Matt Hagan enjoyed his time off between races, but is anxious to resume racing his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car this weekend in the 12th annual NHRA Nationals here on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“It was great having time at home with the family and I got a lot done on the farm,” said the 28-year-old cattle farmer from Christiansburg, Va. “But I’m ready to get back to racing. With two off weeks between the last race and now, it seems like we’ve been off for the winter.

“And once we go down the track for the first qualifying session (scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, April 1), I’ll be back into the groove.”

Hagan’s desire to resume the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series is understandable – he sits in second place of the Funny Car championship following the first two races of the season, thanks to a final-round appearance in the Winternationals followed by a semifinal one at the Gatornationals.

In addition, he took the pole position and set low elapsed time (4.030 seconds) for the Gainesville race a little more than two weeks ago.

“Tommy DeLago (crew chief) has the DieHard Dodge running really well,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “We’ve done well in Vegas before and we have some great data to work from for this race.”

He was runner up during the last race here in November 2010 and won the pole en route to a final-round appearance during the 2009 spring race. Last spring he qualified third and reached the quarterfinals.

“I like racing in Vegas,” Hagan said. “The track’s been good to us and, well, it’s Vegas.”

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FC Mello Yello Points

Unofficial NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Standings:

Funny Car

1 Jack Beckman 278
2 Tommy Johnson Jr 276
3 Matt Hagan 238
4 Tim Wilkerson 179
5 John Force 173
6 Ron Capps 159
7 Alexis DeJoria 154
8 Bob Tasca III 149
9 J.R. Todd 141
10 Robert Hight 100