In 2011, the Don Schumacher Racing
DieHard Dodge has sprung to the fore
again, and Matt Hagan (RIGHT) believes
he’s better prepared to grab that FC title.
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER
No way was Matt Hagan going to be a one-year
Words Todd Veney Images Marc Gewertz
wonder. Narrowly missing out on last year’s NHRA
Funny Car title just made him more determined.
Matt Hagan was so close to the NHRA Funny Car Championship last year that eventually it grew impossible not to think about it, to picture himself
being handed the trophy, to think about all the people he’d
have to remember to thank. Inching toward the beams beside
John Force in the final round of the penultimate race of the year,
one more round-win would have virtually clinched the 2010 title
for Hagan, who, when the season began, had never won a race.
Everything was trending his way: lane choice, momentum
from being in his third straight final, and a better run than
Force’s in all three preliminary rounds. They left the line, and
Force’s car stumbled to a run not just slower but a full tenth of
a second slower than Hagan’s worst run all day. But Hagan’s