We’re getting word that reigning NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champion Matt Hagan, driver of the Aaron’s Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing, will be trading his dry digs for a fresh air system and a life preserver this weekend when he takes advantage of an open date on the NHRA schedule to pilot a Pro Modified hydro with the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series.
Team owner Randy Benson, an 8-time drag boat racing champion, revealed on his Facebook page that Hagan will pilot the “Texas Bounty Hunter” Pro Modified drag boat at this weekend’s Marble Falls Lakefest in Marble Falls, Texas. Benson’s boat is backed by Lucas Oil and CP-Carillo connecting rods.
Unlike Hagan’s 300 mph land-locked, nitro-burning rocket, Pro Modified drag boats are typically powered by supercharged, alcohol-burning powerplants and compete on a 7.00 index on the liquid quarter-mile, much like the Super Comp and Super Gas categories on land. Speeds in the category generally in the 160-170 mph range.
Hagan, who to our knowledge has never driven a race boat, will have to undergo capsule orientation and license in the boat before taking on as many as 19 other Pro Modified boats in Marble Falls. We’ll have more on this story later in the week, along with results from Hagan’s debut outing on water.
We learned some additional details from a member of the Texas Bounty Hunter team on the capsule orientation that racers must pass before earning the seal of approval to compete.
Drivers are strapped inside the capsule with the oxygen system connected to the helmet. The capsule is then shoved off the dock into the lake. Rescue divers follow the capsule to the bottom of the lake, and after the driver gives a thumbs up, the divers release the canopy, connect to his air line, unstrap him, and swim him to the surface. If the driver keeps his cool during the process, he passes. How about that for an initiation to drag boat racing?