Don Schumacher Racing
Matt Hagan Qualifies Third For NHRA Northwest Nationals
Matt Hagan today wheeled his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the number-three starting position for Sunday’s NHRA Northwest Nationals here at Pacific Raceways.
Improving his times in each of the four-qualifying rounds, the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver blasted to the third spot with a 4.117-second pass at 301.47 miles per hour on his final attempt on Saturday afternoon.
“I feel really good,” said the Christiansburg, Va. native. “Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) brought out some new things for today and they really paid off. We just keep running well, consistently building our confidence.”
Hagan takes on 14th-qualifier Melanie Troxel in the first round, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. PT Sunday. This will be the third meeting of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season between the two, with Hagan holding a 2-0 advantage.
“It doesn’t matter who we are racing; we have to race our race,” Hagan said. “We have lane choice, which is good, but we went down both lanes today really well and got good, solid data from each.”
In today’s opening round the DieHard machine motored down the left lane in 4.155 seconds at 301.74 mph, which put him fifth at the time. Hagan had opened qualifying Friday with a 7.258-second lap, good enough for eighth, following that in the evening session with a 5.115-second pass resulting in a jump to seventh.
“The key is doing the things you know how to do, round by round, race by race,” said Hagan. “There’s a long way to go in the season and we’re going in the right direction.
“This DieHard car has been running really well for several races and Tommy has been able to figure out whatever the tracks throw at him.”
Going into this race, the 14th stop of the 16-race regular season before the start of Countdown to 1 championship playoffs amongst the top 10 drivers, Hagan ranks fifth in the Funny Car standings. He trails Mike Neff, Robert Hight, DSR teammate Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon (respectively).