Solid Top Five Finish Keeps Morgan in the Championship Hunt
Concord, N.C. (September 5, 2009) -- Eyes have been gravitating towards J.P. Morgan and his Phil Morgan Pottery Chevrolet in recent weeks and a top five finish in the first USARacing Pro Cup Championship Series event may gain him more attention. Morgan came back to his home track of Concord [N.C.] Speedway for the BF Goodrich Tires 250 and finished fourth on Saturday night.
"We wanted a better finish and I think we could have had a couple of spots if it had stayed green. Racing hard is one thing, but I'm not going to dump anybody just to get more spots," commented Morgan. "It was a great points night for us, obviously we wanted to win one here at our home track, but we'll take fourth and go to Iowa."
Morgan started the race in the seventh position and was not too happy with his car in the first half of the race. Shortly after the halfway mark the team elected to make changes, take tires, and the car soon came back to life.
"The car was bad to begin with, we just couldn't get it to hook up like we wanted to," said Morgan. "After we came in for tires, the car really came alive and we started picking off spots one by one."
Once the car was to Morgan's liking, he was really able to start making some ground on the leaders. With the level of competition in the Pro Cup Series, he had to make some gutsy moves to get around some of his competitors, including a dive to the apron of turn three in one instance.
"When I ran a late model here, that was a pass that I liked to do to people a lot," Morgan laughed. "I hadn't done it in a long time and only at that part of the race did I feel comfortable doing it. I saw the opening and I thought 'I'm gonna dive in there,' and it stuck and I made the pass."
It seemed as though Morgan really had a handle on his car and having a long run was working to his advantage in the last segment of the race. Between the hard racing and several on track incidents that brought out not only one, but two red flags, his run for a win would have to be put on hold for another day.
"There was bumping, banging, and hard racing going on everywhere. There weren't too many times when I wasn't looking out the windshield and saw someone sideways or two cars getting together. It was like everyone was out there running 50 lap shootouts. I was surprised at how many cars were left on the track at the end, I mean, there were people that were sideways all night long and just never hit anything. Actually, I might have been one of those a few times.
"Our car was much better on long runs, so after the first red flag, I was really thinking 'gosh, I hope we don't have any more red flags,' but sometimes it happens like that," said Morgan. "If you're set up to run long green flag stints, you're sitting there going, 'oh no, not again'. "
Morgan's solid finish has moved him up two spots in the standings; he now sits fourth just 65 points behind the Point leader, Clay Rogers. Morgan and his team believe that finishes like this are just what they need to compete for the championship.
"[The team] is really excited. I can hear it in their voices and I'm excited for the team too. I wanted to gain a few more spots [this weekend], but if we couldn't, we had to stay in striking distance," explained Morgan. "I feel like Iowa and Rockingham will be our best races. I'm really looking forward to those and hopefully they will play in our favor. I really want to win those two races. They are two tracks that I just love.
Morgan will have one weekend off before he and the rest of the Pro Cup Series travel to Iowa Speedway for the Sept. 19 Iowa 200, the second event in the four-race Championship Series. If you missed the action from the BF Goodrich Tires 250, tune into your local FSN station on Oct. 25 at 11:30am.