HAGAN FOCUSED ON LAS VEGAS OUTING WITH MOPAR FUNNY CAR WITH POINTS LEAD IN COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 28, 2014) – It’s hard not to think of the big picture with only two races remaining in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship but the focus for Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane Funny Car team is narrow.
Matt takes a 36-point lead in his hunt for a second NHRA world championship into this weekend’s NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the penultimate event in NHRA’s 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
The first task for the team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen is to get the 10,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T qualified in the top half of the 16-car field for Sunday’s eliminations.
Then the team will focus on a race day set up.
“We have to take it one lap at a time and not get ahead of ourselves,” Matt said. “It’s important to go out there on Friday and get our weekend started off right and make a good, solid lap.
“Dickie is so focused on our team and our car right now. These guys are hungry, they have a lot to prove. Dickie always has great game plan and he’s a smart racer. I have all of the confidence in the world in him and my guys and me as a driver. I can’t wait to crawl back into my race car.”
After a three-week break in the Countdown to the Championship, Matt just wants to get back to the track and try to get momentum going again.
“We’re in the middle of this championship battle and it started off really well for us and then we took a break,” he said of the team winning two of the past four titles. “I know I’m ready to get back to racing and my guys are too. We had great momentum going so we’re looking to get that back.”
McFarling: Boom! Christiansburg's Hagan back on top
The first time Matt Hagan’s engine blew up in a national event, a legend suggested he pull a Ricky Bobby.
Hagan never will forget the scene. Sitting in an ambulance, his eye cut and bleeding, his hands swollen, his face black, the Christiansburg driver saw drag racing icon John Force poke his head into the vehicle.
“Kid, I’m glad you’re all right,” Force said, according to Hagan. “But man, next time, you need to get out and roll around and act like you’re on fire. Put on a show. That’s the only way you’re going to get more TV time.”
Hagan laughs looking back at that. Typical Force, always the entertainer.
But several years later, Hagan has found an even better way to get on TV: contend for championships.
A week ago today in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, Hagan won the NHRA Nationals to take over the Funny Car points lead. He has a 36-point edge over Force, the 16-time series champion, with two events left.
And the craziest part? Hagan’s engine exploded in the finals. He was able to maintain control of the car, resist the urge to grab the brake, and reach the finish line ahead of his opponent. Read Full Story
Hagan takes Funny Car points lead
MOHNTON, Pa. -- Matt Hagan won the NHRA Nationals on Sunday to take the Funny Car points lead, his engine exploding as he crossed the finish line at Maple Grove Raceway.
Hagan had a 4.333-second pass at 215.00 mph in a Dodge Charger to beat Tommy Johnson Jr. Hagan raced to his third victory of the season and second in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. He opened a 36-point advantage over 16-time series champion John Force with two events left.
"The points lead is huge, but like I said, we showed up here to win a race," said Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car series champion. "Points change but the Wallys (trophies) you put on your shelf don't. We did what we set up to do this morning and that was to turn the win light on four times." Full Story