BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Feb. 22, 2017) - Matt Hagan started off the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season perfectly at the NHRA Winternationals 10 days ago by earning the No. 1 qualifying position and racing to victory with the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T.
The team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen will try to do the same this weekend at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix but with a new color scheme of longtime Don Schumacher Racing partner Sandvik Coromant on board.
Sandvik Coromant is a global leading supplier of cutting tools, tooling solutions and know-how to the metalworking industry. Sandvik Coromant has over 8,000 employees and is represented in 130 countries.
"Sandvik will be primary on a car for a few races this season and we hope to park them in the winner's circle," Hagan said. "We got off to such a strong start there in Pomona and we just have to keep up the good work."
Hagan feels that the team Powered by Pennzoil with Venables set the tone at the season opener in Pomona.
"You know you have all those weeks off, we came out to testing and we definitely had some struggles here and there but worked around it before we went out to Pomona and the car was just great. That's a big relief, to get a win out of the way right off the bat.
"I say it all the time and it's true, with Dickie in my corner, we have the potential to win wherever we are. He's extremely focused, lives and breathes this and it shows. We have a great group of guys this year and I'm really excited to see where we can go."
This weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals is the second of 24 Mello Yello events this season. Hagan and the Sandvik Coromant team won the pole and event title at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in 2015.
"We're just going to try and carry some of this momentum into Phoenix and try to make it two in a row to start the year. It'll be tough to do that but we're really looking forward to it."
MATT HAGAN: Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Feb. 9-12 at Pomona): Qualified No. 1, won in championship round over Courtney Force
2016 Phoenix: Qualified No. 10, lost in second round to Robert Hight
Career at Phoenix: Wins 1 (2015); Runner-ups 1 (2013); Poles 1 (2015)