USAR: Concord: Series race report

TREVOR BAYNE CELEBRATES FIRST WIN AT CONCORD SPEEDWAY IN USARacing's SEASON OPENER Concord, NC -- April 5, 2009 -- Young phenom, Trevor Bayne, overcame the greatest of odds in Saturday's night's exciting USARacing Pro Cup Series season-opener at...

TREVOR BAYNE CELEBRATES FIRST WIN AT CONCORD SPEEDWAY IN USARacing's SEASON OPENER

Concord, NC -- April 5, 2009 -- Young phenom, Trevor Bayne, overcame the greatest of odds in Saturday's night's exciting USARacing Pro Cup Series season-opener at Concord Speedway when he took the checkered flag for the Concord 250.

The 18-year-old Bayne was the fourth leader of the race and led the remaining 41 laps to capture his first win at the storied Concord Speedway and his third career win in the Pro Cup Series. What made the victory even sweeter was that only four days earlier, Bayne and the Chevy Racing team were scrambling to put together a crew, an engine package, and a race car to bring to the track.

It was evident by the wide grin displayed on this young man's face in victory lane that he was extremely proud of all his team had accomplished in a few short days.

"It's a real cool deal to win a Pro Cup Series race here at Concord ," said Bayne. "This team came together late. We decided Monday we were going to come here, so for them to pull the car out of retirement and get it together and to run this well, it's awesome. I've got to thank Billy Hess for letting us use everything in his shop this week. These (crew) guys volunteered their time all week to come and help us -- just a great group of guys -- and lucky to have Chevrolet on board with us this year. Hopefully we get to come back and run some more of these races. This win is a great start to the season."

A great start it is. Historically, the Pro Cup Series offers the most exciting -- and unpredictable -- short track racing in the country. The Concord 250 was no exception.

In Friday's practice session, Clay Rogers and Bayne held the two quickest times. In Saturday's practice session, Caleb Holman and Rogers topped the charts. Seventeen year old Rookie contender, Trevor Farbo, was set to make his debut at Concord Speedway in the #35 Farbo Motorsports Chevy but lost an engine in Saturday's practice and was forced to load up and go home. Larry Barrett smacked the wall in practice, but was able to make the necessary repairs to race.

Roger, a Mooresville, NC native and two-time winner at Concord Speedway, grabbed the pole position on Saturday with a lap time of 16.472 and a speed of 109.276 mph. Holman took the outside pole with a lap time of 16.552 and a speed of 108.748 mph.

Grammy nominee and country music artist, Michael Peterson, served as the Honorary Starter. When Peterson dropped the green flag, Holman charged past Rogers to lead the first lap but it was short-lived. Rogers quickly regained the top spot and began to set a blistering pace on the field, pulling away at times by three car lengths or more. By lap 29, he was running down and lapping competitors one after another.

There was plenty of hard racing behind the leader as Brandon Ward, who started 9th, began to beat on Drew Herring for third position.

The first of seven cautions flew on lap 49 for debris on the backstretch. When the race went back to green, Rogers again held the point with A.J. Frank, Holman, Ward, and Bayne in close pursuit. It was an impressive showing for Frank, who marked his first run at Concord Speedway.

The second yellow flew on lap 59 when Brett Butler spun in Turn 2. Rookie contender, Lucas Ransone, was awarded the Aaron's Lucky Dog pass putting him back on the lead lap.

When the field went back to green, Rogers jumped out in front with Virginia native, Jeff Agnew, in tow. Rogers continued to open up a cushion between himself and the rest of the field. By lap 77, with Rogers checked out, the real racing was from second to sixth place, with those competitors running nose to tail trying to catch the leader.

The third caution was displayed on lap 103 for debris in Turn 3 and Billy Bigley Jr. was awarded the Lucky Dog pass. Ward, piloting the #56 Hess Products Chevy elected not to pit and when the green was displayed to the field on lap 108, he became the new leader. Ward barely had enough time to come up to full speed before the fourth caution came out for J.P. Morgan, who spun. John Gibson and the #13s team received the Lucky Dog pass.

On lap 117, Rookie contender Lucas Ransone and Ronnie Souders tangled, bringing out the fifth caution of the day. Rogers, who was charging back through the field trying to regain his lead, was caught up in the aftermath and sustained heavy damage to the left front fender. He made repeated stops for service as the crew attempted to pull the fender away from the tire. After leading 105 laps earlier in the race, Rogers watched his chance for a win fade with each lap lost on pit road.

At the half-way point of the race, Ward was still showing the way, watching his rearview mirror as 2008 Series Champion Benny Gordon, Bayne and Derek Kale were slowly reeling him in.

The sixth caution of the day came out on lap 150 when Kale got into Gordon. The damage to Gordon's car was extensive and he wheeled it to the garage. Kale was able to make a pit stop and stay on the lead lap.

With 75 laps remaining, it was a tight battle with Ward on the point and Kale, Herring, Gill and Bayne jousting for positions behind him. Ward was enjoying a little bit of a cushion at that point, with an eight car advantage over Kale. Bayne was relentlessly battling Kale for second place.

On lap 203, Jeff Agnew and J.P. Morgan tangled. The melee brought out the seventh and final caution of the day. Ransone was the recipient of the Lucky Dog pass; he was moved around the pace car and to the back of the pack for the restart.

With 46 laps to go, Ward was the leader with Bayne in second, Kale in third, Gill in fourth and Kale in fifth. With the field tightened up after the caution, Ward saw the advantage that he had over Bayne quickly evaporate. Kale's Chevy didn't come up to speed on the restart, jamming up Gill and Holman behind him..

Bayne became the third leader of the race when Ward's car slid up the track on lap 209. Bayne quickly opened up an advantage over Ward and continued to extend his lead while Kale and Gill waged a hard-charging battle for third behind him.

Bayne stretched his lead to a full straightaway length and held the top spot for the remaining 41 laps of the race, taking the win by a margin of 4.603 seconds over Ward. Kale, Gill and Herring would round out the Top 5.

Bayne spoke like a seasoned veteran as he recounted his strategy to take the lead and the win from Ward.

"I came over the radio and said I just want to follow him around," said Bayne. "I knew he was getting loose and I thought if I could just keep following him he'd get loose enough where I could pass him. We're happy to be here in victory lane and it's just awesome to be back in the USARacing Pro Cup Series."

The next USAR Pro Cup Series event on the schedule is the Sunoco 250 at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil , GA on Saturday, April 25th. For more information, visit www.racesgmp.com.

-credit: USARacing

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Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Trevor Bayne , Caleb Holman , Brett Butler , A.J. Frank , Drew Herring , Jeff Agnew , John Gibson