If you don’t have piles of cash lying around or some big sponsors, heads-up racing might not be in the cards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun at the track. Dave Hagen and his wife bracket race a super clean 1968 Chevy shortbed truck all over the state of Florida, and Hagen has no desire to step up his program…the bracket racing world is exactly where he wants to be.
Hagen’s truck is powered by a 427 cubic-inch big-block Chevy that’s backed by a TH350 transmission and torque converter from PTC. Hagen opted to leave the 12-bolt truck rear in his ride, but filled it with 4.56 gears from Motive and axles from Moser. A nitrous plate kit was added by Hagen to help him speed the truck up if needed depending on what index he’s trying to run. The truck has lit the 1/8-mile boards with the best pass of 6.39 with a 1.29 60-foot time.
Now, this project almost didn’t happen for Hagen, but his wife pushed him to build the truck and he hasn’t looked back.
“I had another truck like this one and I got hit head-on by a drunk driver in it. My wife talked me into getting another one so I decided to start looking. A guy drove up at a McDonald’s I was at in this truck, it was in pretty rough shape, like $900 rough. We worked on it for seven years putting it together as we could while our daughter was in college. It’s turned out nice and we enjoy it,” Hagen says.
Hagen did most of the work to the truck himself, including adding the Mustang II front end, which has an interesting story.
“I decided I wanted to put a Mustang II front end on the truck but didn’t have a lead on one. I ended up finding the one that I used in a car that was in a friend’s field. We went out to the car and just cut the front end off for me to use. The truck was finished up with a Chassis Engineering ladder bar back half kit and Calvert shocks. It drives really straight and is a blast to race,” Hagen explains.
Hagen has put a lot of laps on his Chevy down various tracks and he knows it like the back of his hand. That knowledge of what the truck will run has made Hagen a deadly bracket racer and created a lot of good times at the track.
“We like index and bracket racing because it’s affordable…a working man can do it and feel like he’s running with the best. You come to the track and most of the people in these index classes are your average working American. The friendships we’ve made at the track have lasted a long time and we wouldn’t trade them for anything,” Hagen states.
Racers who have built their vehicle with their own two hands arguably enjoy them more than those who haven’t. Dave Hagen put many years into the build of his Chevy truck and he’s extracted plenty of fun from it in return.