Hagar Rallies From Flip in Heat Race to Win Feature From 15 th

Derek Hagar (Serena Dalhamer photo)

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (Sept. 29, 2020) – Last Sunday featured a dramatic swing for Derek Hagar, who capped a night at Riverside International Speedway by posting his seventh feature victory of the season.

The Fall Nationals, which was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of wet weather, began with Hagar lining up on the outside of the third row in a heat race.

“I got up to third,” he said. “The racing was right around the bottom. I was on the guy in second and I nudged a rear bumper a couple of times to try to stay with him to carry momentum to get him in the corner. On the last lap he slipped off the bottom. I got underneath him and he crowded me. We rubbed wheels and he backed off. Then going into turn three he gassed it back up and ran into us. We ended up tipping over.”

The contact made Hagar’s car get upside down and he was unable to finish the race, which relegated him to the back of the starting lineup for the main event.

“I wasn’t even going to run because I’m pretty much out of wings,” he said. “I got undressed and in my street clothes. I was helping one of my 305 customers. I walked to the trailer and Bill, my crew guy, asked if he puts wings on it will I race it and I said yes.

“By Lap 15 I was up to third before a red came out. We really didn’t need a caution or red because our car was great. On the restart the drivers in first and second went down to the bottom. I was up against the concrete and drove around them in turns three and four. We led the last 15 laps.

“Early in the race I was in the middle, bottom, top, wherever I could pass cars. Once I got clear track in front of me I moved to the top. It was so far around the top if I’d have moved up half an inch I would have been throwing sparks off the rear bumper. The track was slick from top to bottom with no cushion.”

Hagar’s charge from 15th to win also earned him the Hard Charger Award for passing the most cars.

“It was special,” he said. “It was a life lesson I hope for a kid or whoever is watching in the stands to never give up. We went from the lowest of lows in the heat race to the highest of highs in the feature. You never give up until that checkered flag waves and don’t worry about the people trying to drag you down.”

Hagar will ride that momentum into the 33rd annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires this Friday and Saturday at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark. The Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour event pays $10,041 to win the finale. Hagar was victorious at the track in July, giving him a win at I-30 Speedway in five straight seasons and during six of the last seven years.

“We’re going with a clear mind to win $10,000,” he said. “We won the prelim night last year and didn’t have too bad of a night on that Saturday deal. This new motor combination that Ricky Stenhouse and my dad, Kenny, came up with is unbelievable. I’m excited to go there and put our name in the hunt.”


Sept. 27 – Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark. – Heat race: 7 (6); Feature: 1 (15).


18 races, 7 wins, 11 top fives, 15 top 10s, 15 top 15s, 18 top 20s


Friday and Saturday at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark., for the 33 rd annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour


Website: http://www.DerekHagarRacing.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HagarDerek


Located in McKenzie, Tenn., J&J Auto Racing has manufactured sprint car chassis and racing parts for more than 40 years. For more information, visit http://www.JandJAutoRacing.com .

“They’ve been in the family since J&J Auto Racing started building cars,” Hagar said. “My stepdad’s dad owned race cars back in the Riverside days. They are good, safe, dependable race cars and great people to deal with.”

Hagar would like to thank B&D Towing and Recovery, FK Rod Ends, Dynotech Performance, Summit Truck Group, Fragola Performance Systems, Killer Coatings, Petra Construction, Administrative Consulting Services, Hedger Brothers Ready Mix, Xtreme Race Graphics, Southern Collision Centre, Jeff’s Heating and Cooling, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Weld Wheels, DHR Suspension, Hinchman Racewear, Wix Filters, Wings Unlimited, Valvoline and Ti64 for their continued support.