2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA SpringNationals Event Recap: First Round
Matt Hagan is a race car driver. Arguably the fiercest competitor in the nitro ranks, the 2011 NHRA Funny Car champ wants nothing more than to rack up win lights and collect Wally trophies.
Hagan, who scored his first career NHRA win at the SpringNationals four years ago, played a bit of catch up this weekend at the 27th running of the event just east of Houston. Starting from the No. 11 qualifying position, the 10-time Funny Car winner was pitted against teammate and rival Ron Capps, who qualified in the No. 6 slot.
Hagan did his usual stellar job on the starting line with a .058 of-a-second reaction time, but his Rocky Boots Dodge was a tad off the pace of Capps' 4.073-second pass, the quickest of the opening round of the floppers.
"We got it figured out just a little too late," Hagan said after clocking a pass of 4.132-seconds in round one. "It's been a tough year so far for this Rocky Boots/Mopar team. We've only had one strong race at the beginning at Pomona that we went some rounds. That just leaves our team hungry and we'll just keep digging and working hard and put a W on the board real soon. The guys are positive and we're ready for Atlanta like it's tomorrow."
A quarter way through the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello season, Hagan would like nothing more than to be back at a drag strip to recover the team's 2013 performance that saw the Virginia cattle farmer win a category-best five races.
He will however have to wait nearly three weeks before strapping back into his Rocky/Mopar Dodge at Atlanta Dragway on May 16. The NHRA's premier series takes a two week hiatus before beginning a stretch of 10 races in 12 weeks, May 16-18, at Commerce, Ga. In Northeast Georgia.
"I'm a race car driver, obviously I want to drive a race car," Hagan said. "The break is great for the family. I'll get to spend some quality time with my little kids and my wife and I get to catch up on the farm. And it will be good to spend some time at home for Mother's Day."
Event Winner: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Del Worsham (Kalitta Racing) 4.051 sec., 314.68 mph
MATT HAGAN, Rocky Boots/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 11
First round: CAPPS (4.073, 311.41) def. HAGAN (4.132, 305.01)
FRIDAY: 4.300 sec., 241.15 mph (Session 1), 7.756, 89.94 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.190, 288.64 mph (Session 3), 4.256, 242.67 (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Unofficial, after Houston, 6th of 24 events)
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight (3), 609
2. John Force (1), 487
3. Alexis DeJoria (2), 431
4. Del Worsham (0), 361
5. RON CAPPS (0), 356
6. JACK BECKMAN (0), 336
7. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (0), 323
8. MATT HAGAN (0), 289
9. Tim Wilkerson (0), 277
10. Courtney Force (0), 275
May 16-18, Atlanta
May 23-25, Topeka
May 29-June 1, Englishtown, N.J.