HAGAN MOVES INTO 11TH TO END 2009 NHRA ROOKIE SEASON POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2009) - Matt Hagan, driving the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car, moved into 11th place in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series point ...
HAGAN MOVES INTO 11TH TO END 2009 NHRA ROOKIE SEASON
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 15, 2009) - Matt Hagan, driving the Valvoline Engine Guarantee/shelor.com Dodge Funny Car, moved into 11th place in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series point standings - the best he could finish as a non-Countdown contender - after a quarterfinal result in today's 45th annual NHRA Finals.
From his No. 4 qualifying position, Hagan upended Tony Pedregon in the opening stanza with a solid 4.139-second run at 304.05 mph, then met up with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the second round. Capps edged him out at the starting lights, leading all the way to take the win with a slower 4.144/310.48 pass to Hagan's quicker but losing 4.126/305.22.
With that, he moved past Cruz Pedregon to take over 11th place, behind the 10 drivers competing in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.
Hagan will have to wait until the Monday night NHRA awards banquet to learn if he has earned the 2009 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award as an NHRA rookie-of-the-year frontrunner. The 26-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., reached two final rounds this season and was low qualifier two times.
"Racing teammates is always tough," said Hagan. "It's tough because you want to win, but it's still a win-win situation for your team, no matter what. Somebody from our DSR camp was moving on; we just would have liked it to be us.
"To go up there and lose on a holeshot like that is even tougher for me. I wanted to end the year pretty strong knowing we have a great race car. In the last three races we had a really great race car. We just had a hard time putting it all together.
"That seemed to be the case for us this whole year. I feel like after this season as a team we're a little more polished. As a driver, hopefully I've become more polished as well. You have to chalk it up to a learning year and a growing year.
"I hate that this is the last race. I wish we could keep on going and never stop. But we will take a break, step back, re-evaluate everything and make sure that we come out strong next year."