Bagley Hits The Big Time In Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas – Morgan Bagley surged to his first career Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track win Saturday night during the Port-A-Cool Texas World Dirt Track Championship in the SUPR Late Model Series.
The Longview, Texas, native was the 2011 SUPR champion, but has since been racing in the World of Outlaws Late Model Division. Despite his strenuous travel schedule, Bagley has made it a habit of returning to the .4-mile dirt oval in hopes of getting a win in front of those closest to him.
“Our schedule involves so much traveling, they don’t get to see us race that often,” Bagley said. “My dad, he’s my best friend and got me into racing, but he might only get to see me race three times a year and this is one of them.
“It’s great to come back here and race in front of the people that support me and have helped me to get to where I’m at. Whenever I can go out and win, it makes things a lot sweeter.”
Bagley held the lead for most of the race after bumping the four-time SUPR Series champion Rob Litton out of his way on lap five. Bagley later would lose the lead to Chris Brown on lap 12 before taking advantage of a restart following a caution on lap 26.
Brown, no stranger to winning at Texas with two modified division championships, didn’t have what it took to hold off Bagley on the restart as Bagley appeared to shoot out of a cannon coming around turn two. Continuing to march through lapped traffic over the remaining 14 laps, Bagley held off Brown and the remaining competition for the victory.
In the limited modified division, Rodney Sanders won his second Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track championship in as many years, but his first in the limited modified division. Sanders took home the modified division championship in 2013.
In what was a show of total domination, Sanders took the lead on lap three using the high line of the track and never looked back. By the end of the 30-lap main event, second-place finisher Steve Whiteaker Jr., a two-time Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track champion, crossed the finish line a whopping 5.6 seconds behind Sanders.
“I felt like if I didn’t mess up and I hit my mark every time, we’d be in pretty good shape,” Sanders said. “I didn’t really know, but I was looking at the board and I knew (Steve) Whiteaker Jr. and (John) Whittington were both good runners. I didn’t know for sure where they were at and if I had a good lead or not so I was just trying to go as good as I could.”
Cade Dillard, a 22-year-old from Many, La., took home the modified division championship in what was his first career win at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. After leading the field to the green flag with the pole position, Dillard quickly lost it to Sanders on the second lap. Sanders, who had just switched cars after winning his limited modified championship, appeared to be pulling away for his second championship of the night.
Unfortunately for Sanders, he got loose on lap 10 running high in turn two and allowed Dillard to regain the top spot. Despite a late surge from Jason Hughes and a caution on lap 38, Dillard held on to win 40-lap main event.
“I rode behind (Rodney Sanders) for a couple of laps until I caught him in a mistake and was able to get around him,” Dillard said. “I got out there a ways and I tried to be a little more conservative and I thought we had it wrapped up and then the caution came out and I was like ‘that’s the last thing we need.’ So I just put (the car) up against the wall and held it to the floor for two laps.”
The three divisions fielded 216 entries over the two-day Port-A-Cool Texas World Dirt Track Championship. The event was the first of two dirt track events at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014. The second is the Port-A-Cool U.S. National Dirt Track Championship on Sept. 12-13.