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WHEATLAND, Mo. (Sept. 22, 2021) – Derek Hagar enjoyed a special weekend during the 11th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial.
Hagar swept the preliminary action, winning the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour shows last Thursday and Friday, before placing 14th during the finale on Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway. The two triumphs pushed his career win total with the series to five.
“With everything happening with the Wilson Family, I told them at Jacob’s visitation I’d do everything in my power to sweep the weekend,” he said. “I wanted to, but the odds of doing that are kinda tough. We got the first win out of the way on Thursday and I felt pretty good. Friday we started closer to the front and got the lead pretty early. We got the second win and I thought maybe we’ve got this. We had some issues Saturday with the setup and a right rear tire going low that hindered us from getting a sweep.”
The event, which featured 60-plus competitors, began for Hagar with a charge from 10th to fifth in a heat race on Thursday. He then won a qualifier after starting third, which ranked him eighth in overall points and garnered the eighth starting position in the A Main.
“We didn’t pass as many cars in the heat race as I’d like so that put me starting third in a qualifier,” he said. “The car in front of us jumped the start so that moved us to the pole. We won that so that put us eighth in the feature lineup. We started picking them off pretty easily and by Lap 10 I think we had the lead. We had a nearly seven-second lead at the checkered flag. The car would go anywhere we wanted. It was a special win.”
Hagar’s victory was his fifth of the season and second career with the ASCS National Tour during the marquee event.
Momentum continued on Friday as Hagar advanced from third to second place in a heat race and from fourth to win a qualifier. This time he was third in overall points and lined up on the inside of the second row in the main event.
“We got the lead in the heat race early and then (Dylan) Westbrook got by me toward the end so we ran second,” he said. “We started second row on the outside of the qualifier. When we went green the front two cars split and I went right through the middle of them. That put us third in points for the feature. We got up to second right on the start and were making ground on Westbrook. I saw his crew telling him to go to the bottom on a restart. I went up through the middle and used momentum around the outside of him to take the lead (on Lap 5). I tried to get by traffic as quick as I could. We had a caution with 10 laps to go and I had three lapped cars between me and second. That gave me some breathing room. Then we got another caution with two laps to go. When you have Westbrook right behind you on a restart it makes you sweat some bullets. Fortunately, we were able to pull away to get our second win in a row there.”
Hagar’s triumph made him the high-points driver and earned the pole position for Saturday’s $10,000-to-win A Main.
“We were too tight,” he said. “I wanted it to be a little snug so the car would be there at the end. The race track just never went away. Then we had a tire go down and it made it so much tighter. I couldn’t run the top like I needed to. I just cruised on the bottom and tried not to tear up the car.”
Hagar settled for a 14th-place result.
He plans to race this Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., during the Fall Nationals.
QUICK RESULTS –
Sept. 16 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Heat race: 5 (10); Qualifier: 1 (3); Feature: 1 (8).
Sept. 17 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Heat race: 2 (3); Qualifier: 1 (4); Feature: 1 (3).
Sept. 18 – Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. – Feature: 14 (1).
SEASON STATS –
40 races, 6 wins, 13 top fives, 21 top 10s, 27 top 15s, 30 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., for the Fall Nationals
MEDIA LINKS –
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Hagar would like to thank Pafford Medical Services, KO Motorsports, B&D Towing and Recovery, Dynotech Performance, J&J Auto Racing, Fragola Performance Systems, Summit Truck Group, Administrative Consulting Services, Killer Coatings, Xtreme Race Graphics, Southern Collision Centre, Jeff’s Heating and Cooling, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Weld Wheels, DHR Suspension, Hinchman Racewear, Wix Filters, Valvoline and Ti64 for their continued support.