BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 28, 2012) - Matt Hagan will face the most dramatic and longest week of the season once he arrives Wednesday in Downtown Indianapolis to start the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
Suspense begins two days before he makes his first qualifying run Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway.
The first chapter for the driver of Don Schumacher Racing's Mopar/Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is Wednesday at Monument Circle when he learns at the NHRA Fanfest if his name is selected to compete in Sunday's NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout.
The first seven drivers in the Shootout are the first to win Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event titles this year, and the last position will be decided by lottery at Fanfest and set the field for the race for a $100,000 bonus.
That will be followed by five qualifying runs Friday night through Sunday afternoon to determine the driver's for Monday's 16-car Full Throttle eliminations field and the race to win the most coveted Wally trophy of the season.
And on Labor Day, Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago will find out of a remarkable comeback over the last three Full Throttle events is enough to help propel them into the top-10 when the regular season ends after Indy and the Countdown to the Championship field is set for the last six events of the 23-race season.
"I'm just glad we still have a fighting chance to go out there and do this," Hagan said of getting into the Countdown. "We still have a big hill to climb. It's just a matter of getting out there and making big plays and stepping up to the plate and trying to knock it out of the park. But things have got to line up, too."
Hagan is 19 points behind Bob Tasca III in 10th place while 12th-place Tim Wilkerson is nine out of 10th. Rookie Alexis DeJoria is a longshot but can rally from 13th to 10th.
"You can't change what other people do, you can only control what you have available in front of you, and that's what we have tried to focus on," said Hagan, whose Dodge has advanced to a pair of championship rounds and a semifinals in the past three events
Hagan hopes his soap opera season takes a positive turn on Wednesday by getting into the Shootout.
"I'd rather be one the seven drivers who got in by winning a trophy this season, but it has meant a lot to me when fans have come up and said they want to be in it. If we get in great, that's a lot of cash. But we're going to Indy to win the biggest Wally trophy of all and get locked into the Countdown so we have a chance to defend our championship."
MATT HAGAN, Mopar/Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
2011 at Indy: Qualified No. 4; lost in semifinals to Mike Neff
Career at Indy: Wins 0, Runner-ups 0, Poles 0
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Through Aug. 19, Brainerd, Minn.; 16 of 23 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 1,228
2. Robert Hight, 1,175
3. JACK BECKMAN, 1,068
4. JOHNNY GRAY, 999
5. Mike Neff, 988
6. Courtney Force, 883
7. Cruz Pedregon, 861
8. John Force, 842
9. Jeff Arend, 781
10. Bob Tasca III, 770
11. MATT HAGAN, 751
TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT - FUNNY CAR
Sunday (12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.)
First-round pairings: 1. RON CAPPS vs. No. 8 fan vote/lottery; 2. Robert Hight vs. No. 7 Jeff Arend; 3. JACK BECKMAN vs. No. 6 John Force; 4. JOHNNY GRAY vs. No. 5 Mike Neff
U.S. NATIONALS FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE (all times ET)
WEDNESDAY: NHRA Fanfest, public press conference and autograph session, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Monument Circle, Downtown Indianapolis
FRIDAY (Aug. 31): Big O Tires Don Schumacher Racing Open House for Riley Hospital, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Nitro qualifying, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY (Sept. 1): Nitro qualifying, 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
SUNDAY (Sept. 2): Nitro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
MONDAY (Sept. 3): Eliminations, 11 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET), delayed
Sunday: 5-7 p.m. (ET), delayed
Monday: 12-6 p.m. (ET)
THIS FRIDAY - DON SCHUMACHER RACING OPEN HOUSE
The seventh annual Big O Tires presents the Don Schumacher Racing Open House is Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature each of the seven DSR drivers, an indoor car and bike show, Cacklefest with the legendary "Jungle Jim" Funny car, "330-mph Art & Technology" exhibits and Silent Auction to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The annual Open House and other DSR functions have raised more than $175,000 for Riley Hospital.
The event is free to the public.
Silent auction items range from 50-inch HD, flat panel television provided by Aaron's to the actual front end from Matt Hagan's Aaron's Funny Car that was featured worldwide on the Internet and television news programs after the car exploded earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMAX Dragway.
The technology aspect of the Open House will allow visitors for the first time to tour the DSR CNC Machine Shop that includes high-tech machinery used to manufacture more than 200 components used on DSR Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars.
The DSR 8,000-horsepower supercharger dynometer also will be operated at various times throughout the day.
DSR is located at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg about 4 miles west of Lucas Oil Raceway.
About the Mopar Brand
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes 280,000 parts and accessories. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat S.p.A., Mopar's global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories which are distributed in more than 120 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A.vehicles - a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at http://www.mopar.com.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s - the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "special parts" for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Visit Chrysler's Media Services Web site at http://www.media.chrysler.com for additional Chrysler and Mopar news. For additional information about Mopar, log on to http://www.mopar.com or http://www.moparspeed.com.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 190 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.