MORRISON, Colo. (July 21, 2012) - Matt Hagan and the Mopar/Aaron’s Dream Machine team arrived at Bandimere Speedway with high hopes after experiencing more lows than the reigning NHRA Funny Car champions expected to face this season.
Time is running out on the team’s chances to defend the prestigious championship. Hagan’s team with crew chief Tommy DeLago are 13th in the standings with only five NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events remaining before the top-10 in points qualify for the Countdown to the Championship that will be contested over the last six events.
On Sunday, Hagan feels pressure of not only winning elimination rounds but performing strong in the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver.
“Obviously this is a Mopar sponsored race and we’re driving the Mopar car so we want to do well for them,” said Hagan, who qualified No. 9. “We need to just do what I know we can do.”
Last season, the team won two of the last six NHRA events to earn the championship. But through 12 events this year, Hagan has only won in the first round four times.
A year ago at Bandimere, the team qualified third and advanced to the championship round where it lost to John Force.
“It’s not like we forgot how to do anything. We just need to go up there and have some round wins tomorrow.”
For the sixth time this season, the team qualified in the bottom half of the 16-car field and that means his first-round opponent, Jeff Arend of Kalitta Motorsports who is tied with rookie Courtney Force for eighth in points, will have choice of which lane to run.
“It is what it is,” Hagan said.
“We made it to the final round last year and we can do that again; I know we can.
“We have Jeff Arend first round, and he’s a big player in the Countdown. We have to make some of our own luck tomorrow. We just need to go up there and have fun with it.”
The following are qualifying results and notes:
Matt Hagan, Mopar/Aaron’s Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 9
First round opponent: Jeff Arend
Session 1: 4.380 sec., 264.91 mph
Session 2: 4.224, 288.15
Session 3: 4.458, 229.12
Session 4: 4.345, 280.37
DENVER NITRO SCHEDULE
SUNDAY: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
SUNDAY: 7-10 p.m. (ET), delayed
Sunday: High of 91; 30 percent of rain showers
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 Aaron's, Inc.
Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), the nation's leader in the sale and lease ownership of residential furniture, computers, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories. Aaron's Inc., which celebrates its 57th anniversary this year, has over 1,940 company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada. Founded in 1955 by entrepreneur and current Chairman R. Charles Loudermilk Sr. and headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron's has been publicly traded since 1982. For more information, visit www.aarons.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 arrived at Norwalk, Ohio, with 185 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
- DSR -
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