Herring Makes History by Snatching Championship Lead from Series Veteran
Benson, North Carolina, Driver's Runner-Up Finish Earned Him Pro Cup Points Lead
CONCORD, NC (September 22, 2009) -- At the start of the 2009 USARacing Pro Cup season, Drew Herring was on top of his game, grabbing a top-five finish in the first event and a win in the third. But it wasn't long before Herring was plagued by bad luck, which ripped his top-five finishes away from him race by race.
Although it was sprinkled with a few top-five's and top-10 finishes, the bulk of Herring's 2009 season has consisted of sub-par finishes due to mechanical mishaps and on-track incidents out of Herring's control. Herring has gotten his #22 BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors Ford Fusion back on track for the four-race USARacing Pro Cup Championship Series, which follows the conclusion of the regular season.
"We were great the first five races of this year," explained Herring. "And then everything just started going down south. For us to rebound like we have in the championship series where it really counts and be this close, taking the championship or even having a chance to do it just shows a lot for this whole team."
This past weekend, Herring and his team made their way to Iowa Speedway (IA), where they refused to let a practice incident with the turn-four wall stifle their determination.
"I spun out in practice," recounted Herring. "I hit the wall coming off turn four. We had only had seven or eight laps of practice before that happened, so we came in and they went to work. They put the car back together and we had no idea exactly where it was going to be, but we went out and got three extra practice laps and realized we had lost like half a second. It's always tough as a driver to come from a spin like that and try to regain all of your confidence and get out there and sling it back off in that turn again, because as soon as you come off turn four you've got that same thought in your head. But the guys worked so hard; I had to do everything I could for them because they deserved it, and we were lucky enough to be able to grab the pole."
With the pole momentum behind him, Herring rocketed his #22 machine to the front of the field until a bad set of rubber hindered his seemingly unstoppable march to victory lane.
"It was just one of those days where everything was going really good and then it goes completely south, and then it's all the way back to the top again and mediocre at the end of the day," said Herring. "The car had a ton of speed in it, and I could pretty much just get out front and put it on cruise control and just ride and lead laps. It seemed to be getting better and better all night, but the last set of tires we put on just didn't react with the car well. We got way tight and just started chattering the tires down in turns three and four, and that's when J.P. [Morgan] was able to take advantage. He was just a little bit better than us during that last stint. I think we had the best car the whole day until that last run when his car was better in three and four. I battled him for like 40 laps as hard as I could to keep him behind me. I drove the car as hard as I could and did everything I could, within my power, to keep him behind me, and he finally just got a good bite and got by us and pulled off and we just had to finish second."
Despite not being able to grab the checkered flag, Herring still left Iowa Speedway with a coveted title, USARacing Pro Cup Points Leader. By finishing second, Herring took the lead from series' veteran Clay Rogers by a mere two points.
"That was definitely one great thing that came out of it," commented Herring. "I wish we could've gotten that win, because that would be an extra 15 points that we could have cushioned a little. But I know Clay is going to be good at Rockingham. He was the one that got the win from us last year, so I'm definitely glad we got the points lead now and we've just got to defend it. But we're not really points racing; we're just going to every single race with the thought of winning. That's what we want to do-- do everything we can, give 110% to get out there, get on the pole, lead as many laps as we can, and win the race, because if you win the race, the points are going to come."
Herring will be looking to defend his points lead on October 10th, as the USARacing Pro Cup Series heads to the famed Rockingham Speedway.