From Jacob Seelman
Phenix City, Al — (June 14, 2014) — On a night when the number 27 was recognized in many different ways, Derek Hagar used the numerology of the evening to further extend his already sterling 2014 record. Hagar, the defending United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour filtercharged by K&N Filters champion from Marion, Arkansas, streaked past K&N Filters Pole Position starter Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina on the opening lap of Saturday night’s 7th annual Randy Helton Memorial 27 lap main event and never looked back, leading wire-to-wire to pick up his sixth USCS win of the 2014 season and his fourth consecutive win in the series. Hagar also became the first driver to win the Randy Helton Memorial twice, following his win a year ago in the prestigious event. Hagar additionally raced with Randy Helton at the speedway during the 2007 season when Hagar captured his first USCS sprint car win in his Sophomore season with the series.
Appropriately, the victory in the 27 lap contest was Hagar’s 27th career win, matching the car number Helton campaigned for multiple years on the USCS tour before his untimely passing in March of 2008. “This is really really cool,” Hagar said in www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane following his traditional wing-walk celebration. “Randy was a friend to everyone in the sprint car pits; I got my first win ever in the series here in 2007 racing against Randy, and this race is so special. It’s one that everyone wants to win and I’m honored to have two of these trophies now. It’s a special night for us.”
Hagar who initially started in the fourth position, said “I’m not sure what happened on the start there; all I know is the 47 (Eric Riggins Jr.) and the 07 (Bridges) got a little crazy there on the opening lap the first two times. Third time was the charm for us though; we got out front there and that was that.” concluded Hagar.
Bridges, the Cherryville, North Carolina native, started from the K&N Pole Position and led the field to the green flag, but hopped the left-front tire of the 47 of Riggins on the initial start, forcing a second try to get the race going. On the second try, chaos struck in the form of a six-car melee in Turn 4 that started on the front row and swept up Riggins, Brian Thomas, Terry Witherspoon, Bob Auld, Clint Weiss, and Jeff Willingham, who flipped end over end but came to rest on all four wheels and climbed out of his car uninjured.
As Hagar drove away from the field, a three-car battle for second raged behind him between ten-time USCS champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee, Bridges and Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina Riggins, who both drove from the back up to the top five before Riggins ultimately inherited third place on lap 16 when Bridges spun in turn 2 while trying to lap Pendergrass, Georgia’s Brian Thomas to bring out the only caution of the night.
That set up a restart which gave Gray and Riggins a shot to catch Hagar and battle for the win, but the Arkansan would not be denied. Gray, out of Bartlett, Tennessee, had to settle for second, with Riggins (Charlotte, N.C.) completing in the K&N Filters Podium Award third position. Cordova, Tennessee’s Morgan Turpen, the only female sprint car racer in the field, finished a solid night in fourth place, and Jacksonville, Florida racer Terry Witherspoon rounded out the top five.
Bridges held on despite a fading car to come home sixth and Indian Trail, North Carolina’s Brandon McLain continued a recent string of strong runs with a seventh place finish. Brian Thomas was scored eighth at the checkered flag, with Largo, Florida veteran Bob Auld racing his way to a ninth place finish. Active-duty Army serviceman Clint Weiss completed the top ten finishers.
Eric Riggins Jr. kicked off the night’s racing action by scoring the win in the Hoosier Speed Dash. Riggins then backed up his dash win by grabbing the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat victory, while Derek Hagar drove to the checkered flag in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat. After first heat winner Riggins pulled a zero in the inversion draw, Johnny Bridges scored the K&N Filters Pole Award. Brian Thomas advanced the most positions in the A-main (three) to score the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
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.
USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N; East Alabama Motor Speedway; Saturday, June 14, 2014:
Hoosier Speed Dash: Eric Riggins Jr., Morgan Turpen, Terry Gray, Terry Witherspoon, Bob Auld, Brandon McLain.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Eric Riggins Jr., Terry Gray, Bob Auld, Brandon McLain, Jeff Willingham, Brian Thomas, Clint Weiss, Jay Dunham (DNS).
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Derek Hagar, Morgan Turpen, Johnny Bridges, Terry Witherspoon, Collin Cabre, Tanner Witherspoon, Jason Troutman, Joe Larkin (DNS).
United Sprint Car Series “Randy Helton Memorial” at East Alabama Motor Speedway Main Event: 27 laps
1. #1A – Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
2. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
3. #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
4. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
5. #43 – Terry Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
6. #07 – Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
7. #21B – Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
8. #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
9. #83 – Bob Auld, Largo, FL
10. #0X – Clint Weiss, Jesup, GA
11. #4 – Jason Troutman, Vale, NC
12. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
13. #99 – Tanner Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
14. #12C – Collin Cabre, Thonotosassa, FL
15. #33 – Joe Larkin, Suwanee, GA (DNS)
16. #51 – Jay Dunham, Grovetown, GA (DNS)
USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters Race Awards:
USCS Sprint Hoosier Speed Dash: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat Award: #1A – Derek Hagar
K&N Filters Pole Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr. (3rd place)
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #67 – Brian Thomas
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #43 – Terry Witherspoon
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #21B – Brandon McLain
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #0X – Clint Weiss
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.