Though 2018 was an up and down season for Matthew Drager, the Albany based team showed substantial progress in the last few months of the season that has given Drager plenty of optimism heading into 2019.
The first couple of months were rough for Drager and his team. They battled a myriad of mechanical issues that limited the amount of races that Drager was able to run, even leading to Drager racing for multiple other car owners across the May and June months.
In late July Drager was back into his own car after replacing the rear clip on his chassis, and the change in performance was blatantly obvious. The first night back in his new car, Drager towed up to Gray’s Harbor Speedway. It looked like Drager was well on his way to a victory before late contact with a lapped car ended his chances at the win.
The following week Drager would return for the Shipwreck Beads Modified Nationals, with this race truly being a sign of things to come. Drager took home a 3rd place finish in the main event, kicking off a 5 week stretch where Drager would finish in the Top 3 at 3 big shows (Shipwreck Beads Mod Nationals, Logger’s Cup at Cottage Grove, and Willamette’s Modified Nationals).
Drager followed those up with another strong showing at one of the state’s biggest modified races, the $5,000 to win R Charles Snyder Salute, running in the Top 10 early before fading late in the 50 lap feature. This didn’t faze Drager, as the team’s momentum carried into the final two points races at Willamette Speedway, taking finishes of 2nd and 3rd over the last two weeks. Drager’s season would end at the annual Duel in the Desert, where he had a nice showing, making one preliminary main, but just missing transferring into the big show by three spots on the final day.
When asked about his thoughts on 2018, Drager said “2018 was a challenging year but has us motivated for a strong 2019. It was rough in the fact that we got so tore up early and missed half of the year but when we got back in our equipment we had some really good runs and I’m optimistic for what the next year holds.”
Top 5’s: 6
Top 10’s: 8
Best Finish: 2nd (Twice)
Worst Finish: 18th
April 21st: 18th
May 26th: 10th
June 1st: 6th
June 2nd: 14th
June 16th: 5th
August 17th: 17th
August 18th (Mod Nationals) : 2nd
September 15th: 2nd
September 22nd: 3rd
August 10th: 11th
August 11th (Logger’s Cup) : 3rd
September 2nd (R Charles Snyder Salute) : 15th
July 21st: 15th (Lead first 19 laps before contact with lapped car)
July 28th (Shipwreck Beads Mod Nationals) : 3rd
Day 1: DNF in heat due to debris, drove from the back to 8th in the B Main before contact ended night.
Day 2: Finished 3rd in heat, finished 2nd in B Main to transfer to A, finished 18th in feature after starting 29th
Day 3: Started 5th in LCQ but finished 4th, 3 spots out of transfer spot
Matthew would like to thank all of his sponsors and supporters, including:
GRT Race Cars
Stumbling J Livestock
Young Brothers Construction
Ohlins by JDR
Big Sky Landscaping
Aamco of Corvallis and Lebanon
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