BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Aug. 1, 2012) - Don Schumacher Racing enjoyed one of its greatest days ever, and Matt Hagan’s Aaron’s Dream Machine Funny was a big part of it even if he didn’t leave Sonoma, Calif. with an event title.
Hagan’s first championship final round of the year came in the 14th event of the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
“I’ve probably never been as happy with finishing second as I was today,” Hagan said after losing to teammate Johnny Gray in the final round. “I hate losing, but I feel good that we went more rounds today than we had all year. I’m tickled that our car is showing promise. It’s a matter of winning some rounds.
“It is our first race with this tune-up combination and we go to the final round. How cool is that?”
The productive points day moved the Aaron’s team up to 12th in the standings with three events remaining before the top-10 are determined to battle in the Countdown to the Championship over the last six races of the year.
Hagan is 91 points out of 10th place heading to the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Kent, Wash., near Seattle. Hagan and crew chief Tommy DeLago desperately want a chance to defend the NHRA Funny Car world championship they won last year.
“Finishing second never feels OK, but we needed to go rounds so it was a very healthy day for us, and maybe it will build some positive momentum for us to try to get into this Countdown.
“We’ve never given up, I’ve never given up.”
The NHRA Sonoma Nationals was the first time this season the team advanced past the second round and only fifth time it won in the first round. DeLago looked to his fellow crew chiefs at DSR for input.
“We had to just keep plugging away,” he said.
“We owe a lot of thanks to (DSR crew chiefs) Rahn Tobler, John Collins, Todd Smith and Terry Snyder for helping us. For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get the tune-up in the car that worked the last two seasons to work this year. Obviously, our other cars at DSR have been running really well all year so we had to be open-minded. We switched over to a few things they use. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
DeLago was referring to winning two races when the tires on Hagan’s Dodge began to lose traction but, fortunately, his opponents in the second and third rounds smoked even worse or developed a mechanical problem.
Hagan said, “We showed some promise by getting to the final and made up a lot of points. We have a few races left for us to do it. There’s definitely a shot. I’m excited, and I know our team is excited. We’ve got a chance to get into this thing.”
The following are Hagan’s statistics, Full Throttle points standings and other notes:
Matt Hagan, Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T
2012 Pts Races Wins Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
12th 14 0 1 0 1 7-12
Career Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
87 5 7 10 4 94-78
NORTHWEST NATIONALS NITRO SCHEDULE
At Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash.
Friday: qualifying, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. (PT)
Saturday: qualifying, 12:30, 3:30 p.m. (PT)
Sunday: championship eliminations, 11 a.m. (PT)
Saturday: 10:30 p.m.-midnight, delay (ET)
Sunday: 6-9 p.m., delay (ET)