2013 NHRA: Matt Hagan AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Event Preview
In NHRA Mello Yello Series drag racing, everything goes quickly and that includes moving on for Matt Hagan and the Mopar/Rocky Boots Funny Car team.
At the last event near Dallas, a problem in the clutch area ended their day in the second round of eliminations. The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables has already put that in their rearview mirror and is focused on going rounds at the AAA Insurance Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis this weekend.
"Right now we are kind of averaging semifinal finishes and we just have to keep moving forward," Hagan said. "In Dallas we just had a bad clutch disc in the car. It wasn't anything Dickie (Venables) did, it was just a bad disc. Unfortunately it probably cost us a round. It is what it is. I'm really looking forward to St. Louis because I know the car will be back to running strong and we will be fine.
"We need to have a little luck along the way. The biggest thing is you can't count points. I know we are, but we can't concentrate on them."
The Mopar/Rocky Boots team has a 51-point lead, more than two rounds of racing, over No. 2-ranked Cruz Pedregon after two of six events in the Countdown to the Championship.
"You can't worry about points until the end of Vegas," Hagan said of the season's next-to-last race. "At the end of that race, you'll know if you're in it or you're not. I just look at it that way. It's tough to do and everyone handles things in their own way and that's just the way I'm handling it. It is what it is. If I need to worry about the points after Vegas I will and if I don't then I know that we still had a great season."
Along with getting back in his 10,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T, Hagan enjoys seeing the Mello Yello Series fans in St. Louis.
"I'm hoping to go four rounds on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to seeing the fans. That race was taken away for a while and they brought it back last year and you just know the fans there are grateful for that and they are excited to see us. It will be nice to get back there and show them some love."
MATT HAGAN, Mopar/Rocky Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Sept. 20-22, Ennis, Texas): Qualified No. 3; lost in second round to teammate Jack Beckman.
A year ago at Gateway: Qualified No. 3; lost to teammate Jack Beckman in championship round.
Career at Gateway: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2012); poles 0.
Pts Races Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2013 1st 20 4 4 1 5 6 4 0 34-16
CAREER 116 9 14 16 35 38 14 4 144-103
Best Time, Speed
3.986 sec. (7-26-2013, Sonoma, Calif.), 322.27 mph* (9-17-11, Charlotte 2); *NHRA record
MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES
NHRA Countdown to the Championship Standings
(Official through Sept. 22 near Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. MATT HAGAN 2,272 (--)
2. Cruz Pedregon 2,221 (-51)
3. Robert Hight 2,209 (-63)
4. John Force 2,208 (-64)
5. JACK BECKMAN 2,196 (-76)
6. RON CAPPS 2170 (-102)
7. JOHNNY GRAY 2,155 (-117)
8. Courtney Force 2,141 (-131)
9. Tim Wilkerson 2,089 (-183)
10. Del Worsham 2,068 (-204)
2013 REGULAR SEASONS: C. Force, CAPPS, GRAY, C. Pedregon, HAGAN, C. Pedregon, GRAY, GRAY, HAGAN, J. Force, C. Force, HAGAN, GRAY, C. Pedregon, CAPPS, HAGAN, CAPPS, Hight.
2013 COUNTDOWN WINNERS: Hight, C. Pedregon
ST. LOUIS SCHEDULE
(Times are CT)
Friday: 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m., nitro qualifying
Saturday: 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., nitro qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
(Times are ET)
Saturday: TBD, qualifying
Sunday: 8:30 p.m., championship eliminations, delayed
(As of Tuesday afternoon)
Friday: High 81; 10 percent chance of rain
Saturday: High 82; 20 percent chance of rain
Sunday: High 71; 40 percent chance of rain
NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Sept. 13-15: Charlotte, N.C.
(Finals: TF/Lucas def. MASSEY; FC/ Hight def. HAGAN)
Sept. 19-22: Texas Motorplex, Dallas
(Finals: TF/Doug Kalitta def. Langdon; FC/C. Pedregon def. J. Force)
Sept. 27-29: Gateway Motorsports Park, St. Louis
Oct. 3-6: Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.
Oct. 24-27: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
Nov. 7-10: Auto Club Raceway, Pomona