Don Schumacher Racing
MATT HAGAN SCORES SEMIFINAL FINISH IN NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS
KENT, Wash., August 7, 2011 – Behind the wheel of his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, Matt Hagan motored into the third round of today’s final eliminations of the 24th-annual NHRA Northwest Nationals here at scenic Pacific Raceways where he fell to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman.
Coming out of the third-qualifying spot for the second time on the 2011 Western Swing, the 28-year-old Christiansburg, Va. native picked up wins against Melanie Troxel and DSR teammate Ron Capps in the first two rounds. He ran a solid 4.162-second lap at 300.26 miles per hour in the opener, followed by a side-by-side run against Capps (4.166 versus 4.193) in the quarterfinals.
Hagan’s good start went up in smoke against Beckman, however, as the DieHard Funny Car lost traction early on the way to a tire-smoking 5.301-second lap at 136.44 mph (Beckman ran 4.160 at 297.42 mph). Despite the premature exit, he was still pleased with the team’s overall performance over the last three weeks.
“This was a productive swing,” he commented about the three-consecutive weekends of racing in Denver, Sonoma (Calif.) and here. “We went to a final, went to a semifinal and the one time we lost early it was to Cruz Pedregon by the slimmest of margins (.003 seconds) in a hell of a drag race.
“Even today, we collected some good data for races with conditions like this. The track kept getting warmer as the day went on and Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) knows where the limit is and how far he can go. All I can say is we are moving forward, gaining confidence and getting better with every race.”
Tim Wilkerson won today’s race, defeating DSR teammate Jack Beckman in the final round.
Two races remain before the Countdown to 1 begins, with Hagan sitting in fifth (with one more round win he will clinch a position in the playoffs which pit the top-10 drivers through the first 16 races in a six-race run for the championship) of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings. He trails Mike Neff, Robert Hight, Beckman and Pedregon (respectively). Hagan and crew will now head for Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway for the August 18-21 30th-annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.
“I’m looking forward to the next two races in Brainerd and Indy,” he said. “I think we’re going to surprise some people as we get close to the Countdown and then in the playoffs.
“I know we haven’t won yet, but we are very close. We have a bad hot rod being run by an amazing mad scientist of a crew chief.”