2010 was a funny car year Mopar fans would rather forget, and one
that Matt Hagan was determined to make us forget. Matt had gone
into the last race at Pomona with a 30 point lead over John Force,
but was unfortunately knocked out in the first round. Force went on
to win the race, passing Matt for the championship along the way.

Nearing the end of the 2011 season, things looked a little better
for the Mopar Nation. Two Don Schumacher Racing Funny Cars
were number one and two in the points. “Fast” Jack Beckman
led Matt Hagan by a single point heading into the next to last race
of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. So arriving at Las
Vegas we wondered, how was Matt Hagan holding up, what was he thinking, how was this year compared to last year?

In qualifying, Hagan managed fifth and Beckman fought to eighth. On race day Beckman beat John Force in the first round but lost in the second round to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron
Capps who went on to win the race.

That same day, Matt Hagan also won
in the first round but then
lost in round two to
Cruz Pedregon when
his funny car blew the
engine right at

Photo courtesy of Don Schumacher Racing

We sat down to talk with Matt right after that second round. Matt was leading the points by a slim margin at this time over Beckman, but Pedregon was in a position where if he went rounds he would take over the lead.

If you watched the 2010 season on TV, you probably noticed that Matt Hagan seemed devastated by his loss of the championship to John Force. He avoided contact with his crew and his face
reflected the old Wide World of Sports line, “The agony of defeat.”

And now, here we were, waiting for him to emerge from the motor home after his car blew up on the starting line, and he didn’t know if Pedregon was about to pass him in the points. What was his mood going to be like? It turned out that Matt learned a lot last year, not just about racing but about life and the importance of perspective and priorities. The Matt Hagan that sat down with us was remarkably calm and relaxed. Hagan’s eyes focus on yours intently when he’s speaking to you, in spite of all that must be swirling around
in his life at that moment, you have no doubt that
for now, in this conversation, you are
100% of his focus. You can view
the video of part of the
following conversation
at Youtube.