Derek Hagar won his fifth career USCS race Friday at Magnolia Motor Speedway. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch
July 6, 2019 11:23:17 PM
Once again, it was the Derek Hagar show at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
The Marion, Arkansas sprint car driver notched his fifth career win at The Mag in the United Sprint Car Series feature Friday night.
Hagar has finished on the podium in his last nine races at Magnolia. The win was Hagar's third in five races.
He celebrated his win at The Mag by cutting donuts in victory lane.
"It's been a good month for us," Hagar said. "This track is awesome. I love getting up on the fence and holding it to the floor and going. The guys here that do the track prep, the owners, they do a heck of a job with this place."
Hagar overcame a right rear tire that started losing pressure with eight laps to go while under a lengthy caution but was able to hold off Byhalia native Dale Howard as they each navigated lap traffic.
Hagar started to battle tightness in the car while navigating an uncharacteristically wide cushion throughout most of the race.
"This is probably the most moisture in the track that we've seen since we've been coming here," Hagar said. "Normally, it's really slick and right against the fence, and then tonight, it held moisture all around the top and had something you could lean on.
"It was real tricky, though; you could lean on it real hard early, but I just got really bad tight," he added. "I couldn't enter on it or run it like I had the whole race, but you really had to be careful. You'd get in good, then the car would try to trip up on the right front, and then you'd get in a power push, and if you weren't careful, you were eating the fence."
Howard finished second, while Howard Moore, Danny Smith and Terry Gray rounded out the top 5. Howard started sixth and climbed to second just 10 laps into the race, but like Hagar, his car started to develop tightness in the latter stages of the race.
"I was kind of hoping we'd get in lap traffic pretty deep, but it seemed like every time we got in lap traffic, the caution would come out, and the few cars we got to, they hurt me more than they hurt him," Howard said. "We're pretty happy with second, though."
Howard said he was surprised to see Hagar pass lap cars so aggressively, especially on the penultimate lap when Hagar split a pair of cars coming off turn 4.
"He was splitting hairs," Howard said. "He must have thought I was right on him."
Hagar said he thought he heard another motor on the last two laps and didn't want to hesitate and leave open a window for Howard.
"I couldn't tell if I was hearing my motor echoing off the wall," Hagar said. "But whenever it comes to lap traffic, you can't think - you just got to do it."
Howard tore up his car and motor at Harrisburg, Arkansas last month, but he's driven his new Mach 1 chassis to five straight top-3 finishes.
In other race action, Tony Shelton won the 602 Sportsman feature. Jamie Pickard, Chace Pennington, Justin McRee and Buddy George rounded out the top 5.
Cliff Ross won the Durrence Layne Late Models feature. Brad Berry, Zack Shelton, Kyle Shaw and Mike Combs rounded out the top 5.
Justin McRee won the Street Stocks feature. Chad Thrash, Jason Hollis, Michael Blount and Hayden Moran rounded out the top 5.
Bill Collett won the Factory Stocks feature. Cody Chism, Scooter Ware, John Beard and Heath Beard rounded out the top 5.
Jesse White won the Hot Shots feature. Shauna Browning, Hailey Wade and Kody Love rounded out the top 4.
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