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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan Route 66 NHRA Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 10
Posted by: newsla on Jun 29, 2014 - 07:39 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan Route 66 NHRA Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 10

Sunday will be a battle at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals.

Matt Hagan and the Mopar Express Lane team conquered the first part of the battle by making a 4.096-second lap at 309 mph in the heat early Saturday evening that nearly matched their Friday effort from the first qualifying session at around the same time.


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"We were just trying to get it back to run like it did in the first session and it did," crew chief Dickie Venables said. "That was the plan. I told the guys if we could run a 4.09 or 4.10 that would be good and we were pleased with it. It definitely gives us something to go off of for tomorrow."

The 4.096-second effort was the best time of the third session at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals earning the Mopar team a three-point bonus for being the quickest car of the session.

"We keep trying to make it turn the corner and it was great that we made that run today," Matt said. "All in all, it was a great lap in the heat of the day and it was a good confidence builder for this team."

The Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots team was unable to make full passes in the two late-evening sessions on Friday and Saturday night at Route 66 Raceway leaving the team qualified 10th and in the bottom half of the field for Sunday's championship eliminations. Hagan will open the day by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, the No. 7 qualifier.

"Our qualifying effort doesn't really show how good this car is because we didn't make it down in the night sessions but we don't race these things at night on race day so we're OK.

"Tomorrow will be important for us to go rounds and try and get away from that 10th spot in the points standings. We need to go some rounds and move up and stay in the top-10 and we're racing the guy that's right behind us in points. I can't emphasize how important it is for us to win that first race."

Beckman and the Valvoline team are ranked one spot behind the Mopar Express Lane in the NHRA Mello Yello standings.

No. 1 Qualifier: Tommy Johnson Jr. (DSR) 3.999 sec., 317.19 mph

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 10
First round opponent: Jack Beckman
FRIDAY: 4.095 sec., 311.92 mph, (Session 1); 4.223, 235.39 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.096, 309.27 (Session 3), 4.159, 297.88 (Session 4)

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