Derek Hagar reached new heights this season, winning a career-best 20 sprint car main events to accomplish a goal he dreamed of achieving.
“To have such a strong season and finish with 20 wins is pretty remarkable,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to top that. Not knowing what the year was going to be and we got a late start in the season, so to be able to get to that 20-win mark was unbelievable. Everything just lined out. The season started out phenomenally.”
Hagar won his sprint car season opener for the first time since 2014 and followed by capturing each of his first nine races of the season. He was leading his 10 th feature when he was crashed by a fellow competitor he was attempting to put a lap down, snapping his career-best nine race winning streak.
It didn’t take long for Hagar to return to Victory Lane, which was the theme of the season as he finished with the 20 triumphs in 31 sprint car starts. Additionally, Hagar was victorious with all four teams he drove for this season.
“If you look at it stats-wise, two of those owners I have a perfect win record,” he said. “Both times we ran Paul Hart’s car we won and in Chad Jones’ car at the end of the year we won with that. I think we only lost one or two shows in the McCord Farms car. And in our personal car we won a lot of races. We aligned ourselves with good car owners so to be competitive with every car we got in was rewarding.”
Hagar won the Grassroots Nationals, Fall Nationals and King of Memphis, but it was a Tezos All Star Circuit of Champions victory – his first ever – on July 26 at Benton Speedway in Benton, Mo., that stands out.
“The biggest win of the year was the All Star win,” he said. “We weren’t even supposed to be racing that weekend. It was a last-minute deal. I was just going to watch. To come out and be able to qualify second and have a good run in the heat race set us up. We moved forward in the dash and then we had a really good car and passed some really good drivers to pick up the feature win. I woke up the next morning and thought I was dreaming. It was a lot to take in and seemed too good to be true.”
Hagar also swept the USCS Series Speedweek for six of his series-best nine victories.
“That was a pretty big deal,” he said. “It’d never been done before. There were eight or nine drivers who could win every night.”
Hagar also bookended his season with wins in his season opener and season finale for the first time.
“It was a dream season from start to finish,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who is part of our team. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next year.”
SEASON STATS –
31 races, 20 wins, 27 top fives, 28 top 10s, 30 top 15s, 31 top 20s
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