BAYTOWN, Texas (April 28, 2012) - Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan spoke to students earlier this week about creating the best opportunities for themselves and he is taking his own advice as he heads into race day at the NHRA Spring Nationals with his Aaron's Dream Machine.
Hagan qualified 13th after two days of qualifying in the heat and humidity at Royal Purple Raceway outside of Houston.
"Heat is hard on a driver, no doubt," said Hagan. "It makes you want to go home and sit in a bucket of ice."
While that seems like the thing to do after two grueling days in the heat, Hagan will be fresh when he lines up against Jeff Arend in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday. Hagan defeated Arend in the final round at the Houston-area track two years ago to collect his first career NHRA win.
"It's going to be a battle," Hagan said. "We just have to go up there, I have to leave on time and keep this thing in the groove. With these hot race tracks your car wants to skate around a bit and that's when I have to step up as a driver and wrestle this Aaron's Dream Machine.
Hagan feels confident in his consistent performances as a driver throughout the weekend and he knows crew chief Tommy DeLago will be ready to perform come Sunday.
"We've got a good shot to win," he said. "We are very optimistic. We got qualified and we just have to take this thing one step at a time.
"I'm going to go up there and try to do what I always do, that's give our team the best opportunity we can to win. For me it's just going up there and doing what I normally try to do, not do anything different or put any more pressure of myself."
The Aaron's Lucky Dog mascot, who has been entertaining the fans at Royal Purple Raceway all weekend, will be watching nearby as Hagan looks to make the most of his opportunity to go rounds on race day and make a push into the top 10 in the Funny Car standings.
Matt Hagan, Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
Final qualifying position: No. 13
Round 1 opponent: Jeff Arend
Session 1: 5.924 sec., 119.11 mph
Session 2: 4.247, 291.45
Session 3: 4.261, 303.16
Session 4: 6.724, 94.79
Saturday: Pro qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Pro eliminations, 11 a.m.
Sunday: 7-10 p.m. EST (delayed)
Sunday: High 82 degrees, partly cloudy, 20 percent chance of precipitation
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