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WHEATLAND, Mo. (Sept. 30, 2013) – Two podium finishes. Three top fives. Four top 10s.
It was another satisfying weekend for Derek Hagar, who competed in both the winged and nonwing portions of the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial last weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway.
“The only thing that could have got better was the second night in the winged deal,” he said. “We had a top-five car if not a winning car. I wish a couple of things would have changed. But all in all, it was a great weekend. You can’t hang your head down for how the weekend turned out.”
The event began on Friday with Hagar charging from seventh to third place in his winged sprint car heat race with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour. That earned him the sixth-most points and a trip to the feature redraw. He pulled the No. 6 in the random draw to start on the outside of the third row for the 25-lap feature.
“We rode around in fifth or sixth until about 10 laps into it,” he said. “I moved up to the top and got by a couple of cars. I got by Roger (Crockett) with three laps to go.”
His late-race pass earned Hagar his first career podium finish with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour. It also locked him into the feature redraw for the finale, which was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of weather.
After putting a fresh 410ci engine in for the nonwing portion of the event on Friday, Hagar qualified fourth quickest and advanced from eighth to second place in his heat race. He started on the inside of the third row for the main event and ended with a fourth-place result.
“We finally got our 410 put together and in there this weekend,” he said. “I passed a couple of cars and got up to third and the caution came out. Everybody was hanging around the top in the nonwing deal. We were out there doing wheelies.”
After a successful opening night and Saturday’s event being washed out for a day, Hagar returned to the Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial on Sunday. He set quick time in nonwing qualifying and placed seventh in his heat race after being involved in a crash.
Hagar started the nonwing feature on the inside of the second row and after leading the opening handful of laps, he held on for a runner-up finish.
“We were trying to rotate the bottom real good,” he said. “We had a little bit of a tight race car to try to run the top. Dustin Morgan got by me and I started following him. I felt like having the 410 was a disadvantage. He could drive it in a lot harder than I could.”
The winged part of Sunday didn’t go as well for Hagar after he pulled the No. 2 in the feature redraw.
“They tilled the track right before we went out and it was kinda wet on the bottom so I tried to stay on the bottom with (Johnny) Herrera,” he said. “He got a real good start on me and I felt like I spun the tires too much. By the time we got to the flag stand we fell back to fourth.”
Hagar continued to lose positions in the early portion of the feature before regrouping and working back into the top five.
“We fell back to sixth or seventh and we got the car how I wanted and got back up to fourth,” he said. “I was a little snug on the cushion. I tried to go above it and turn and shoot across the bottom. I went from real tight to when I hit the slick it spun the tires and the car went left across the track. I spun out in front of the field. I kept it going, but we lost a bunch of positions.”
The incident in turns one and two happened approximately halfway through the feature and after battling with a stuck bleeder on his right rear tire in the closing laps, Hagar salvaged a 10th-place finish.
He is scheduled to compete in the final two races of USCS Southern Thunder series this weekend – Friday at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C., and Saturday at Cherokee Super Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. Hagar holds a sizeable advantage in the standings and if he can hold onto the lead through those two races it will mark his first career sprint car championship.
QUICK RESULTS –
Sept. 27 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. (WING) – Heat race: 3 (7); Feature: 3 (6).
Sept. 27 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. (NONWING) – Qualifying: 4; Heat race: 2 (8); Feature: 4 (5).
Sept. 29 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. (WING) – Feature: 10 (2).
Sept. 29 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. (NONWING) – Qualifying: 1; Heat race: 7 (7); Feature: 2 (3).
SEASON STATS –
39 races, 9 wins, 29 top fives, 39 top 10s, 39 top 15s, 39 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Friday at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C., and Saturday at Cherokee Super Speedway in Gaffney, S.C., with the USCS
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Hagar has t-shirts, hats and koozies available for sale at his race trailer at every race he competes at. To see his schedule, visit http://www.DerekHagar.com/
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Xtreme Race Graphics
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“Dustin is a real good artist,” Hagar said. “He has a real good imagination. If you want the car to look the best, I’d prefer him.”
Hagar would also like to thank R.E. Enterprises, Fragola Performance Systems, J&J Auto Racing, DynoTech Performance, FSR Radiators, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems and FK Rod Ends for their continued support.