Derek Hagar battles to first O'Reilly USCS career win at East Alabama
Pheonix City, AL - Immensely talented sixteen year-old Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas charged past seven of the Southeast's and the Nation's top sprint car drivers into the lead on lap twenty-three of the thirty-lap O'Reilly Auto Parts United Sprint Car Series feature race and captured the first win of his young career.
Hagar, who was the O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year last season, was totally impressive as he charged from his eighth place starting position into victory lane with the finesse and patience of a season veteran driver. It was the crowning achievement and culmination of his racing efforts from several months of consistent and steadily improving performances at O'Reilly USCS events.
Hagar is pictured with Crew-Chief and Step-dad Kenny Conrad. (USCS file photo)
Danny Martin, Jr. From Sarasota, Florida who was the previous night's feature winner, started on the pole and led the first lap of the race before the evening's CnB Mushroom Farms Fast Time top qualifier, Randy Helton from Palmetto, Georgia came charging past him on the high side of the race track into the lead. Helton lead laps two, three, four and five and was pulling away from the field when eighteen year-old Rookie of the Year candidate, Lee Moore from Moundville, Alabama ran off the back stretch of the track bringing out the only caution flag of the race. While under caution Helton's left rear went flat and he left the track for a tire change. Martin re-assumed the lead position. After the restart, Hagar charged past three cars into third place on lap six. Hagar then chased defending series Champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee for three laps before moving past him into the runner-up spot on lap nine.
Hagar then rode the rim of the high-banked 4/10 mile clay oval methodically in pursuit of Danny Martin, Jr. reeling him steadily in until lap twenty two when pulled outside of Martin and passed him in lapped traffic coming of turn four. He then held off several challenges from the three time series Championship runner-up to win by a three to four car length margin at the finish line. A wildly celebrating crew and teammate Marshall Skinner met him in victory lane.
The final running order posted Danny Martin, Jr. in the second position. Current series points leader, Terry Gray was third in the finishing order, Jeremy Scott from Franklin, Georgia who turned third quick time, behind Helton and Terry Gray, capped a solid performance with a fourth place finish. Marshall Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas rounded out the top five.
Second-generation sprint car ace Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia finished in the sixth position. Another talented Hoosier Tire Young Gun, eighteen year-old Don Young from Bartlett, Tennessee finished seventh followed by Todd Fayard from Biloxi, Mississippi from Tampa, Florida finished ninth and Bob Auld from Largo, Florida rounded out the top ten.
Terry Gray won the 6-lap Lucas Oil Power Dash. Matt Linder won the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat Race after qualifying fifth fastest. Danny Martin, Jr. won the Butlerbuilt Second Heat Race. Derek Hagar garnered the Huggins Cams Hard Charger award for his charge from eighth to first place in the 30-lap A-Main event. Nick DeFeo was the Robison Racing Products Rookie of the Race. Twenty-one year-old Danny Martin, Jr. gathered in the K&N Filters Pole Award via his third fastest time of the evening after first heat winner Matt Linder drew a four in the inversion. Hagar was also was recognized as the Hoosier Tire Young Gun of the Race, which is awarded to the top-finishing driver under twenty-five years old.
The next O'Reilly USCS event is an O'Reilly USCS Mid-South regional championship point's event on Saturday night June 23rd at Central Mississippi Speedway www.centralmississippispeedway.com in Winona, Mississippi. The track is located seven (7) miles East of Interstate 55 on US Highway 82. For more ticket and other track info please call 662-283-1567. For O'Reilly USCS rules and series info visit www.uscsracing.com or call 404-886-5913.Back to News