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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Event Results: First Round
Posted by: newsla on Mar 17, 2014 - 06:14 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Gatornationals Event Results: First Round

Sometimes you have to take a small step backward in order to go forward and that's the case for Matt Hagan's Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Funny Car team so far in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.


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It was a tough outing for the 2011 NHRA championship team that finished second in NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car points standings in the 2013 season. Matt's Dodge Charger R/T led by crew chief Dickie Venables qualified No. 12 at the 45th annual NHRA Gatornationals event and dropped a close opening-round match against Courtney Force during Sunday's eliminations.

Matt's Mopar Express Lane machine dropped a cylinder down track and slowed to a 4.307-second pass while Force posted a 4.102-second lap.

"Out here, you constantly have to try to do things better and that's what we've been working on," Dickie said. "After Phoenix we tested some new things and we felt confident in that and we made the decision to come here and race it. Gainesville is not an easy race track. It was tough out there all weekend.

"We're working on it and we'll continue to test new things but it might be time to go back to what we know and what is proven for race day. It's early in the season and we'll get our combination figured out."

From the outside it might look like the team has gotten off to a slow start, but Matt doesn't see it that way. After a runner-up at the season-opening event in Pomona, the Mopar team lost in the opening round of eliminations at the last two events.

"We can't get down, we can't let these two first-round losses mess with our heads," Matt said. "It's tough out here, there's no doubt. But I have all the faith in Dickie and Mike (Knudsen, the assistant crew chief) to get this turned around. We'll come out and be ready to go rounds in two weeks at Vegas."

Event Winner: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)
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 (4.102, 315.56) def. HAGAN (4.307, 226.92)

(Unofficial, after Gainesville, third of 24 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
driver, (wins), points
1. John Force, (1), 316
2. Robert Hight, (1), 273
3. Alexis DeJoria, (1), 187
3. Del Worsham, (0), 187
5. Bob Tasca III, (0), 184
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR., (0), 168
7. RON CAPPS, (0), 164
8. MATT HAGAN, (0), 161
9. JACK BECKMAN, (0), 151
10. Courtney Force (0), 146

NEXT EVENT: March 28-30 SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat S.p.A., Mopar's global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. brands.

Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. vehicles - a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.

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