WOODSTOCK, GA – Story, audio and photo by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio, Race Chaser Online and USCS Racing – It doesn’t matter what he climbs into in 2014, Derek Hagar just keeps on rolling.
Hagar, the defending United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N champion from Marion, Arkansas, slipped by 2008 series Rookie of the Year Anthony Nicholson with six laps to go during Saturday night’s Dixie Sprint Car Nationals 25-lap A-main and pulled away over the final stretch to claim his eighth USCS feature victory of the 2014 season.
The win was Hagar’s 29th career trip to www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane and his second consecutive series triumph after also winning last weekend at Clayhill Motorsports in Atwood, Tennessee.
“We got close to (Anthony) there early with lapped traffic, just couldn’t make anything happen at that point – the track was pretty much around the bottom, but after the restart, he slipped up and I saw my window of opportunity and just took it,” Hagar said following the event. “We’ve been pretty dominant on this tour in 2014, even though we’re not chasing the championship again, but there’s more opportunities coming for us and I’m just thankful for everyone who’s helped me get to this point. I’m having a lot of fun.”
Nicholson, from Bartlett, Tennessee, slipped high off of turn 4 coming to complete lap 18, which allowed Hagar to close in and make the pass for the win. Nicholson said the caution coming out at lap 14 for Jeff Willingham’s spin in turn 2 ultimately hurt his shot at the win.
“I don’t know if the difference was in our cars – I know I made one mistake in turn 2 and allowed Derek to get underneath me,” a disappointed Nicholson said. “I don’t know if he’d have caught us had the caution not come out because I had put a lapped car between us and bought myself a gap, but the caution killed me tonight.”
Fellow Bartlett native and ten-time series champion Terry Gray rounded out the podium in third, with Charlotte, North Carolina young gun Eric Riggins Jr. close behind in fourth. Cordova, Tennessee pilot Morgan Turpen rounded off the top five.
Jacksonville, Florida’s Matt Kurtz finished a solid sixth and leading Rookie of the Year contender Brandon McLain came home seventh at the finish. Local favorite Brian Thomas, from Pendergrass, Georgia, crossed the line in eighth position. Montgomery, Alabama’s Kyle Amerson was scored ninth at the checkered flag and Lookout Mountain, Georgia veteran Aubrey Black completed the top ten.
Terry Gray kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Eric Riggins Jr. scored the win in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Hagar rolled to the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat.
Hagar was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, and after a zero came up in the K&N Inversion Draw, he received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Kyle Amerson passed the most cars in the A-main (four) to grab the Willwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N continues their 2014 schedule on Friday, August 29th with the running of the 2nd annual Wind Creek Casino/Hotel Wetumpka Sprint Car Shootout on the quarter mile “Thunder Ring” at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Dixie Sprint Car Nationals”; Dixie Speedway; August 23rd, 2014
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Eric Riggins Jr., Matt Kurtz, Jay Dunham, Brian Thomas.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Eric Riggins Jr., Brandon McLain, Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Bob Auld, Jeff Willingham, Shawn Dancer, Terry Witherspoon, Jay Dunham.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Derek Hagar, Anthony Nicholson, Brian Thomas, Matt Kurtz, Johnny Petrozelle, Aubrey Black, Kyle Amerson, Shawn Murray.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Dixie Sprint Car Nationals A-main: 25-laps
- #9JR – Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
- #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
- #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
- #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
- #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
- #92 – Matt Kurtz, Jacksonville, FL
- #21B – Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
- #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
- #29 – Kyle Amerson, Montgomery, AL
- #21 – Aubrey Black, Lookout Mountain, GA
- #59III – Johnny Petrozelle, Denton, NC
- #83 – Bob Auld, Largo, FL
- #22 – Shawn Murray, Jacksonville, FL
- #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
- #43 – Terry Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
- #51 – Jay Dunham, Grovetown, GA
- #49 – Shawn Dancer, Lima, OH
Audio with race winner Derek Hagar:
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #10 – Terry Gray
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #9JR – Derek Hagar
K&N Filters Pole Award: #9JR – Derek Hagar
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #9JR – Derek Hagar (1st place)
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #10 – Terry Gray
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #29 – Kyle Amerson
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #92 – Matt Kurtz
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #21B – Brandon McLain
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #21 – Aubrey Black