WHEATLAND, Mo. — Derek Hagar took the lead on lap 11 of the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series feature and drove away from the field to earn the opening-night headliner in the 11th annual Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial Thursday night at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Hagar took home Thursday’s $3,000 top prize and picked up premium points that accumulate toward the starting lineup for Saturday night’s $10,000-to-win finale.
The action pays tribute to the legacy of Jesse Hockett, from Warsaw, Mo., who was a star in both the winged and non-winged sprint divisions when he lost his life in a shop accident in 2010. His cousin and crew chief, Daniel McMillin, was killed in an automobile accident in 2006.
Hagar took command of the race when he passed Jeremy Campbell in lapped traffic after Campbell had led the first 10 laps of the 25-lap feature.
It was domination from there as Hagar, who rallied from an eighth-starting position, won his fourth feature of the season. He finished 6.4 seconds in front of runner-up Scott Bogucki.
“Man, I had my doubts for a little bit,” Hagar said. “We couldn’t get our motor to run right in the heat race and qualifier. We went back to what we know and this was a special night for us.”
Hagar noted that the funeral for his close friend Jacob Wilson was held on Wednesday. Wilson’s name was on the car and some of the family members were in attendance Thursday night.
As for the pass for the lead, Hagar said he was able to dive the car into the corner and get around Campbell and then kept his momentum up the rest of the way. He noted that the first night was a great step toward a possible second Hockett/McMillin final-night feature win for the team.
Bogucki’s team had to replace a faulty power steering package between the qualifier race and the feature. All things considered, Bogucki said second was fine by him.
“We got the car pretty good. The longer the race went, the better we got,” Bogucki said. “We figured some stuff out and we’ll take it, for sure.”
Howard Moore finished third with Jason Martin fourth and Campbell was fifth.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 9JR-Derek Hagar; 2. 28-Scott Bogucki; 3. 3M-Howard Moore; 4. 36-Jason Martin; 5. 10C-Jeremy Campbell; 6. 51B-Joe B Miller; 7. 52-Blake Hahn; 8. 14E-Kyle Bellm; 9. 95-Matt Covington; 10. 11-Roger Crockett; 11. 63-JJ Hickle; 12. 98P-Miles Paulus; 13. 77X-Alex Hill; 14. 7M-Chance Morton; 15. 5D-Zach Daum; 16. 24-Garet Williamson; 17. 55B-Brandon Anderson; 18. 11A-Austin O’Neal; 19. 22-Riley Goodno; 20. 84-Brandon Hanks; 21. 17B-Ryan Bickett; 22. 77-Jack Wagner; 23. 88-Travis Reber; 24. 15D-Andrew Deal; 25. 9-Chase Randall; 26. 47X-Dylan Westbrook