yes, we’re happy we’re in the lead, but we’re a bit disappointed about going out in the second round today. We smoked the tires; I tried to pedal, but the car didn’t stick on the wet track.”
Hagan lost a second-round match to Robert Hight after defeating Blake Alexander with the quickest lap, 4.058 seconds at 313.80 miles per hour, in the opening session. The completion of the race was suspended due to rain, which actually began during round two of Funny Car competition (and completion of the event, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday, will have no impact on the first three Countdown places).
“This weekend’s cold, wet weather made it tough enough on crew chiefs without having to deal with wet track conditions,” commented Hagan. “But Robert, Bob (Tasca III), Johnny (DSR teammate Gray) and Zippy (Neff) had to deal with it, as well.
“We’ll keep our heads up and keep going after it. We know how much time is left and how things can change quickly, so we won’t take anything for granted, either in Phoenix, Las Vegas or Pomona.”
The Countdown’s final three races commence in just less than two weeks with the 27th-annual NHRA Arizona Nationals October 14-16 at Firebird International Raceway.