Dallas: Matt Hagan final report
HAGAN WINS DALLAS! ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2010) - Racing the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car, Matt Hagan scored his second NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series win in the state of Texas today at the 25th annual NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas ...
HAGAN WINS DALLAS!
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2010) - Racing the DieHard Dodge Charger Funny Car, Matt Hagan scored his second NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series win in the state of Texas today at the 25th annual NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, just south of Dallas.
His first Texas win, and the first of his career, came in Houston in April. The 27-year-old Angus Cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va., now has collected three victories in as many final rounds this season (if you don't count the Charlotte four-wide race earlier this year, where he reached the final round and finished fourth). "I'm really loving Texas," he said. "Might be buying some land down here because it feels like home."
He moved into second place in the Countdown to the Championship point standings and is 25 markers behind John Force, whom he defeated today in the final round.
Hagan was also celebrating the first birthday of his daughter Penny Louise today. "I'm missing the party back at home, but we'll have a party of our own here tonight," he said.
En route to the fifth final round (not counting Charlotte four-wide race) of his short career, Hagan defeated Jeff Arend with a 4.105-second elapsed time at 305.15 mph, Cruz Pedregon with a 4.062/306.74 and Ashley Force Hood with a 4.111/300.26.
Without lane choice in the money round, Hagan edged out Force at the starting lights by a hundredth of a second, then cruised to the victory with another stellar 4.155/294.63 as Force lost traction, slowing to a 4.491/203.74.
"It was definitely gut-wrenching (to race Force)," said Hagan. "It was just amazing that it came down to me and him there at the end. [It was awesome] for the DieHard team to pull it together, go up there and go down the race track after coming in here in 14th and having to do a pedal job to get into the race. We were just fighting our way all the way through here, and it's just been great.
"All the DieHard guys have been flawless this year. They haven't made any mistakes, really, and when they don't make mistakes it really helps me and Tommy (DeLago, crew chief) go rounds because we make enough mistakes for everybody.
"It's a young team, I'm a young driver, Tommy's a young crew chief, and we're very hungry. I'm glad to be here, glad to be beating John Force.
"I left the line and never saw him. I kept listening for him over there and I kept looking over. I was just saying, Come on! Turn that win light on! It finally came on.
"It's just overwhelming and exciting. I have so much respect for that whole John Force team over there. When we won in Chicago, every one of those guys came over and shook our hands and told us what a great job we did. They're a first-class operation, just like DSR. We're a first-class operation and it's always great to race the best. It was just a great weekend.
"It's definitely intimidating (to race Force), but you have to block it out. He's just another guy. And he's had some success out here, and I hope we have that much success in my career."
Said Tommy DeLago: "First of all, this was a great team effort. All the DieHard guys did a great job. Glenn Huszar has really stepped up as assistant crew chief and is really a big help to me. But, realistically, we wouldn't even have had a chance to win this race if it hadn't been for our driver and the raw talent that he has. He did a really good job of pedaling it to even get us in the show."
Also winning today was U.S. Army driver Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel class, making it the 23rd double win for Don Schumacher Racing since 1998.
"I think it's fantastic," said team owner Don Schumacher. "For both Matt and Tony to really jump back into the hunt for this championship is terrific. This championship is going to be a run down to Pomona. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to going to Reading in a couple of weeks and we'll go from there.
"Tommy and that whole crew are doing a phenomenal job," added Schumacher. "I'm really proud of those guys. They've really stepped up. They struggled in qualifying and just brought it to the table first round and every round out here just to win it. Great, great job."
Next up is the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, in Reading, Pa., Oct. 8-10.
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