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Jul 20, 2014 - 05:53 AM
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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan Mopar Mile-High Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 8
Posted by: newsla on Jul 20, 2014 - 05:50 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan Mopar Mile-High Nationals Qualifying Report: No. 8


Coming into the 35th annual MOPAR Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway near Denver driver Matt Hagan knew how special the weekend could be.

 

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On Thursday, Matt and the 426 Race HEMI 50th Anniversary Tribute Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team started their 10,000-horsepower machine at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a popular outdoor facility that has a 100-year history of hosting every major music artist or group.

"That was incredible," Matt said. "The list of musicians that has played there is incredible and we started our race car there. That was definitely a first at a facility that has been around for years. We definitely woke up the folks that were out there, that's for sure."

Then the Mopar Dodge Charger R/T team took to the track at Bandimere for four rounds of qualifying and earned the eighth starting position with a 4.111-second pass at 311 mph in the fourth and final session on Saturday evening.

But the Mopar team led by Dickie Venables is focused on Sunday's championship eliminations that will be aired live on ESPN beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

"It's really about going down the racetrack tomorrow," Matt said. "It's going to be hot, hotter than we've seen all weekend and we just need four runs down the track.

"The guys that have been super-fast in qualifying are going to have to pull it way back for Sunday. If you can keep eight cylinders lit up here you're doing a heck of a job. It's so tough for the crew chiefs so if they can get the car down the track four times on Sunday, that's something."

When not racing his special edition Mopar Funny Car, Matt has been entertaining guests from Mopar and Magneti Marelli throughout qualifying.

"I've been slammed this weekend," he said. "We have had so many people from Mopar out this weekend and it's been great. I hope we can turn on four win lights tomorrow and have a big celebration in the winner's circle."

The MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals is the first stop of the annual Western Swing with three races in three weeks. After Denver, the Swing shifts to Sonoma, Calif., and closes with a stop near Seattle.

FUNNY CAR
No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing) 4.049 sec., 318.39 mph (track records)

MATT HAGAN, 426 Race HEMI 50th Anniversary Tribute Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 8
SUNDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
First round: MATT HAGAN vs. Alexis DeJoria
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 8.243 sec., 84.39 mph, (Session 1); 4.111, 300.73 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.320, 287.23 (Session 3); 4.111, 311.41 (Session 4)

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