2013 NHRA: Hagan Relieved With First NHRA Mello Yello Performance In 2013
Matt Hagan and the Mopar/Rocky Boots team have its first round win underneath their belts already in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
And that's a relief.
"It just felt good to see that win light come on in the first round," Hagan said. "It's been a long winter and I haven't seen one of those in a while so when I looked up there and saw it I think I breathed a sigh of relief."
Hagan's Dodge Charger R/T slowed just before the finish line in the opening round but his opponent Tim Wilkerson turned on the red light when he left the starting line too early.
Hagan's team with new crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Mike Knudsen, along with various new team members, haven't had much time together prior to the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
"I think for a team that has had five laps, we did pretty good," he said. "We got lucky when Wilkerson double stepped it and went red in the first round because that's a car that usually goes down the racetrack but we were in the right spot at the right time and got into the second round."
In the second round, Hagan was paired against No. 1 qualifier Courtney Force, who posted a 4.070-second lap to Hagan's tire hazing 5.668-second lap.
"We got 20 points," he said of Force, who went on to win the event title.
"Courtney's got a car that's just running crazy right now. It doesn't know how to run slow. She's leaving good and driving good and she's got a lot going for her.
"We just need to get out here and make some more laps. This team is very, very green right now. Most teams out here are 15-20 laps ahead of us from testing. We're trying to run it off of what someone else did and we just have to find our way."
Hagan thinks the team will find their way as more experience is gained and the team gets more precious tuning data.
"The guys all have great attitudes and are working really well together and I can definitely tell Dickie is going to be a good leader for this team, we just need some more time and we'll get in our groove and be good."
Event winner: Courtney Force, John Force Racing
Matt Hagan, Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 9
First round: Hagan (4.346, 227.84) def. Wilkerson (7.669, 87.11, red light) Second round: C. Force (4.070, 312.64) def. Hagan (5.668, 140.31)
Session 1: 4.097 sec., 304.46 mph
Session 2: 8.309, 78.22
Session 3: 4.121, 308.07
Session 4: 4.141, 309.20
NEXT EVENT: NHRA Arizona Nationals, Firebird International Raceway, Phoenix
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
(unofficial, after 1 of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Courtney Force, 124
2. RON CAPPS, 94
3. JOHNNY GRAY, 76
4. Gary Densham, 60
5. Cruz Pedregon, 56
6. Matt Hagan, 52
7. Bob Tasca III, 51
8. Todd Lesenko, 51
9. JACK BECKMAN, 43
10. Del Worsham, 38