EPPING — New England Dragway has treated Matt Hagan and Antron Brown well, and the Don Schumacher Racing teammates are looking for a repeat performance in today’s NHRA New England Nationals.
Hagan has won each of the past two years in Epping, while Brown won in 2016, so neither is lacking for confidence, but both are looking for a spark.
“We’re halfway through the season now,” Hagan said. “I got off to hot start, but we’ve had some bumps in the road. Hopefully we can get going again this weekend. At the end of the day, I have confidence in my guys and my Crew Chief.”
Brown said the drastic weather change expected between yesterday and today’s elimination rounds will throw a wrench in every team’s planning, but he is confident that his team will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
“The weather change will be better for everybody,” he said. “It will tighten up the competition and make for better races. What we’ve done in the past – that’s history – we need to look forward and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
“Any time the track gets cooler it makes things easier for the Crew Chiefs,” Hagan added. “It will be a good change in direction and people should be able to get down the track better.”
Getting down the track was a challenge, particularly for the Top Fuel cars in the heat and humidity of Friday and Saturday, but with passing showers expected overnight prior to Sunday’s race, and a drop in temperature, the 11,000 horsepower cars should be able to maintain better traction on the New England Dragway surface.
Hagan and Brown are both shooting to gain traction of their own in the 2019 season by returning to the winner’s circle today.
After a slow start to the season, Brown has won at least one round in each of the past six races, and he looks to make a return trip to the final round today, and hopefully come away with a win.
“We’re getting to the point in the year where things are getting serious,” Brown said. “We’re zoning in. I’m getting into game zone. I’m zoned in and ready for battle.”
Hagan said he has been struggling to get past the first round lately, and he knows that with a team as strong as his, it is only a matter of time before they right the ship. He thinks this weekend might be the time that they turn things around.
“I feel good about going into this weekend,” Hagan said. “This track has treated me kindly, and it would be nice to pull down another win. This needs to be our turning point. We’re coming up on (the U.S. Nationals in) Indy and then the countdown. We need to win. It’s now or never, we have to get going.”
“Our car is getting to the place where we’re happy with it,” Brown said. “We just want to run a little quicker.”
Drag racers go in straight lines for a living, but both Hagan and Brown hope to turn a corner this weekend as they head into the stretch run of the NHRA season.