Brandon Hagan may never have become a race-car driver had it not been for a friend's illness.
"A friend of mine was competing in a go-kart race, but on the night he was suppose to compete, he didn't feel well so he asked me if I would like to try it," Hagan said. "I started last in the race and finished fifth and then started racing go-karts on a weekly basis."
The 18 year-old senior at Alexandria Central, who will graduate in a couple of weeks, finds himself leading in the sportsman's point race at Can-Am Motorsports Park in LaFargeville. He has won two features this season and finished in the top five in every race.
"It's my third year in the sportsman division," Hagan said. "I started out in mod lites and won the championship in that division after I won a number of go-kart titles."
His father, Jim, is his financial backer, and joins his wife, Amber, and brother Jimmy as Brandon's biggest supporters. But Hagan has a lot of other fans.
"I've got a lot of support besides my family and girl friend," Hagan said. "There are a lot of other relatives and friends that go to the races at Can-Am, too."
The Plessis resident said that for the time being he will stay in the sportsman division. He would move up to the small-block modified division if he could get the big sponsorship program he said that is needed in that division.
While he races on a weekly basis at Can-Am, Hagan said he will probably go to other sportsman races at the Cayuga County Fair Speedway in Weedsport as well as Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge. He also will attend races at the Mohawk International Raceway in Akwesasne on a Friday night if the races are canceled at Can-Am due to the weather.
DECKER TOPS FIELD
Billy Decker of Unadilla went back to the speedway where he first started racing and came away with the win in the "Clash at the Can" on Wednesday night at the Penn-Can Speedway in Susquehanna, Pa. Decker had his hands full as 21-year-old Danny Tyler of Cottekill was the early leader. Decker collected $8,50 for the victory. Tyler finished second and Jimmy Phelps took third.
Watertown native Tim McCreadie finished sixth and also won the Hard Charger Award. Lance Willix III of Theresa and Rob Bellinger of Dexter did not qualify for the 60-lap feature. Veteran modified drivers Brett Hearn and Billy Pauch Jr. also failed to qualify.
RACING THIS WEEKEND
nCan-Am Motorsports Park in LaFargeville:Afull schedule of racing tonight. Big Apple Music/Window Tinting by Shaggy is sponsoring the race program, which includes 358-modifieds; DIRT sportsman, street stocks/pure stocks; thunder cars and mod lites. The Go Nuclear Challenge Series for pro late models is sponsoring a 25-lap feature with $750 going to the winner of the race. Races are scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.
nMohawk International Speedway in Akwesasne:Aregular race program tonight, along with the Empire Super Sprints sponsored Saratoga Eagles. Racing begins at 7:45 p.m.
nThunder Alley Speedway Park(Evans Mills): A full racing program beginning at 6 p.m., including an enduro. Legends cars are off this weekend.
nOswego Speedway:Regular race program with a 45-lap supermodified race and a 30-lap small-block supermodified feature. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.
nBrockville (Ontario) Speedway:Regular race program. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Sportswriter John O'Donnell covers local auto racing for the Times.