Phoenix: Matt Hagan final report

ROOKIE HAGAN WINS HIS FIRST PRO FUNNY CAR ROUND IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 22, 2009) - Matt Hagan, NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender and driver of the BrakeSafe Rear-End Collision Avoidance System Dodge Funny Car, won his first round of...

ROOKIE HAGAN WINS HIS FIRST PRO FUNNY CAR ROUND IN PHOENIX

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 22, 2009) - Matt Hagan, NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year contender and driver of the BrakeSafe Rear-End Collision Avoidance System Dodge Funny Car, won his first round of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series competition today at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

Hagan defeated Pomona1 runner-up Jim Head in the opening round of eliminations by a slim margin of just six feet, with a solid 4.098-second elapsed time at 294.82 mph to Head's stout 4.106/304.87.

He was then dismissed by his Don Schumacher Racing teammate and Pomona1 winner Ron Capps in the second round in another close match-up: 4.118/304.67 to 4.135/302.41. Hagan leaves the Phoenix area No. 10 in the point standings. Capps went on to win his second straight national event.

"That was really exciting for us because all the BrakeSafe guys got to see what it's going to be like to have to make the car go up for the next round," said Hagan. "We ended up being the last pair out for the first round and first pair out for the second round, so it really, really pinched us in time.

"Everything was so rushed, we only had 60 minutes to get the car back up there. I didn't even think about running Capps. I just wanted to get up there, take the light and I knew the car was going to go down the track because Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) had a good handle on the car. I'm really proud of all my guys and I'm proud of Tommy, and to be associated with this whole DSR team and BrakeSafe makes me really proud.

"It was great to have that round win behind us, and now we can go out there and try to get our second round win.

"But the biggest thing is that if we're going to lose to somebody I guess it needs to be a team car," he added. "We don't ever want to lay down for anybody, but, I tell you what, we want that win just as bad as anybody, and it will come. It's just going to take a little bit longer than I thought.

"I'm just taking all this in stride right now and hopefully we can go back, lick our wounds a little bit, and start over in Gainesville."

Next up is the 40th annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., March 13-15.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Ron Capps , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan