Drag strip racer well-known in Caldwell County dies in race crash

Drag strip car racer well-known in Caldwell County dies in crash at race

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A drag strip racer who was well-known in Hickory and Lenoir died in a crash while racing near New Orleans over the weekend.

"Everything stopped,” friend Chuck Suddreth said. “It's like the whole world stopped whenever you lose your best friend."

Jeff Hagaman won a number of races in Caldwell County dating back to the late 1980s.

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<p>Jeff Hagaman</p>

Jeff Hagaman

A YouTube video shows the last images of Hagaman competing in the sport he loved.

His Nissan GTR could reach speeds in excess of 200 mph over the half-mile track but, in his last race, something caused him to lose control of the car at the end.

Hagaman won the Hickory Motor Speedway and the Tri-County Motor Speedway in Caldwell County.

He was described as a gifted driver.

Friends said he will also be remembered for what he did off the track.

"He never met a stranger,” Suddreth said. “He never met anybody he wouldn't help. Whoever Jeff was around, he wanted them to succeed."

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