Inside Line Promotions - TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (March 23, 2022) - Derek Hagar reached Victory Lane for the first time this season last Sunday at North Alabama Speedway.
It marked the quickest he's recorded a win since capturing the season opener in 2014. The triumph also gives Hagar at least one feature victory during each of the last 16 years.
"It feels really good," he said. "Starting the year off junking a race car put a damper on things. For us to rebound by coming out and running second on Saturday, when I should have had a win, and then picking up the victory on Sunday was great. The hardest thing to do is to get the first win out of the way. Once you do that they seem to come easier."
Hagar was efficient throughout the 5th annual USCS Winter Heat Series doubleheader, which was pushed back one day last weekend because of inclement weather. The action began on Saturday when Hagar won both a heat race and the dash to garner the pole position for the 30-lap USCS Series A Main.
"We got the jump on the start and were able to lead 20 laps," he said. "I started hearing some cars around me. I saw a nose and started to move my line around. I was searching. The next thing I knew (Davey) Franek drove around on the outside. Once he got by me it was follow the leader from there. It just wasn't meant to be."
Hagar ended with a runner-up result, leading into another successful outing on Sunday. He once again picked up a heat race victory before charging from sixth to third in the dash. That gave him the inside second row starting position for the main event.
"We had a good heat race, which put us as the high-points driver," he said. "The track had started rubbering up a bit. Luckily the class before us put a lot of dust down so that offset some of the rubber on the track. I was able to go from sixth to third pretty quick. I'd rather start on the inside row than the outside so I didn't want to push getting the second-place guy.
"In the feature I got to second pretty quick and tried to cruise to save tires. We got to traffic and I saw my opportunity to push. I got by the leader when he got checked up by a lapped car in turns one and two. I led a couple of laps then it was my turn to mess up in traffic. I got slowed and he got underneath me. Then he and a lapped car got together. We had a good car and led the rest of the race. I was really trying to save the tires to make sure they'd last."
Hagar will look to continue the momentum this Friday and Saturday at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark., with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour. He has earned a feature triumph at the track each of the last six seasons and during nine of the last 11 years.
"It's the same caliber of drivers we race with at the Short Track Nationals," he said. "We've performed well during that event and almost every time we roll into I-30 Speedway. It's pretty much home for us. We're looking forward to seeing this new format with ASCS. I think we have a real good chance to have a good weekend."
QUICK RESULTS -
March 19 - North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Ala. - Heat race: 1 (1); Dash: 1 (2); Feature: 2 (1).
March 20 - North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Ala. - Heat race: 1 (2); Dash: 3 (6); Feature: 1 (3).
SEASON STATS -
3 races, 1 win, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s, 2 top 15s, 2 top 20s
UP NEXT -
Friday and Saturday at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark., with the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour
MEDIA LINKS -
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT - J&J Auto Racing
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 Pafford Medical Services, KO Motorsports, Dynotech Performance, B&D Towing and Recovery, FK Rod Ends, 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.
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 COURTESY OF USCS SERIES*