From Pete Walton
Atwood, TN — (May 26, 2014) — On Monday night, a Memorial Day visit to www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane victory became special for Marion, Arkansas’ Derek Hagar in more ways than one. Hagar, the defending United Sprint Car Series (USCS) presented by K&N Filters champion, charged from third on the starting grid around K&N poles starter and ten-time USCS champion Terry Gray on lap two of the 30-lap “Memorial Day Meltdown” at Clayhill Motorsports, never looked back while racing to victory despite two cautions, a green-white-checkered finish and repeated challenges from his longtime mentor and past USCS champion Marshall Skinner. The victory was Hagar’s third straight out of three USCS Sprint Speedweek 2014 events and his 26th career USCS feature win. This ironically moving him past Skinner and into sole possession of fourth place on theUnited Sprint Car Series all-time wins list.
“This…wow,” Hagar said in his stop in the www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane. “(Marshall) gave me a heck of a fight. He’s one of the few guys that can work that bottom groove the whole race like he did. We got real tight there near the end; I was actually really worried when that last caution came out. We got so tight as the run wore on I didn’t think we would have enough to hang on those last two laps. I was just glad it was Marshall we were racing. It’s perfect that it was him behind me tonight.”
The win was made even more special by the fact that it came on the birthday of Hagar’s late father, who passed in 2010 and was a longtime supporter of the young gun’s racing efforts. “This is two years in a row now that we’ve won on my dad’s birthday, and I know he’d be smiling at all this,” Hagar added, emotion evident in his voice. “What a special night.”
Skinner, also from Marion, Arkansas came home second after starting fifth and came right to victory lane to congratulate his protégé and former shop-mate. “That kid right there, he’s the real deal,” Skinner said following the event. “He’s like my little brother; I knew he would break my mark eventually. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when. I’m just glad I was able to make him earn it tonight. I thought maybe we could get him, but he had just enough there at the end. He’s done so well. He says he’s learned a lot from me, and I appreciate that. I think it’s something that works both ways. This is his night though; we’ll take second tonight.”
18-year-old hot-shoe Brandon Hanks, from Burlison, Tennessee, drove around the outside of ten-time USCS champion Terry Gray late in the race to finish in the K&N Filters Podium Award third place. Gray, the Bartlett, Tennessee veteran, came home in fourth and current MOWA Sprint Series point’s leader Joey Moughan, from Springfield, Illinois, completed the top five at the finish.
Zach Pringle, from Bryant, Arkansas, came home in sixth, with Hernando, Mississippi’s Brad Bowden coming from twenty-second to finish seventh. Former USCS Mid-South Rookie of the Year Jerod Roller, also from Hernando, Mississippi ran eighth at the finish. West Memphis, Arkansas veteran A.G. Rains crossed the stripe in ninth and Andy McElhannon, who hails Nesbit, Mississippi, rounded out the top ten.
The race was slowed on the first start attempt by a spin in turn three involving the #11 of Jake Roach from nearby Sardis, Tennessee and once the field got underway, Hagar quickly jumped to second behind opening lap leader and pole-sitter Terry Gray. Hagar made the pass for the win in turn two a lap later, but had to endure a myriad of lap traffic and two more cautions, one on lap 12 when Tim Crawley slammed into an infield tire while trying to lap Jeff Willingham and the race’s final caution on lap 29 when the #13T of 14-year-old Taylor Tidmore spun coming off of turn two.
That caution set up a green-white-checkered finish which pushed the race one lap beyond its scheduled distance of 30 laps and gave Skinner one final chance to capitalize, however, he could not find enough steam to keep Hagar from pulling away.
Jeff Swindell kicked off the night’s racing action by scoring the win in the Hoosier Speed Dash. Skinner won the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat, and Brandon Hanks drove to the checkered flag in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat. Terry Gray grabbed the victory in the Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat, his third straight heat race victory. After first heat winner Skinner pulled a zero in the inversion draw, Gray netted the K&N Filters Pole Award. Brad Bowden advanced the most positions in the A-main (fifteen) to score the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series continues its 9th Annual Sprint Speedweek with Round #4 on Thursday, May 29th at the Talladega Short Track in Talladega, Alabama. The series’ first race was held at the facility back in 1997, an event won by ten-time series champion Terry Gray. For rules, schedules and more information on the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
RESULTS: USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N; Clayhill Motorsports; Monday, May 26, 2014:
Hoosier Speed Dash: Jeff Swindell, Derek Hagar, Tim Crawley, Marshall Skinner, Brad Bowden, Anthony Nicholson.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Marshall Skinner, Tim Crawley, Derek Hagar, Dalton Davis, Zach Pringle, Joe B. Miller, Greg Merritt, Jeff Swindell (DNS).
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Brandon Hanks, Morgan Turpen, Eddie Gallagher, Todd Fayard, Joey Moughan, Taylor Tidmore, Jake Roach, Brad Bowden.
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: Terry Gray, Andy McElhannon, A.G. Rains, Jeff Willingham, Ronny Howard, Jerod Roller, Anthony Nicholson.
United Sprint Car Series “Memorial Day Meltdown” at Clayhill Motorsports Main Event: 30-laps:
1. #9JR – Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
2. #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
3. #3H – Brandon Hanks, Burlison, TN
4. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
5. #17M – Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL
6. #14Z – Zach Pringle, Bryant, AR
7. #39 – Brad Bowden, Hernando, MS
8. #5 – Jerod Roller, Hernando, MS
9. #3 – A.G. Rains, West Memphis, AR
10. #42 – Andy McElhannon, Nesbit, MS
11. #51B – Joe B. Miller, Millersville, MO
12. #13 – Todd Fayard, Biloxi, MS
13. #12 – Dalton Davis, Millington, TN
14. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
15. #11 – Jake Roach, Sardis, TN
16. #13T – Taylor Tidmore, Hernando, MS
17. #44 – Ronny Howard, Nesbit, MS
18. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
19. #88 – Tim Crawley, Benton, AR
20. #1 – Eddie Gallagher, Olive Branch, MS
21. #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
22. #12M – Greg Merritt, Nesbit, MS
23. #94 – Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN (DNS)
USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters Race Awards:
USCS Sprint Hoosier Speed Dash: #94 – Jeff Swindell
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #26 – Marshall Skinner
Butlerbuilt Second Heat Award: #3H – Brandon Hanks
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat Award: #10 – Terry Gray
K&N Filters Pole Award: #10 – Terry Gray
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #26 – Marshall Skinner (2nd place)
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #3H – Brandon Hanks
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #39 – Brad Bowden
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #17M – Joey Moughan
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #14Z – Zach Pringle
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #39 – Brad Bowden
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #42 – Andy McElhannon
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters would like to gratefully thank its sponsoring partners for their involvement in the 2014 and 18th anniversary USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour: K&N Filters, www.rockauto.com, Engler Machine and Tool, Butlerbuilt, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Saldana Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends. KSE Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, DSR Fuel Systems, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions and Safety-Kleen.
Story by Jacob Seelman
Speed77 Motorsports Radio, Founder/Producer
RaceChaserOnline.com, Managing Editor
United Sprint Car Series, Series Announcer