St. Louis: Matt Hagan race report

ROOKIE HAGAN OUSTED IN ST. LOUIS QUARTERS, SETS TOP E.T. AND SPEED MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2009) - Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan continued racking up round wins in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, after winning the opening...

ROOKIE HAGAN OUSTED IN ST. LOUIS QUARTERS, SETS TOP E.T. AND SPEED

MADISON, Ill. (May 3, 2009) - Rookie-of-the-Year contender Matt Hagan continued racking up round wins in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, after winning the opening stanza at the NHRA Midwest Nationals today at Gateway Int'l Raceway.

Hagan, driving the Shelor.com Dodge Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, dismissed Jeff Arend with a 4.104-second elapsed time, the quickest of the weekend, at 303.64 mph, also the top speed of the weekend. He then met his match against Tony Pedregon in the second round, against whom he now has an 0-3 record this season.

Their reaction times at the lights were nearly identical, but a burst of flame out of the Shelor.com Dodge at the top end slowed Hagan to a 4.235/242.45 to Pedregon's winning 4.175/288.39.

"It just seems like Tony Pedregon has my number," said Hagan, who is sixth in the point standings, 30 points out of second place. "I even commented to him up there: ‘Maybe one of these days I'll get around you.’

"We're just doing the best we can right now. We're a young team, we're growing together, we've got a lot of potential. We've already shown that. We have to have a couple of breaks here and there and I think things will turn around for us. By no means are we in any slump. We're all trying really hard.

"Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) said it broke an inner head stud and pushed the gasket out of it. I could see the fire and I could see him and I saw I was ahead and I stayed in it a little longer than I should have, but you're racing. It was getting worse so it was a better decision to step off and race tomorrow versus having something pretty bad happen.

"We realize how tight it is out here in points," added the 26-year-old Angus Cattle farmer. "Just one or two rounds can move you big time in points, so we're going to keep our heads held high and we're going next to Bristol, my hometown race. I'm really looking forward to that and meeting all the fans. Everybody I know is probably going to be there. We’re going to do well in Bristol. I really feel it."

Next up is the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, May 15-17.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Jeff Arend , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan