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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Qualifying Results: No. 12
Posted by: newsla on Mar 16, 2014 - 06:26 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Qualifying Results: No. 12

As the driver of a 10,000-horsepower nitro-fueled machine you have to be ready for anything. Matt Hagan spent Friday and Saturday at Gainesville, Fla., mentally preparing for the moment when the driver has to adjust to a curveball at 300 mph.


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"The car has been a handful," Matt said of his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. "It's been left, right and everywhere but straight. Out there past the half-track mark you have to really be up on your toes and paying attention to what the car is doing.

"It's really spinning the tires on down the track so you have to really pay attention to what's going on and make sure that you don't have any mistakes like getting it out of the groove or hitting the wall or doing something crazy."

Hagan's Mopar Express Lane Funny Car clocked its best elapsed time, a 4.144-second pass, in the final of four qualifying sessions at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals.

"Honestly though, it's just a tricky racetrack and these crew chiefs are going to have a tough time figuring it out on Sunday. That last session was better conditions because of the delay and that data will help but honestly the sun is going to be out on Sunday and we're going to have these conditions that we saw for the third session."

Hagan's two 4.18-second passes in qualifying came in the warmest conditions, similar to what is expected for race day. Now the focus for Matt, along with crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen, shifts to Sunday's eliminations that begin at 11 a.m. (EDT).

"It's going to be tough," Matt said. "We're going to have to be really focused. Sometimes these tracks can turn into a driver racetrack instead of a crew chief racetrack so I have to be ready to pedal and handle anything this car gives me so that I can turn on win lights."

No. 1 Qualifier: Cruz Pedregon (Cruz Pedregon Racing) 4.068, 308.21 mph

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 12
FRIDAY: 8.677 sec., 81.89 mph, (Session 1); 4.189, 288.95 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.185, 290.69 (Session 3); 4.144, 295.01 (Session 4)
First round: Courtney Force v. HAGAN

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