MORRISON, Colo. (July 22, 2012) - Matt Hagan must be getting a headache from shaking his head this season in disbelief over how many different ways his Mopar/Aaron’s Funny Car team has lost races.
The Dodge Charger R/T has been blown to smithereens. It’s lost traction and smoked the tires several times. And sometimes was just outrun.
But the reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion lost a race Sunday that he thought he won in the first round of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in the Rocky Mountains near Denver.
Hagan lost by a few inches when Kalitta Motorsport’s Jeff Arend’s time of 4.320 seconds (293.41 mph) edged Hagan’s 4.327 (286.38)
Arend’s margin of victory was 0.0004 – that’s four ten-thousandths of a second that translated to only a few inches on the track.
“Man, that was too close,” Hagan said. “It would have been fun if I was watching in the grandstands or if our Mopar won, but losing a race like that is not fun.”
In the next round, Arend was eliminated by Jack Beckman, one of Hagan’s teammates at Don Schumacher Racing.
“We’ll just head over to Sonoma and get ready for the next one,” said Hagan, whose record in eliminations this year fell to 4-12.
“Losing that early makes it almost impossible for us to qualify for the Countdown (to the Championship),” he said of NHRA’s “playoff” that will include the top-10 drivers after the first 17 events who will contest for the championship over the season’s last six events.
“What makes it even worse is we only got one run on Sunday with our special Mopar body that salutes Mopar’s 75th anniversary,” he said.
Matt Hagan, Mopar/Aaron’s Dodge Charger R/T
Qualified: No. 9
1st round: Jeff Arend (4.320, sec., 291.89 mph) def. HAGAN (4.327, 286.38)
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
NHRA FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR STANDINGS
(unofficial through July 22; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Robert Hight, 1,060
2. RON CAPPS, 994
3. Mike Neff, 863
4. JACK BECKMAN, 862
5. JOHNNY GRAY, 766
6. Courtney Force, 701
7. Cruz Pedregon, 680
8. Jeff Arend, 661
9. Bob Tasca III, 654
10. John Force, 643
11. Tim Wilkerson, 573
12. Alexis DeJoria, 494
13. MATT HAGAN, 491
The Vote4Hagan.com campaign kicked off in a big way at Denver.
The campaign is to get Hagan the most votes between Aug. 19 and 28 on NHRA’s Facebook.com page so he will get the eighth and final spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout that will be on Sept. 2 during the prestigious U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis. The winner will get $100,000.
Campaign buttons and stickers were distributed and campaign signs were seen around Bandimere Speedway.
The on-line campaign commercial was featured on the Saturday qualifying broadcast on ESPN2.
You can watch the video on YouTube.com at http://youtu.be/3V7PR4wJD88
The DSR convoy of nearly 20 trucks heads west for this weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Northern California. Then the following weekend it heads north to Kent, Wash., for the third stop on the grueling Western Swing.