The way the season has been going for Matt Hagan he should have expected that when a big storm rolled through Route 66 Raceway near Chicago last Friday night that he would have been struck by lightning.
While the popular reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion was not electrified, about 650 miles to the southeast at his cattle ranch and farm in Christiansburg, Va., winds up to 80 mph blew through and downed giant trees but spared any structural damage to his property.
“Well I spent the last two days cutting up about 25 or 30 trees so we should have plenty of firewood this winter,” Hagan said Tuesday afternoon.
“I hated that my wife was home with our kids, but she’s pretty tough and knows how to improvise through a challenging time like that.”
She must have learned patience from her husband, who remarkably has not taken a baseball bat and pounded the side of a mountain to relieve frustration.
Hagan’s Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car tuned by crew chief Tommy DeLago had made steady progress the previous four events until last weekend at Joliet, Ill., when the team qualified 14th for the 16-car elimination field and lost in the first round for the sixth time in 11 events this year.
“You just keep doing what you’re doing. Our guys on the crew are doing a great job and couldn’t work any harder,” Hagan said. “We’ve just got to just keep moving forward.”
Hagan’s team fell from 11th to 13th in the Funny Car standings with only six events left before the top-10 are determined to participate over the year’s last six events for the series championship. He is 109 points outside of 10th place.
“Now we have a big hill to climb without having any momentum,” Hagan said. “We have to make something happen in the next race or two or any chance of repeating as the Funny Car champ will be over.”
MEET HAGAN AT CLYDE
Hagan will join Full Throttle Energy Drink for a promotional appearance and sign autographs at Miller’s Super Valu on 505 W. Maple in nearby Clyde, Ohio, from 4-5 p.m. on Thursday.
Career at Norwalk: Wins 0; Runner-ups 0; Poles 0
2011 at Norwalk: Qualified No. 4; lost to Mike Neff in second round.
2012 Pts W Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
13th 0 0 0 1 4-10
2011 Pts W Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
1st 2 2 4 0 33-20
Career Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
5 6 10 4 90-75
FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(Unofficial July 1 through 11 of 23 events; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight, 950
2. RON CAPPS, 854
3. JACK BECKMAN, 701
4. JOHNNY GRAY, 687
5. Mike Neff, 686
6. Jeff Arend, 556
7. Courtney Force, 554
8. Bob Tasca III, 549
9. Cruz Pedregon, 545
10. John Force, 536
13. MATT HAGAN, 427