BROWNSBURG, Ind. (June 12, 2012) – Matt Hagan has been making hay, literally, and expects to plant that agricultural strategy onto asphalt as well as the fertile soil on his Christiansburg, Va., cattle farm that produced a bounty this spring.
The 29-year-old driver of the Mopar/Aaron’s Dream Machine Funny Car with crew chief Tommy DeLago are cautiously optimistic approaching this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee.
The Don Schumacher Racing team acknowledges this has not been the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season it expected after harvesting the prestigious NHRA Funny Car world championship last season.
But the Mopar Dodge Charger R/T has made steady progress over the past three events and no place would be better for the team to plow past the second round for the first time this year than at what Hagan considers his home track.
“I’m only about 100 miles from Bristol and I know I’m going to have some family and a lot of friends out there this weekend,” Hagan said. “We just want to do good for them.”
The phrase “making hay while the sun shines” refers to cutting hay when it’s not saturated with rain and heavy. In drag racing parlance, for Hagan, this weekend is the time “to make hay” with another big move as the team continues to make progress with its performance.
Although Hagan’s team failed to qualify for one of the first nine Full Throttle events and has advanced to the second round only three times, his qualifying time of 4.035 seconds two weeks ago at Englishtown, N.J., was his best of the season and earned the No. 5 qualifying position.
Hagan lost in the second round but for the first time this year he qualified in the top-seven three straight races.
“Folks might be getting tired of me saying this but we are so close to turning the corner,” he said. “We still have a problem dropping (engine) cylinders, but on the 4.03 all eight kept firing and you can see what the result was.
“We’re getting there. Tommy’s closing in on it.”
June 15-17, NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals; Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway
FULL THROTTLE NITRO SCHEDULE
Friday: Qualifying, 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m.
Sunday: Eliminations, Noon
Qualifying: 7:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, (delayed)
Eliminations: 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday (delayed)
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(DSR drivers in CAPS)
Driver (Wins) Points
1. Robert Hight (4) 857
2. RON CAPPS (1) 700
3. Mike Neff (1) 615
4. JOHNNY GRAY (1) 558
5. JACK BECKMAN (1) 543
6. Cruz Pedregon 477
7. Bob Tasca III 451
8. John Force (1) 438
9. Courtney Force 429
10. Jeff Arend 388
12. MATT HAGAN 342
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.
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