Derek Hagar gets second win in a row at Central Mississippi
Winona, MS - Sensational 2006 O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas raced past veteran Tim Crawley from Benton, Arkansas into the lead on lap twenty-five of the thirty-lap O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder regional feature at Central Mississippi Speedway. Hagar nicknamed "The Guy" let the near-capacity crowd at the track know that on this night he was the guy by not only winning the main event but by sweeping the night's O'Reilly USCS action by capturing the six lap Lucas Oil Power Dash and then capturing the Butlerbuilt Second Heat race before thrilling the fans with his exciting driving style that landed him in victory lane for the second race in-a-row..
The sixteen year-old-driver captured his very first career O'Reilly USCS win at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, Alabama just last Saturday night (June 16th) in the most recent O'Reilly USCS feature race. He gained confidence and momentum from that event coming into the Central Mississippi Speedway event, but no one really expected a repeat of last week's performance so soon. He may really be "The Guy" at this point in the season.
Photo Caption - 2006 O'Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas captured his second O'Reilly USCS feature win in-a-row at Central Mississippi on Saturday night. The sixteen year-old Hagar grabbed the lead from Tim Crawley on lap twenty-five and raced home to victory lane. (Phil Bowden photo).
Hagar started the feature race in the second position outside the front row next to Crawley who earned the pole position for the evening's finale via his victory in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Crawley then drew a zero inversion in the K&N Filters Pole draw to gain the top starting position. When the green flag flew Crawley the 2002 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame 360 winged sprint car Driver of the Year, raced into the lead as expected with Hagar trailing seven to eight car lengths back by the time the first caution appeared on lap ten for Brian Bell's spin in turn four bunching the field behind Crawley.
On the re-start Crawley controlled the point once again until lap thirteen when the action slowed once more for Andy McElhannon's spin exiting turn two. Then one lap later Greg Merritt made contact with the third turn wall ending his night and slowing the field for a final re-start before last sixteen caution-free laps of torrid competition.
When the action resumed Crawley stretched his lead for a few laps in front of Hagar with Raymond Stull from Coldwater, Mississippi moving in behind Hagar in the third position by the races mid-point on lap fifteen. Stull had started fifth. FSR Racing Products Heat Three winner Marshall Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas was in the fourth position and defending series Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee who started eighth rounded out the top halfway through the speed contest.
At this stage of the race, Hagar started aggressively attacking the track on the high side against the guardrail and using the traction gained there to reel in the leader, Crawley. On lap twenty-four the second year driver pulled along side Crawley but could not make the pass. On lap twenty-five he raced past Crawley into the lead as the pair exited turn four in traffic. Hagar then pulled away from the field over the final five laps to win by seven to eight car lengths at the finish line. A wildly celebrating and growing pit crew once again met the teenager in victory lane. Hagar slowly exited the car to the greetings of a standing ovation after the popular win.
At the finish Tim Crawley driving the Ward Racing #88 was in the runner-up position. Fiver-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion, Terry Gray charged from the eighth starting position in the field to finish third in his own Risolne #10. Raymond Stull drove Billy Scott's number 21 home in the fourth position. Past O'Reilly USCS National Champion, Marshall Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas, who stayed up all night to re-build a blown engine in his #26 from last weekend's event, rounded out the top five finishers.
2007 O'Reilly USCS "Rookie of the Year" points leader Don Young from Bartlett, Tennessee finished in the sixth position. Wade Oliver from Southaven, Mississippi drove Mike Pyle's number 58 home in seventh place. Another talented Hoosier Tire Young Gun, Buster Dickerson from Caledonia, Mississippi finished in the eighth position. Andy McElhannon from Hernando, Mississippi followed in the ninth position. Second-generation driver Brian Bell from Memphis, Tennessee rounded out the top ten.
As previously mentioned Derek Hagar won the 6-lap Lucas Oil Power Dash. Tim Crawley won the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat Race. Hagar also won the Butlerbuilt Second Heat Race. Marshall Skinner captured the FSR Racing Products Third Heat. Terry Gray garnered the Huggins Cams Hard Charger award for his charge from eighth to third place in the 30-lap A-Main event. Don Young was the Robison Racing Products Rookie of the Race. Tim Crawley gathered in the K&N Filters Pole Award. 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 Asphalt Thunder pavement series event on next Saturday night, June 30TH at the 3/8 mile Senoia Raceway in Senoia, Georgia. The track is located 3 miles West of Senoia on Georgia Highway 16. For more ticket and other track info please call 770-599-6161.
The Senoia Raceway event will award National points and additionally awards Championship points in the O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Tour and Southern Thunder regional series. The series will then contest another O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder regional points event on dirt at Camden Speedway in Camden, Tennessee on Tuesday night July 3rd.
The O'Reilly USC Asphalt Thunder Tour paved track racers then visit two other paved ovals the following weekend at Greenville Pickens Speedway www.greenvillepickens.com on Friday, July 6th and Watermelon Capital Speedway www.watermeloncapitalspeedway.com in Cordele, Georgia on Saturday July 7th. For O'Reilly USCS rules and series info visit www.uscsracing.com or call 404-886-5913. HEAT RACES:
Submitted By: Adam Ulrey