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May 19, 2013 - 07:06 AM
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2013 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Kansas Nationals Qualifying: No. 6
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2013 - 07:05 AM
2013 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Kansas Nationals Qualifying: No. 6

Matt Hagan's biggest fan was enjoying his first full weekend at an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event this year.

Matt Hagan's father, David Hagan, is joining his son and Don Schumacher Racing's Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar/Rocky Boots Funny Car team this weekend at the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.


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The family patriarch has spent a few Sundays at Mello Yello events this year but this is the first weekend he's been able to watch all four qualifying sessions with plans to attend Sunday's championship eliminations scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (CT).

"This weekend has been great because I got to fly here with him on his plane and that saved me two days away from home," Hagan joked about the ease of flying privately from his home in Christiansburg, Va., to Topeka. "I didn't have to waste two days out of my life sitting at an airport drinking Starbucks all day.

"I'm kidding, sort of. Really, it's just great that he comes out and supports me. He has as much invested in this as I do in time, energy and money. It's nice to know your dad's in your corner, and you have a good relationship with him."

David Hagan owns Shelor Motor Mile in Christiansburg, which includes 10 new car dealerships. The self-made man owns several other successful business, including two Matco Tools franchises. His travel was limited last year because of his wife's health, which is improving, and this year due to successful but major surgery on Matt's 29-year-old brother, Kyle, endured about a month ago.

It was just as well that David missed most of last season's events in which his son was unable to win a race or pole.

"Matt publicly handled the situation pretty well with the disappointments," David said. "He's always had a great attitude, and I believe last year's disappointment made him work harder by getting in better physical shape to start this season and that's helped his reaction times."

Hagan and new crew chief Dickie Venables are ranked second in points and have already won a title and pole this year through seven Mello Yello events. The team is qualified sixth for Sunday's championship eliminations.

The Hagan's hope their team will continue to approach its success of 2010 and '11 when it was runner-up for the season championship and won it the following year.

"It's a lot more fun being out here this year," David said. "The top priority out here is having a chance to win every time you go out there. You can't compare that feeling, and that's how Matt and his team are feeling."

The following are Hagan's qualifying results and other notes:

No. 1 qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.043 sec. (track record), 313.22 mph

Matt Hagan, Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying position: No. 6
First-round opponent: Bob Tasca III

Session 1: 4.195 sec., 301.94 mph
Session 2: 4.081, 312.57
Session 3: 4.069, 300.46
Session 4: 4.108, 310.13

Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m. (CT)

Sunday: 8-11 p.m. (ET) delayed

Sunday: High 88; 60 percent chance of scattered stor

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