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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on Mar 12, 2014 - 06:15 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Event Preview

The Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Funny Car doesn't have a rearview mirror and Matt Hagan is thankful for that. After a disappointing outing near Phoenix two weeks ago, the team is looking forward to the trip southeast to Gainesville, Fla., and the 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals.


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The Mopar team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen tested near Phoenix after their opening-round loss to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman and got the results they were looking for.

"Our test session was very, very productive," Matt said. "We got some good baselines to go off. It was just one of those things, unfortunately, that Phoenix was just a horrible race for us. We had already planned on staying after and testing on Monday.

"Testing went well. It really brought our confidence back. It allowed Dickie to get down to the nitty-gritty on some stuff and make sure that we are doing everything we need to get the car going down the track. I believe in Dickie and I believe that he's going to put a good car underneath me this weekend."

The Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T reached the final round in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season opener on Feb. 9 at Pomona, Calif., and the team is looking to get momentum going.

"It's such a big race," he said. "It's the first time this season that the folks on the East Coast come out and smell some nitro. There are just so many people packed in there and everybody has a great time.

"We'd love to win Gainesville, I haven't won there yet and I'd like to get that trophy. There are 16 cars and only one winner and we have to get qualified first and go from there."

The following are Matt's statistics and other event notes for the Gatornationals.

MATT HAGAN: Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 6th 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3-2
CAREER 121 10 15 16 37 40 15 4 153-108
Best Time, Speed: 3.986 sec. (7-26-2013, Sonoma, Calif.); 322.27 mph (9-17-11, Charlotte 2)

Last event (Feb. 21-23, Phoenix): Qualified No. 11; lost in first round to Jack Beckman
A year ago at Gainesville: Qualified No. 3; lost to Jack Beckman in quarterfinals
Career at Gainesville: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 2 (2011, 2010)

(Through Phoenix, second of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver (wins), points
1. John Force (1), 225
2. Robert Hight (0), 159
3. Alexis DeJoria (1), 156
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 136
5. Del Worsham (0), 132
6. MATT HAGAN (0), 129
7. Bob Tasca III (0), 124
8. JACK BECKMAN (0), 92
9. RON CAPPS (0), 88
10. Tim Wilkerson (0), 84

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