Matt Hagan is this year's Johnny Gray.
While Hagan was busy securing his first series champion last year, Gray went about his business like a championship contender reaching the finals three times, semis twice and one quarter-final. However, there was one problem for Gray, he didn't make the Countdown.
Just like Gray found his groove late in the season, so has Hagan by reaching the finals in three of the last six events. Hagan lost in Sunday's AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals final round to Bob Tasca III.
Matt Hagan and the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car advanced to its third championship round Sunday in the last six events. The other three in that span were trips to the semifinals.
"That's great, but it doesn't matter because we're not in the Countdown," a disappointed Hagan said after losing a chance to win the team's first title of the year.
Both Tasca and Hagan lost traction early in the final round. Hagan was able to regain control first and led when he hammered the throttle and the blower belt on the supercharger came off to basically kill his engine's power.
Tasca reached the finish line first in 4.826 seconds at 197.59 mph to Hagan's 5.025 (188.15).
"It shook the tires fast, but I pedaled it and then it kicked the blower belt off," Hagan said. "I had to watch him cruise by.
"If the blower belt hadn't come off I think we'd have gotten the win light. That's how it goes. (Crew chief) Tommy DeLago has done a really good job coming on in the later part of the season."
The sting of disappointment wasn't lessened by making it to another final.
"For Aaron's, Mopar and DieHard it's really cool that we went to another final," Hagan said. "It's great to be going rounds, but we really need to make it count when we get opportunities to race for the trophy. I can't help but feel like we gave it away up there.
"I just feel for my (crew) guys. They did as much work today that the guys did who won, but my guys aren't celebrating and smiling. It's disheartening. We'll keep digging deep and hopefully get a win before the year's up.
"The opportunity to win only comes along so many times."
Hagan, who qualified No. 7, beat John Force in the first round and Tim Wilkerson in the second. In the semifinals, Hagan was paired with teammate and points leader Ron Capps. In one of the closest races of the day, Hagan's 4.203 (293.03) was two-hundredths of a second better than Capps' 4.220 (288.09).
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.
|< Prev||Next >|