Kenly, NC (July 29, 2000) B. J. Mackey won the race at the Southern National Speedway, Saturday evening, in the running of the Carolina Precast Concrete 125, but leading rookie contender Cam Strader stole the show. Strader started his stock...
Kenly, NC (July 29, 2000) B. J. Mackey won the race at the Southern National Speedway, Saturday evening, in the running of the Carolina Precast Concrete 125, but leading rookie contender Cam Strader stole the show.
Strader started his stock car racing career at the Southern National Speedway and still has a huge following when he comes back to the speedway for an event. "The fans here at Southern National have always been very supportive. I know we have a real sense of kinship to these fans, and they let us know tonight that they feel the same way. It really makes you feel good to see so many familiar faces in the grandstands," he said.
"We wanted to make this a big night, since we were back where it all started. We hosted a cook out for all of our supporters. We gave out Frisbees to the fans from our sponsor at Wesson, and two lucky fans received tickets to the Jarrett/Favre Driving Adventure. We were giving away everything," said Strader. "We even gave away two autographed bottles of Wesson Cooking Oil. In addition to all that going on, we even found time to raise $2,500 for the Duke Children's Hospital and Children's Miracle Network through the support of Wesson and the people in the grandstands. I'm most proud of that," he explained.
Strader's night of racing wasn't bad either. He got things off and running when he collected his second Bud Pole Award of 2000. He qualified the Wesson Cooking Oil machine around the tight 4/10-mile oval at a speed of 91.775mph. Due to the pre-race qualifier draw, Strader moved to third and Johnny Chapman assumed the inside of the front row for the start of the event.
Chapman took the lead on the start followed by Strader and Scott Weaver. On lap 9, Strader flexed the muscle in the Wesson machine and drove by Chapman to the delight of the capacity crowd. Strader's move to the front opened the door for Weaver, B.J. Mackey, and Ricky Bryant. Chapman dropped to the fifth position before he could get back in line.
Strader continued to stretch his lead, and led for a total of 23 laps. On lap 26, B.J. Mackey made his move to the inside of second place driver Scott Weaver, and took over the spot going into turn three as the caution flag flew for a crash in turn two.
The caution gave Mackey the break he was looking for. He was able to start right behind Strader.
On the restart, Mackey drove to the bottom of the speedway coming off turn two, and he and Strader ran door to door down the backstretch. Strader had to relinquish the top spot as the two drivers exited turn four. The race went caution free as Mackey stretched his lead to several car links over Strader.
By lap 70, Robert Huffman began to make his presence felt as he worked to the low side of the track on Scott Weaver and moved into the third position behind Strader.
On lap 90, the eighth caution flag of the night flew for debris on the speedway, and each of the cars on the lead lap hit pit road for fuel.
Mackey was the first off pit road, followed by Huffman, and Strader. Huffman appeared to be ready to mount a charge on the restart, but Mackey had other ideas. Mackey had a great restart, but 7 laps later the caution flew again when Steven Barfield spun directly in front of the leaders on the front stretch.
Mackey, Huffman, and Strader were set to do battle for the final seven laps of the event, when Strader began to have engine problems. "We had a horrible miss in the motor," he said. "The engine was losing oil pressure and I couldn't push it that hard. We knew B.J. was strong, and we just tried to stay with him once he made the pass for the lead."
The race would restart only to have another caution on lap 124, when Keith Roggen spun in turn four. Mackey, Huffman, and Strader again started nose to tail with one final shot at the checkers.
Mackey was not to be denied, as he held off the charge of Huffman for the final two laps of the event.
"We were just glad to finish that one," Strader explained after the race. "We actually developed the motor problem when B.J. (Mackey) got by me on the restart. We have had great engines all year, and Don Miller and his guys do a great job for us. Sometimes things just break."
Strader moved into the top five in the Championship points standings with his third place finish, and earned the NAPA Rookie of the Race Award for the ninth time this season.
The NASCAR Goody's Dash Series will travel to the Myrtle Beach Speedway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on August 12th for the next event on the schedule.