BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 29, 2012) – Matt Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago continue to hope this will be the race that they turn around their season as the reigning NHRA Funny Car world champions.
Hagan might lead the NHRA in optimism as he prepares to join the Don Schumacher Racing “Super Team” at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., for this weekend’s 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals.
Hagan’s team is mired in 13th place in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series standings. The team has advanced to the second round only twice this year through eight events.
“It’s going to happen and it could be this weekend,” Hagan said of his Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T racing deep into Sunday’s championship elimination rounds.
“We are the same team we were when we won two races at the end of last season and won the championship,” Hagan said. “Our first goal now is to move into the top-10 in points before the last six events so we can defend our title.”
The top-10 teams after the first 17 NHRA Full Throttle events can contend for the series championship over the last six races of the year.
“I know Tommy and our guys have been working hard back at the DSR shop and it’s just a matter of time until our Aaron’s Dream Machine gets back on track. We could really use some help from the Aaron’s Lucky Dog.”
Hagan spent the past weekend at a racetrack but didn’t need his helmet or Aaron’s firesuit. He was Aaron’s guest at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It was a great time to be able to visit with all the great folks at Aaron’s and Freightliner,” Hagan said Tuesday while taking a break from killing weeds on his cattle farm.
Hagan spent Saturday afternoon with Travis Pastrana before the NASCAR Nationwide race and then with Pastrana’s crew on pit road. Then Sunday evening during the Cup race, Hagan was on pit road with the crew of Aaron’s teammate Mark Martin when he held the No. 55 pit stop-sign for Martin’s first stop.
“Man, that was very cool,” Hagan said. “All the Aaron’s guys made me feel real welcome. I just didn’t want to drop the sign or hit Mark’s car with it when he came in to stop.
“It was fun hanging out a race as a guest and a fan, but now it’s time to go back to work.”
Hagan saw 190-mph race cars make hundreds of successful turns on the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval, so the timing is right for him to make his own a big turn at 315-mph this weekend at Englishtown and shoot up the standings.
MATT HAGAN: Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
In 2011: Lost in semifinals to Cruz Pedregon
Career: Wins 0; runner-ups 0; poles 0
FRIDAY: Qualifying, 3:45 and 6:15 p.m.
SATURDAY: Qualifying, noon and 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
SATURDAY: Qualifying, 4:30-6 p.m. (ET, delayed)
SUNDAY: Championship eliminations, 4:30-7 p.m. (ET, delayed)