2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Southern Nationals Event Results: Semifinal
Rain dampened spirits on Sunday at Atlanta Dragway but on Monday the Mopar Express Lane team was riding high on their best outing since the season opener in February.
Matt Hagan qualified No. 4, their best start of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, for Monday's rain-delayed 34th annual NHRA Southern Nationals near Atlanta.
The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables completed four consecutive runs, two in qualifying and through the first two rounds of eliminations, between 4.049 and 4.10 seconds.
"We put a pretty solid string of runs together both in qualifying and on race day," Matt said. "Dickie and these guys have been working so hard and to go out there and make some solid laps like that is huge for this team and just gives me so much confidence in this team.
"There's no hiding the struggle that we've been through these last few races but we're definitely making huge gains right now and that's what's important. We can't focus on that we just have to go out and take it one round at a time."
Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team ousted Jeff Arend in the opening round and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. in the second round before falling to Courtney Force in the semifinals.
"It really was a great weekend for our team," he said. "I feel like our car is turning the corner and it couldn't have happened at a better time as we're going into back to back to back races. We soaked up some points this weekend and built a lot of confidence along the way so I'm looking forward to Topeka."
Winner: Robert Hight (John Force Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Alexis DeJoria (Kalitta Motorsports) 4.012 sec. (track record), 313.95 mph
MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 4
First round: HAGAN (4.068, 314.61) def. Arend (14.560, 62.14)
Second round: HAGAN (4.074, 315.42) def. Johnson Jr. (4.176, 254.33)
Semifinal: C. Force (4.135, 311.77) def. HAGAN (8.265, 90.16)
FRIDAY: 4.204 sec., 291.63 mph (Session 1); 7.728, 79.33 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.103, 315.78 (Session 3); 4.049, 318.32 mph (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(unofficial through Atlanta)
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight (4), 730
2. John Force (1), 524
3. Alexis DeJoria (2), 472
4. RON CAPPS (0), 430
5. Del Worsham (0), 400
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR., 380
7. JACK BECKMAN (0), 369
8. Courtney Force (0), 369
9. MATT HAGAN (0), 368
10. Tim Wilkerson (0), 329