Inside Line Promotions - WHEATLAND, Mo. (Sept. 23, 2020) - Derek Hagar overcame a tough start to the 10th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial and he nearly ended the weekend by claiming the $10,000 top prize before running out of fuel in the closing laps on Saturday.
Hagar hustled from seventh to fourth place in a heat race on Thursday at Lucas Oil Speedway, which hosted the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour event. However, he was involved in an early crash during a qualifier that resulted in a DNF, burying the team in points.
"We started out with a high pill draw, but we got three cars in our heat race," he said. "Then on the first lap of the qualifier I didn't get a good start and let a couple of cars get by me. I got one or two back going into turn three. Jonathan Cornell slid one of them and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I got hit in the process and we ended up getting upside down. It was just a racing deal, but that put us behind in points."
Hagar rallied from 12th to second place in a B Main and he charged from sixth to win the Last Chance Showdown. Passing cars continued in the main event as Hagar maneuvered from 17th to seventh. He earned the Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the A Main.
"We got up through there pretty quick before the rubber got heavy," he said. "We got up to sixth and I was trying to get underneath a driver for fifth when we made contact. I about spun out and Cornell got by us.
"I was pleased. The crash early set us up to work our butt off all night long. It was a lot of track time. We've always seemed to find our way to the front there and know how to pass cars in the feature. We had a big hole to dig ourselves out of and we were able to succeed in that."
Hagar kicked off Friday's race by placing third in a heat race and second in a qualifier. That locked him into the 14th starting position for the main event.
"We got up to fourth and were actually faster than Sam (Hafertepe Jr.), but ran out of laps to get third," he said. "I was diamonding the corner off and running where everybody else wasn't running. I wish I went to the top in turns three and four for one lap to stay with Sam. I think that would have set me up to catch him sooner. Other than that, we were able to maneuver all weekend. We could pass cars where most people were married to the bottom or the top. I could do whatever I wanted to do to pass cars."
The fourth-place run placed Hagar fifth in event points out of the 77 drivers. That locked him into the fifth starting position in Saturday's 40-lap main event.
"It went better than what I thought it was going to," he said. "I knew I was going to be tight early. They reworked the track and it had moisture on the top and bottom. I was looking at maybe losing a couple of spots early, but from the drop of the green the car worked well. I got up to fourth right away and then got by (Dylan) Westbrook for third. We had a caution and I got by Sam on a restart and got to second. About halfway through I felt I was a little better than Mark (Smith). On a later restart I felt like I could really stay with him. With about 12 or 13 laps to go I was able to slide him and take the lead. I went straight to the top after that. We had a fast car."
Hagar took the lead on Lap 28 and he led for 10 laps before fuel woes cost him the win.
"We started running out of fuel," he said. "I had to start backing my entry up to conserve fuel. I went into turn three and the car sputtered. It made the car tight in the center. I pushed up over the cushion. I was having to slow way up getting in. Sam got by me with three laps to go. It sucks. Two gallons of fuel was a $5,000 difference."
Hagar salvaged a runner-up result, which marked his 10th top five of the season.
"Not very many teams can come out from that deep of a hole to being able to lock in for Saturday's main event," he said. "That says a lot about our team. They never gave up and I never gave up. Every time we hit the track we were going forward."
Hagar was awarded a $1,300 bonus for being the overall Hard Charger during the event, passing the most cars in all races throughout the three nights combined.
Next up will be the Fall Nationals this Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark.
QUICK RESULTS -
Sept. 17 - Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. - Heat race: 4 (7); Qualifier: DNF (3); B Main: 2 (12); Last Chance Qualifier: 1 (6); Feature: 7 (17).
Sept. 18 - Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. - Heat race: 3 (3); Qualifier: 2 (3); Feature: 4 (14).
Sept. 19 - Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo. - Feature: 2 (5).
SEASON STATS -
17 races, 6 wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s, 14 top 15s, 17 top 20s
UP NEXT -
Saturday at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., for the Fall Nationals
MEDIA LINKS -
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"B&D Towing supports racing," Hagar said. "They can help anyone in the Memphis area. For anyone who needs a hand, B&D is recommended to save the day."
Hagar would like to thank J&J Auto Racing, 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.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS -
Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations and media management for motor sports drivers, teams, sponsors, tracks, series, events, organizations and manufacturers. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and the return on investment for your sponsors.
To meet the media relations needs of your program by joining Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or Shawn@InsideLinePromotions.com . For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com.
*PHOTO BY SPEED DEMON PRODUCTIONS*