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Apr 09, 2014 - 06:54 AM
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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Event Preview
Posted by: newsla on Apr 09, 2014 - 06:49 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Event Preview


There's just something about zMAX Dragway that puts a smile on Matt Hagan's face.

It could be that it is near his Christiansburg, Va., home and his family and friends are able to attend. It could be that he has two event titles from the Charlotte facility. It could be the memories of clocking the first sub-four second run in NHRA Drag Racing history in the second lane at zMAX Dragway, now named 3.995 Hagan's Way.

 

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Whatever it is, Matt and the Mopar Express Lane Funny Car team enter the 5th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals with increased confidence despite three consecutive first-round losses in the 2014 Mello Yello season.

And it helps that he returns to the unique Four-Wide event as the defending winner.

The Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX, the world's only four-lane dragstrip, features heats of four drivers in two pair of lanes separated by a center dividing wall. Four drivers contend in each of four qualifying sessions beginning Friday for the chance to race in Sunday's 16-car elimination bracket in four-car heats with the first two crossing the finish line advancing to the next round.

"I'm not sure our season has started off exactly the way we planned but we are definitely learning from it," Matt said. "That's what you have to do out here. Even though we lost first round in Vegas we actually learned a lot and had a good outing, especially in qualifying."

"We'll take what we learned and apply it to Charlotte. We have some pretty good data from there anyway and I can count on Dickie to give me a great race car. The car usually runs well there. It's great to have my family and friends come out and it's definitely a busy weekend for me."

Since 2009 Hagan has two event wins, a runner-up and a No. 1 qualifier spot from the track known as "the Bellagio of drag strips."

"All in all, Charlotte has been pretty kind to me. I've had a few rough days there," Hagan said of his 2012 explosion caused by a mechanical failure that went viral online and earned more than 30 million views.

But that is far from his mind and his focus is on turning win lights and earning his first Wally trophy of 2014.

"We have to focus on this year and not look back. I'm excited to crawl back in my car at my home race and get to work.

"I'm just going to roll in there with a big smile on my face."

MATT HAGAN: Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2014 8th 4 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 3-4
CAREER 123 10 15 16 37 41 15 4 153-110
Best Time, Speed: 3.986 sec. (7-26-2013, Sonoma, Calif.); 322.27 mph (9-17-11, Charlotte 2)

BY THE NUMBERS
Last event (March 28-30, Las Vegas): Qualified No. 5; lost in first round to Alexis DeJoria
A year ago at Four-Wide: Qualified No. 6; won in championship round
Last fall at zMAX: Qualified No. 2; lost in championship round to Robert Hight
Career at Four-Wide: Wins 1 (2013); Runner-ups 1 (2009); Poles 0
Career at zMAX: Wins 2; Runner-ups 2; Poles 1

NHRA FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight (1), 367
2. John Force (1), 358
3. Alexis DeJoria (2), 299
4. RON CAPPS (0), 241
5. Del Worsham (0), 224
6. Courtney Force (0), 207
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 205
8. MATT HAGAN (0), 204
9. JACK BECKMAN (0), 202
10. Bob Tasca III (0), 194


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