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Aug 18, 2014 - 06:50 AM
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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Nationals At Brainerd Event Recap: Second Round
Posted by: newsla on Aug 18, 2014 - 06:45 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA Nationals At Brainerd Event Recap: Second Round

Matt Hagan knows to stay level-headed in the sport of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing. To keep the emotional peaks and valleys at a minimum is crucial to long-term success in the ruthless sport.


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Having won a NHRA Funny Car championship (2011), and twice coming up just short to John Force (2010, '13), Hagan knows the straight-line sport can humble a racer as Clayton Kershaw does Major League hitters.

Hagan's Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T put in another solid performance during the 33rd annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. The 11-time NHRA winner qualified his Dodge flopper in the No. 3 position for the second straight race as Hagan collected his 170th career NHRA round win over Chad Head in round one on Sunday. The Mopar Dodge posted the second quickest pass of the round at 4.018-seconds. The great elapsed time did not earn Hagan lane choice in round two against Alexis DeJoria after the two-time 2014 winner clocked a lap of 4.010-seconds.

Hagan used a round two starting line advantage to race the Mopar Dodge to the lead and a lap of 4.056, 318.77, but it wasn't enough to overcome DeJoria's stellar track-record pass of 3.998, 315.93. It was the 29th three-second elapsed time in NHRA history and first at Brainerd.

"We're going to test next week and we have a lot to still sort out," Hagan said after the close loss. "We had a great lap first round with that 4.01 and that's something that this Mopar team can build on and work on when we get good conditions again in the Countdown like at Reading (Pa.).

"Obviously, we'd like to be going rounds and move up a few spots in the points standings, but on the flip side, we qualified in the top half at No. 3, ran really good first round and we missed it a little bit in the second round. That's part of it. You put nitro in the tank, sometimes you don't know what you're going to get. We'll role into Indy test and try to figure some more things out, but we tip our caps to Tommy (DeLago), Alexis (DeJoria) and that Patron team. That was a phenomenal lap."

The Mopar team will head home to the team's DSR shop in Brownsburg, Ind. tomorrow before two days of testing at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis on Aug. 20-21. The NHRA teams will then compete at the 60th annual U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend at the historic Brownsburg facility.

Traxxas Funny Car Shootout Voting
Voting for the coveted eighth and final spot in the third annual Traxxas Funny Car Shootout at Indianapolis on Aug. 31 went live on NHRA's Facebook page on Aug. 17. Fans can vote for Hagan at https://www.facebook.com/NHRA/app_201730886505500. Hagan will need fan support in NHRA's online fan vote and lottery drawing on Aug. 27 in downtown Indianapolis to name the final driver to compete in the 2014 Traxxas Shootout on Aug. 31.

Event Winner: Ron Capps vs. John Force (To be completed on Aug. 30 during qualifying for the U.S. Nationals)
No. 1 Qualifier: John Force (John Force Racing), 4.060 sec., 315.27 mph

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 3
FIRST ROUND: HAGAN .077 4.018 sec., 318.99 mph def. Head 4.088
SECOND ROUND: DeJoria .094 3.998, 315.93 def. HAGAN .061 4.056, 318.77

FRIDAY: 4.438 sec., 207.11 mph (Session 1), 4.138, 308.21 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 4.165, 281.01 (Session 3), 4.068, 311.99 (Session 4)

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Standings
(following the 17th of 24 races)
Funny Car
Driver (wins) points
1. John Force (3) 1,326/1,346
2. Robert Hight (5) 1,308
3. RON CAPPS (1) 1,090/1,110
4. TOMMY JOHNSON JR (1) 1,052
5. Alexis DeJoria (2) 1,035
6. Courtney Force (2) 1,015
7. MATT HAGAN (1) 1,009
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 929
9. Del Worsham 900
10. Tim Wilkerson 848
11. JACK BECKMAN 832 -16

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