WOODSTOCK, GA – 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, Ark., 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, Tenn.
“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, Tenn., 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, N.C. young gun Eric Riggins Jr. close behind in fourth. Cordova, Tenn. pilot Morgan Turpen rounded off the top five.
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 crossed the line in eighth position. Kyle Amerson was scored ninth at the checkered flag and veteran Aubrey Black completed the top 10.
Derek Hagar, Anthony Nicholson, Terry Gray, Eric Riggins Jr., Morgan Turpen, Matt Kurtz, Brandon McLain, Brian Thomas, Kyle Amerson, Aubrey Black, Johnny Petrozelle, Bob Auld, Shawn Murray, Jeff Willingham, Terry Witherspoon, Jay Dunham, Shawn Dancer