2014 NHRA: Hagan, Rocky Boots/Mopar Team Still Looking To Turn The Corner In 2014 After Early Exit At Kansas Nationals
Matt Hagan and Don Schumacher Racing's Rocky Boots/Mopar Funny Car team have been trying the turn a corner since the season-opener when they were runner-up at Pomona, Calif.
But each time it seems they're ready to get headed in a better direction they get broadsided.
Atlanta Dragway Monday in the rain-delayed Southern Nationals, the Rocky/Mopar team led by crew chief Dickie Venables advanced to the semifinals. The improvement continued Saturday night in the NHRA Kansas Nationals when Matt matched his best qualifying effort of the season with a time of 4.064 seconds at 312.21 mph to earn the No. 4 seed for Sunday's championship eliminations.
But his momentum slowed in the first round when he was upset by No. 13 qualifier Chad Head. Hagan's 4.157 seconds at 301.27 mph was not enough to get past Head's 4.093 (311.70), which was Head's best run of the three-day weekend at Heartland Park Topeka.
"It's tough, but it's drag racing. Sometimes you just throw your hands up and say it's unbelievable," Matt said. "It is what it is."
DSR and the Mello Yello Series heads east and begins racing Friday at Englishtown, N.J., to conclude a stretch of three events in three weeks. After a one week break, teams embark on four races in four weeks with the first on June 13-15 at Bristol, Tenn.
It could be a good omen for Matt that he won the title at Englishtown a year ago.
"We'll work harder and bounce back. There's still a lot of racing left this season. You always have to stay positive and keep working hard.
"It's huge to go back to Englishtown, we'll work hard to defend our title when we get back there."
The following are Hagan's results and other event notes for the NHRA Kansas Nationals.
Event winner: Courtney Force
No. 1 Qualifier: Courtney Force (John Force Racing) 4.009 sec., 322.96 mph (both track records)
MATT HAGAN, Rocky Boots/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 4
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
FIRST ROUND: Chad Head (.084 4.093 sec., 311.70 mph) def. HAGAN (.079 4.157, 301.27)
FRIDAY: 4.098 sec., 314.39 mph, (Session 1); (Session 2, rained out)
SATURDAY: 7.622, 87.95, (Session 3); 4.064, 312.21, (Session 4)
NHRA MELLO YELLO STANDINGS
Unofficial, through May 25, 2014, Kansas
driver (wins), points
1. Robert Hight, (4), 770
2. John Force, (1), 566
3. Alexis DeJoria, (2), 509
4. RON CAPPS, 502
5. Courtney Force (1), 492
6. TOMMY JOHNSON JR., 452
7. Del Worsham, 433
8. MATT HAGAN, 403
9. JACK BECKMAN, 401
10. Tim Wilkerson, 384