Hagan's 3.995-Second Run at zMAX Dragway Earns Moment of the Year
Matt Hagan and the DieHard team have created some of the most memorable moments in the short history at zMAX Dragway, although up until September, 2011 they were for all the wrong reasons – as in, they had created some of the sport’s most spectacular explosions there at zMAX Dragway.
But when the DieHard team with Tommy DeLago tuning returned in September 2011, they created the kind of historic moment that will remembered forever – they became the first Funny Car team to break the four-second barrier – and that was the 2011 Fan Choice Awards’ “Moment of the Year.”
The 3.995-second blast down the Bellagio of drag strips narrowly defeated Bob Vandergriff’s memorable run back up the track at Texas Motorplex, a spontaneous reaction to his first career win after 13 runner-up finishes.
The long history of this great sport has been defined by the barriers of time and speed that have been pursued since its founding in 1951 and in 2011 the top Funny Car teams were in hot pursuit to be the first in the fours.
When conditions were just right -– as they were in Topeka and a handful of other tracks during the 2011 season –- the buzz for the first sub-four run in Funny Car grew. One such ‘perfect’ session came to fruition in Charlotte in September and the DieHard team delivered the goods.
What’s more, this moment carried significance that far exceeded simply earning the historic distinction of being the first in the fours. Hagan entered the Auto Club NHRA Finals with a one-point lead over Jack Beckman, a 26-point lead over Cruz Pedregon and a 34-point lead over Mike Neff so the 20 bonus points he earned for setting the national record were a major boost in his run to the NHRA Full Throttle Series championship.