Thursday, June 28, 2012

Funny Car champ Hagan seeks to crush competition, hopes it comes first on the dragstrip at Route 66

Matt Hagan can't wait until he can put on a firesuit and helmet, hit the racetrack, floor the throttle and crush some cars.

"You know, that's just what I might need. And I'm going to do it," he said.

The reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion is frustrated with being ranked 11th in his DieHard Advance Gold Dodge Charger R/T, and he believes he knows how to release the tension.

"Yeah, I'll go crush some stuff."

The good news for his Funny Car brethren at this weekend's NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Joliet, Ill., is that they will not be the targets of his effort to vent. His targets of mass demolition will be unoccupied vehicles on July 4 when he drives the Virginia Giant monster truck at a holiday show at Motor Mile Speedway near his home in Christiansburg, Va.

"Last year they let me start it and drive it around, but this time I get to crush stuff."

Hagan said "crush stuff" numerous times, including in the verbiage he used when detailing his plan to crush the run of bad luck he and crew chief Tommy DeLago have endured.

The team has yet to advance past a second round through 10 races this year, but progress has been steady. Hagan qualified in the top eight two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., for the fourth straight race. In the second round, Hagan's time of 4.140 seconds was quicker than two others who won in the round, but it wasn't quick enough to beat teammate Jack Beckman's 4.100, which was the round's quickest.

"We're close to breaking through," Hagan said.

Hagan moved up one spot to 11th in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series standings after Bristol and is 45 points out of 10th place, which is the last coveted spot to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship field that will be determined after the U.S. Nationals on Aug. 29-Sept. 3 at Indianapolis.

"That's our next step," he said. "We're closing in on it."

Route 66 could help the DieHard team get back on course. Hagan won at the track in 2010 when he set the track elapsed-time record of 4.022. A year ago, he qualified No. 2 ago before being upset by Dale Creasy Jr.

He won't be trying to break records on the Fourth of July, just car parts.

What could be next if his monster-truck driving stint is successful?

Perhaps the "wild man of cattle ranching" will try to pilot a 160-mph drag boat.

No comments:

Post a Comment