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2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA U.S. Nationals Event Recap: Second Round
Posted by: newsla on Sep 02, 2014 - 06:22 AM
2014 NHRA: Matt Hagan NHRA U.S. Nationals Event Recap: Second Round

After making the first sub-four second Funny Car pass at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, driver Matt Hagan thought maybe another first was in store.


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With hopes of earning his first NHRA U.S. Nationals Wally trophy during its 60th anniversary edition of drag racing's most prestigious event, Matt advanced past the opening round of eliminations after pedaling his 10,000-horsepower Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

"It really was one of those things where I could hear him (opponent Bob Bode) beside me and the car came loose," Matt said. "I didn't know whether to pedal it and when you do you think 'is it going to blow up?' but it hooked back up and we were able to turn the win light on.

"It was a very, very interesting first round and that's why you can't take anybody lightly."

In the second round, the Mopar Express Lane Funny Car again lost traction but this time Matt couldn't get it hooked back up and he had watch John Force get to the finish line first.

"It didn't go two feet out there. It's hard to do anything with them. You let it calm down and try to get back on it and that early when they smoke the tires there's just not a lot you can do with it. It was just kind of rubbing salt in the wound when we saw him smoke the tires way down the track.

"We were No. 1 qualifier and we didn't go down the racetrack on race day. It's a very, very humbling sport."

The Mopar team will get a fresh start in two weeks when the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff kicks off near Charlotte. Hagan trails Force, the points-leader, by 80 points.

"We just start over at this next race," he said. "We have to go out there with the mentality that we have an opportunity here to win this (championship). When I won it in 2011 we came in out of the sixth spot and we are coming in out of the seventh spot now so we just have to have a couple of good races here in the Countdown. That's why they do it. They reset the points and give everybody in the top-10 gets a chance.

"We just have to be there and I think we are. The car is starting to come around and responding well and we're starting to get some clutch packages that work."

Event Winner: Alexis DeJoria (Kalitta Racing)
No. 1 Qualifier: Matt Hagan (DSR) 3.998 sec., 316.01 mph

MATT HAGAN, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T
Qualifying Position: No. 1

First round: HAGAN (4.404, 260.16) def. Bode (4.464, 210.64)
Second round: J. Force (5.386, 163.02) def. HAGAN (6.182, 145.22)
FRIDAY: 4.067 sec., 318.47 mph, Session 1
SATURDAY: 4.021, 318.99, Session 2; 4.713, 175.87, Session 3
SUNDAY: 3.998, 316.01, Session 4; 4.103, 311.63, Session 5
(Unofficial after 18 of 24 events and end of regular season); DSR drivers in CAPS

driver (wins) points behind
1. John Force (3) 1,420 ----
2. Robert Hight (5) 1,340 -80
3. RON CAPPS (2) 1,188 -232
4. Alexis DeJoria (3) 1,148 -272
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) 1,107 -313
6. Courtney Force (2) 1,093 -327
7. MATT HAGAN (1) 1,074 -346
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) 963 -457
9. Del Worsham 961 -459
10. Tim Wilkerson 883 -537

(Standings and reset points for contestants qualified for the Countdown to the Championship)

driver (wins) points behind
1. John Force (3) ------
2. Robert Hight (5) -30
3. RON CAPPS (2) -40
4. Alexis DeJoria (3) -50
5. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. (1) -60
6. Courtney Force (2) -70
7. MATT HAGAN (1) -80
8. Cruz Pedregon (1) -90
9. Del Worsham -100
10. Tim Wilkerson -110

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