BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Oct. 3, 2012) - When Matt Hagan returns to his cattle farm in rural Virginia, it’s his place to let go of some of the frustrations that come with drag racing.
After a final round loss last week near St. Louis to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, Hagan needed to relax and regroup before heading to Reading, Pa., for this weekend’s NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Maple Grove Raceway.
“I just get back to work on the farm,” Hagan said of how he regroups. “Obviously my time with my children is very valuable to me since I don’t get to see them often when we have stretches like this and I’m not home for six straight weekends. So when I get back, I play with them, take them to school and go back to work on the farm.”
The Dodge Charger R/T team led by crew chief Tommy DeLago has reached four finals this season and been to the semifinal round or further in the past seven consecutive races, but have not yet been able to secure a Wally trophy.
Riding in the seat of one of his John Deere machines is when he can really reflect on his time at the drag strip.
“The farm is my release. It’s kind of my way to let go of what happens on the track. Don’t get me wrong, I still think about the races and what I could do differently. Even when you do everything right you still want to do more.”
Hagan also has his hardworking Aaron’s Dream Machine/Mopar crew on his mind.
“You’ve got 10 guys working together for one common goal and sometimes it’s tough for it to come together,” he said. “The car has been really showing signs of improvement and we’ll keep plugging away.
“Once we didn’t make the Countdown (to the Championship), there’s been no pressure on anything other than turning on win lights. Obviously we wanted to get in the Countdown and have that pressure but unless we turn on four win lights on Sunday it’s not enough.
“It’s not enough to go a couple of rounds or just go to the final. It’s about winning. We’re not a first year team. We’re expected to be there. That puts pressure on us to try and preform and do better.”
Below are Hagan’s statistics and other event notes for this weekend’s event at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading:
MATT HAGAN, Aaron’s/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T
Career at Maple Grove Raceway: Wins 0, Runner-ups 1 (2010), Poles 1 (2000)
2011 at Maple Grove Raceway: Qualified No. 3; lost in second round.
2012 Pts Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
11th 20 0 4 0 1 22-19
Career Races Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
93 5 10 10 4 108- 84
NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
Countdown to the Championship
(Thru Sept. 30, 2012; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. RON CAPPS, 2,361
2. JACK BECKMAN, 2,331
3. Mike Neff, 2,262
4. Cruz Pedregon, 2,202
5. Tim Wilkerson, 2,197
6. Courtney Force, 2,180
7. Robert Hight, 2,179
8. JOHNNY GRAY, 2,149
9. Jeff Arend, 2,148
10. John Force, 2,143
11. MATT HAGAN, 1077
(Times are ET)
Friday: Qualifying, 2 p.m., 5 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, Noon, 3p.m.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.
(Times are ET, subject to change)
SUNDAY: Qualifying, 12:30 a.m., 6 p.m.
SUNDAY: Eliminations, 7 p.m.