PARK CITY, Kan. — official series release — Shannon Dyce photo —
Derek Hagar outlasted windy conditions, a tough field of competitors and a slew of late-race restarts to win the first-ever GoMuddy.com National Sprint League 360 Sprint Car Series race on Friday at 81 Speedway.
Hagar started the 25-lap Park City Cup/Air Capital Shootout main event on the outside of the front row after earning the second-most points out of 45 drivers through heat race and qualifier competition, and he quickly capitalized on the starting position by beating polesitter John Carney II into turn one on the opening lap.
Wind blasting the track throughout the night made for a tricky surface that Hagar mastered while in the lead. He entered traffic on Lap 14 before surviving four cautions in the final seven laps, including the final yellow flag after which Hagar and Danny Wood raced side by side through turns three and four on the final lap.
Hagar got a strong restart and powered away from Wood to claim Night 1 of the event, which concludes on Saturday with a $10,000-to-win main event.
“It seemed like it took forever, but it all worked out,” Hagar said. “I knew I had to outsmart (Wood) on that restart so I changed up my routine a bit. We just need to do it tomorrow night when it counts for that $10,000.”
Wood took advantage of a lengthy red flag on Lap 20 for a three-car incident in turn three involving J.D. Johnson, Harli White and Cody Ledger. Crews were allowed to make adjustments while the accident scene was cleaned up and Wood’s adjustments helped him quickly advance into second place on the restart by racing a lane higher on the track than Carney II.
Wood then tried the similar lane on the track in the closing laps in a bid for the lead and he pulled even with Hagar in turn three on the final lap before the caution.
“It’s one of those deals,” Wood said. “It’s luck whether you have it sometimes. I thought we could have had it. We changed the car a bit (during the red flag) and we made it a little better and was able to charge.”
Carney II held onto third place despite a problem with his brakes to cap a night that began with a rally from ninth to second place in a heat race and from sixth to win a qualifier.
Justin Henderson finished fourth and Brian Brown maneuvered from 11th to round out the top five.
RESULTS: GoMuddy.com NSL 360 Sprint Car Series; Park City Cup/Air Capital Shootout; 81 Speedway; March 25, 2016
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 9JR-Derek Hagar (2); 2. 81W-Danny Wood (4); 3. 4J-John Carney II (1); 4. 24BH-Justin Henderson (3); 5. 21-Brian Brown (11); 6. 45X-C.J. Johnson (6); 7. 9N-Wade Nygaard (5); 8. E85-Tony Bruce Jr. (10); 9. 1X-Don Droud Jr. (13); 10. 86-Tyler Thomas (7); 11. 4JX-Lee Grosz (8); 12. 21K-Lou Kennedy Jr. (17); 13. 2-Parker Price-Miller (15); 14. 21X-Taylor Velasquez (18); 15. 91-Jeff Stasa (22); 16. 17W-Harli White (24); 17. 72-Ray Seemann (23); 18. 20K-Thomas Kennedy (12); 19. 81S-Stu Snyder (21); 20. 98-J.D. Johnson (16); 21. 10C-Jeremy Campbell (14); 22. 35L-Cody Ledger (19); 23. 18-Ian Madsen (9); 24. 40-Howard Moore (20).
Laps Led: Derek Hagar 1-25.
CREDIT: Inside Line Promotions