Coastal Plains race report

SOUTH BOSTON, VA (July 3, 2001) Mike Conover, a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regular at Coastal Plains Raceway made good the old adage, "Third time is the charm", by winning the Goody's Liberty "150" Presented by WSET TV Goody's Dash Series,...

SOUTH BOSTON, VA (July 3, 2001) Mike Conover, a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regular at Coastal Plains Raceway made good the old adage, "Third time is the charm", by winning the Goody's Liberty "150" Presented by WSET TV Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring race at South Boston Speedway Tuesday night, in only his third career start.

After finishing fifth in a recent Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring event at his home track, Conover decided at the last minute to enter the Independence Day Celebration event at South Boston Speedway. He qualified fifth and stayed with the leaders throughout the event. Jimmy Britts collected his second Bud Pole of the season. The top six qualifiers were inverted in the pre-race draw. Jake Hobgood grabbed the lead and held on for the first 29 circuits. Britts charged toward the front and pressured Hobgood for several laps before slipping passed him on lap 30. Britts was the class of the field early in the event, leading twice for a total of 34 circuits. On lap 64 his car began to fade and he eventually had to pit to replace a flat right front tire. Britts would end the night in tenth place.

Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring Championship Points leader, Cam Strader had been undefeated in the Series previous three visits to North Carolina tracks. He was able to stay in the top five all night and even took the point for one lap. Justin Hobgood passed his older brother on lap 78 and seemed to be on his way to another win. But on lap 129 Conover made his assault on the top spot. He dove under Hobgood coming out of turn two, completing the pass on the front stretch. "I used my car up too early in the race, " said Hobgood. When asked what he thought about Conover passing him for the win he replied, "His car was awesome there at the end. He just blew by me!"

The last of four cautions came out on lap 149 when Scott Weaver's engine let go and oil was laid on the backstretch. This set the tone for the fan favorite green, white, checkered shootout. It took several laps to clean up the track. On the final restart Justin Hobgood went after Conover while Robert Huffman tried to take second away from Hobgood. "My car was really handling well there at the end," said Huffman. We just needed a few more laps. Huffman and Hobgood were side by side at the line with Hobgood a mere whisker ahead at the line.

"I am just numb with excitement," stated Conover. "I just can't believe it! This is so wonderful to come here and win." Jake Hobgood ended up in fourth and Strader rounded out the top five. Randy Humphrey, making only his second start of the season, returned with a vengeance as he marched forward from his eleventh starting postion to finish in sixth place.

The event was sponsored by Goody's, WSET TV Channel 13, and Liberty University in Lynchburg. Dr Jerry Falwell was on hand to wish the drivers well before the event.

Absent from the event was Shane Hmiel. Tim Nichols takes over as the Rookie of the Year Points leader by placing the highest among the three rookie contenders in the race.

- Randy Claypoole

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Shane Hmiel , Cam Strader , Robert Huffman , Justin Hobgood