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Stewart earns first win at Magnolia

 

Tony Stewart claimed his first win at Magnolia Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Tony Stewart claimed his first win at Magnolia Motor Speedway on Saturday. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch

 

By David Miller, Special to The Dispatch

 

 

Saturday night presented a number of firsts for former NASCAR points champion Tony Stewart. 

 

Stewart, who returned to racing sprint cars last year after retiring from NASCAR's top flight, won his first sprint race of the season, capturing the United Speed Contest Sanction Sprint Outlaw feature at the Frostbuster 150 at Magnolia Motor Speedway. 

 

The win was Stewart's first at Magnolia. He finished 23rd in last year's Frostbuster. 

 

Stewart earned the pole after climbing from eighth to win his heat race. Stewart led every lap of the feature after a slight challenge from runner-up Blake Hahn on the first two laps. 

 

Stewart declined comment after the win, but he said he anticipates running close to 90 sprint races this season. 

 

Hahn and Stewart pulled away from the field early on and weathered two cautions in the first three laps. Stewart maintained a two-second lead or greater over the field for much of the race. 

 

After a caution on lap 21, third-place finisher Derek Hagar, a three-time winner at Magnolia and last year's Frostbuster champion, passed Hahn for second. The pair tangled and Hahn eventually held off Hagar. 

 

"I got a good run and got to the top," Hagar said. "I got by (Hahn) a couple of times, and he chopped down on me pretty hard, about spun us out. We had a good second-place car, but we weren't good enough to compete with Stewart." 

 

Hagar was happy to bring home a third-place finish after dropping the motor in the yellow No. 9 car Monday. Saturday was Hagar's first race of the season in the car after driving a handful of races for Witherspoon Racing. 

 

"I've been so busy with my business, building shocks and stuff for race teams," Hagar said. "It's the busiest I've ever been, and I haven't had time to focus on my race car. I actually wanted to get the motor fresh -- it's got 29 nights on it -- so to go out there and be competitive with those guys with a worn-out motor, it gives me a boost of confidence for what the season might hold." 

 

In other race action, Spencer Hughes, former NeSmith Street Stocks national champion, won the open-wheel modified feature. Hughes climbed from fifth to first in his heat race to start on the pole for the feature. Hughes finished second at Hattiesburg on Friday night. Hughes will compete in Super Late Models for Leon Henderson this season. Hughes won the Southern All-Stars Governor's Cup Super Late Model race at Magnolia last season, becoming the series' youngest feature winner at age 16. 

 

Rick Rickman won the Super Late Model feature. Brian Rickman, Shay Knight, Jamie Tollison, and Shelby Sheedy rounded out the top five. 

 

Monte Skinner started third and won the NeSmith Late Model feature. Skinner passed Ross Camponovo on lap five and led the remainder of the race. Camponovo finished second, while Jamey Boland, Terry Wilson, and Tim Dees rounded out the top five. 

 

Jamie Pickard won the Late Model Sportsman feature. Hunter Carroll, Tony Shelton, Zack Shelton, and Kurt Radojscics rounded out the top five. 

 

Lee Ray won the Street Stocks feature. TK King, Michael Williams, David Williamson, and Johnny Stokes rounded out the top five. 

 

Scooter Ware won the Factory Stocks feature. Kevin Williams, Corey Johnson, John Beard, and Aidan Fletcher rounded out the top five.

 

 

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