Hagen Bounces Back At Angell Park
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Darren Hagen bounced back impressively Sunday, leading the final 20 laps to win the feature in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, co-sanctioned by the Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series, at Angell Park Speedway.
Hagen finished 1.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Mike Hess. Brad Kuhn was third in the 77th Anniversary Night event, which celebrated Badger’s 77 years of sanctioning Midget racing.
The 27-year-old from Riverside, Calif., was leading Kuhn with less than three laps remaining on Saturday night in a POWRi/Badger feature at Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway when his ignition failed and eliminated him.
Hagen was even stronger at Angell Park despite driving the final third of the feature with a broken header. He started fourth in the RFMS Racing Esslinger-powered DRC, moved into second behind Danny Stratton on the second lap and took the lead with a decisive move to the inside entering turn three on the first restart on the 11th lap. Hagen wasn’t seriously challenged the rest of the way.
“It’s easy when the car is good,” Hagen said. “You could hear the header popping and I lost all torque. I had to go to a fast pace on the restarts and keep off the cushion because if hit it, it bogged me down. I ran four inches below the cushion.
“We managed to hang on despite half our header breaking off. It makes up for last night.”
It was Hagen’s second victory in POWRi this season and the seventh of his career. He has five top-three finishes in nine POWRi events this year. The victory earned him a good paycheck, his share of the $2,000 winner’s prize, and a good night’s sleep.
“My boss said I could have the day off if I won,” Hagen said. “I would have spent all night driving to Indianapolis (where he lives in the racing season) and had to go to work. Now, I don’t have to stay up all night.”