Matt Hagan looks to regain winning ways
A combination of new things – a new body, a new sponsor and a new approach – being rolled out this weekend for the 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway provides Matt Hagan with optimism for both the race and the remainder of the season.
Hagan will drive a unique black-and-orange Autolite/DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for the Atlanta race. In addition, DirtRoadNation.com, one of the largest Oakley distributors/retailers in the South, comes on board as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season.
According to the 28-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver, his team is returning to the methods and approach which brought him to within a couple of rounds of winning the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship.
“I’m excited to get to this race,” said the working cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va. “Tommy DeLago (crew chief) has us getting back to what we know, what worked for us last year.
“We’ve been in sort of test mode most of this season, trying new things and we might have sacrificed some races along the way. It’s now time to get down to business, down to racing.
“And I’m excited doing it in a new body, with some great new sponsors, as well as our primary one, DieHard, which has been just a terrific supporter for us.”
Hagan opened the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season with a final-round appearance, then a semifinal one, followed by two first-round ousters before reaching the quarterfinals in the last race. He comes to Atlanta Dragway holding sixth place in the Funny Car championship standings.
“It’s now time to go rounds, get deeper into each race and I believe we will,” he said. “Tommy’s been working really hard and I know he can knock one out of the park; he’s proven it!”