ROOKIE HAGAN TAKES NO. 2 IN ST. LOUIS QUALIFYING MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Matt Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago had "low qualifier" set on the tune-up dial for the second and final round of Funny Car qualifying for the NHRA Midwest...
ROOKIE HAGAN TAKES NO. 2 IN ST. LOUIS QUALIFYING
MADISON, Ill. (May 2, 2009) - Matt Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago had "low qualifier" set on the tune-up dial for the second and final round of Funny Car qualifying for the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Int'l Raceway. They were close, but tire haze at the end of the track foiled their plans and Hagan settled for No. 2 behind his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.
With only two qualifying sessions held after rain washed out Friday's nitro rounds, Hagan drove the Shelor.com Dodge into the No. 11 position (4.317/239.65) in the first run after losing two cylinders. The NHRA Rookie-of-the-Year frontrunner then tore to the top end in his final attempt to produce a solid but imperfect 4.143/282.84 for second place.
"After looking at the graph we saw we had a lot left in it," said the 26-year-old Angus Cattle farmer. "I shut it off a little bit early; it was spinning the tire on the top end a little bit. Tommy will obviously go back in there and fix that and we're going to be right there and have a good race car tomorrow. I'm really excited about it.
"We had some complications earlier with some timing issues and the NAPA guys came over and helped us out, and Tommy, 'Ace' (Capps' crew chief Ed McCulloch) and the team figured it out and we went up there and ran a good number. It made us feel like we accomplished something and had a good day.
"We are always aiming for No. 1. Tommy doesn't hold anything back. One thing about Tommy, he's always going for it. But, like Tommy said earlier, our No. 1s will come. Right now we're just going to run with what we got, and play the cards that we're dealt."
Hagan faces No. 15 qualifier Jeff Arend in first round of Sunday's eliminations.