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Feb 19, 2014 - 06:14 AM
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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on Feb 19, 2014 - 06:13 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Event Preview

Matt Hagan is coming off of a runner-up finish at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season-opener two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif., and is returning to the site of one of his four runner-up finishes from the 2013 season.


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Although Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird International Raceway, has changed most of its track surface and made other renovations, Hagan is confident that his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Funny Car tuned by crew chief Dickie Venables will adjust to the new track.

"You know, we don't really know quite yet what we're getting into there with the new track surface," Matt said. "It's going to be interesting, for sure. We'll just have to go up there with what Dickie thinks is best for the first lap and I know he and (Mike) Knudsen, will work on it from there."

After a No. 10 qualifying effort at Pomona, Hagan is looking to improve in qualifying and start Sunday's eliminations in the top half of the 16-car field.

"It's important to go out and make a good lap and get qualified solidly in the show so you can build on momentum throughout the weekend and take that into race day. It would be great to get a win under our belt here early in the season."

The revamped Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Hagan is excited to get to the track near Phoenix to see the changes for himself. Facility owners have replaced more than 600 feet of the track surface with concrete installed a new timing system, scoreboards and a new PA system.

"Anytime a facility sinks money back into a track it makes the racers happy," he said. "We go to a lot of great tracks, but it is great when the owners of the facility put money back into the track to make it better. I'm looking for good things here; I've never won there, and I would like to put a win on the board there."

By the numbers

MATT HAGAN: Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T

Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 2nd 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3-1
CAREER 121 10 15 16 37 39 15 4 153-107
Best Time, Speed: 3.986 sec. (7-26-2013, Sonoma, Calif.); 322.27 mph (9-17-11, Charlotte 2)

Last event (Feb. 7-9, Pomona, Calif.): Qualified No. 10; lost in championship round to John Force
A year ago at Phoenix: Qualified No. 2; lost to Ron Capps in championship round
Career at Phoenix: Wins 0; Runner-ups 1 (2013); Poles 0

(Through Winternationals, first of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)

1. John Force, 144
3. Del Worsham, 76
4. Bob Tasca III, 71
5. Robert Hight, 61
6. RON CAPPS, 55
8. Gary Densham, 51
9. Alexis DeJoria, 39
10. Cruz Pedregon, 38

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