2013 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals Event Preview
Typically in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing, vibrations aren't a good thing. But Matt Hagan is experiencing nothing but good vibrations as the NHRA rolls into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday for the fourth event of the 2013 season.
Hagan has been off to a strong start with a final-round appearance at the last event with new crew chief Dickie Venables calling the shots. The Magneti Marelli offered by Mopar team sits fourth in Mello Yello standings.
"I can't wait to get on the track," Hagan said. "We kind of struggled a bit in Gainesville (Fla.) at the last race, but we know why and we can fix it. I know we can win. I just have a good vibe about this next race.
"I think it's our chance to turn the corner. I feel like I'm driving well, I've been cutting good lights. Dickie is making great decisions and is leading this team; everyone is meshing well together. It's just a matter of time until we turn on four win lights on Sunday."
And he wouldn't be happier if it happened at Las Vegas, a place Hagan is fond of.
"I really do like Las Vegas," he said. "It's the opposite of my life on the farm and it's always got a good vibe. The fans are great there. They are so interactive and really engage us. That's cool to see.
"One unique thing about the track at Vegas is Nellis Air Force Base is right next door. You get to watch some of the baddest guys on the planet go by in their fighter jets. That never gets old. It's just such a cool racetrack."
Hagan will continue to carry the yellow and blue scheme of Magneti Marelli Quality Parts Offered by Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T body he debuted in Gainesville three weeks ago.
"A lot of people don't know you can order any type of part from Magneti Marelli, it's not just for Mopar," Hagan said. "It's such a neat deal that Mopar offers to all makes and models. They have thousands of parts and I'm proud to carry their brand."
Hagan remains level-headed and focused on the tasks ahead.
"I know we can't win every race but you just have to be there and put yourself in position to win and keep moving forward," he said. "I know it's early in the season but we are thinking about points. We have to focus on that and try to collect bonus points in qualifying.
"The championship last year was decided by two points. We just have to dig deep and stay focused, that's our plan. There's still a lot of racing ahead of us. It's possible to go far with this team. I'm excited."
The following are Hagan's statistics and other notes for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Strip at Las Vegas:
Matt Hagan, Magneti Marelli Quality Parts Offered by Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
A year ago at Las Vegas 1: Qualified No. 10; defeated by Bob Tasca III in second round.
Last October at Las Vegas 2: Qualified No. 4; defeated by Johnny Gray in second round.
Career at Las Vegas 1: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2009); poles 0
Career at Las Vegas 2: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2010); poles 1 (2009)
Pts Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2013 4th 3 0 0 0 0 5-3
Career 99 5 11 10 4 115-90
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(After 3 of 24 events)
1t. RON CAPPS, 244 points
1t. JOHNNY GRAY, 244
3. Courtney Force, 216
4. MATT HAGAN, 209
5. Cruz Pedregon, 181
6. Del Worsham, 168
7. Robert Hight, 156
8. Bob Tasca III, 155
9. JACK BECKMAN, 148
10. John Force, 144
2013 Event winners: Courtney Force, RON CAPPS, JOHNNY GRAY.
THIS WEEK AT LAS VEGAS
WHAT: 14th annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals
WHERE: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
NITRO SCHEDULE (times are PT):
Friday: Qualifying, 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 1 p.m., 2:45 p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 8 p.m. (ET)
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 p.m. (ET)
Friday: High 86; 10 percent chance of rain
Saturday: High 87; 0 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 85; 10 percent chance of rain