USAR: Iowa CS: Matt Hawkins race report

Mechanical Problem Short-Circuits Solid Run For Hawkins At Iowa You'd think after a 30th-place finish in the Soy Biodiesel 225 USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship event, Matt Hawkins wouldn't be in a hurry to revisit Iowa Speedway. Think ...

Mechanical Problem Short-Circuits Solid Run For Hawkins At Iowa

You'd think after a 30th-place finish in the Soy Biodiesel 225 USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship event, Matt Hawkins wouldn't be in a hurry to revisit Iowa Speedway. Think again.

"After Saturday, Iowa Speedway is by far my favorite track," said Hawkins (right). "I wish we could race there every week. If you had a good car, you could pass just about anywhere you wanted, high or low. It's the best track I have ever been to."

Hawkins, a 19-year-old USAR rookie from Canton,GA, gave the glowing review to the 7/8-mile Newton, IA oval after coming close to winning his second Hooters Pro Cup event of the season. The winner of the 2007 season-opener at USA International Speedway, Hawkins quickly served notice that he was going to be one of the drivers to beat in the season of five Pro Cup championship events Saturday night.

"We worked on the car and finally got it really good in the last practice Friday," Hawkins stated. "We were in the Top-20 all day, but we were hit on some stuff at the end of practice and wound up ninth on the sheet. Then we went out third in qualifying on Saturday and still timed in 14th despite the fact it got a lot cooler as qualifying went on. I think if we would have gone out later, we would have qualified a lot better, but we still knew we had a good car, so we weren't worried."

Hawkins had no reason to be worried as he rolled into the Top-5 with just under 30 laps remaining. Unfortunately, his No. 2 H&H Electric Ford started to fail shortly past the 200-lap mark and eventually expired on the 212th circuit leaving the young driver and his team to wonder what went wrong.

"We think we might have blown a head gasket," said Hawkins. "We're not really sure, but that appears to be what happened. It felt good to run well. It never feels good when you have a problem, but we did have the satisfaction of knowing that we ran well."

The less than expected finish all but dashed any hopes of a top 2007 points finish, but certainly didn't dampen Hawkins' enthusiasm for the three remaining USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship events.

"I'm looking forward to going to the next race at Myrtle Beach," said Hawkins. "We're pretty much done in the points, so our goal will be to run as well as we can and see if we can win one of these races. We're already looking forward to 2008 and the Hooters Pro Cup season. We've had a good year this year, but we're looking to be a lot better next season."

-credit: www.matthawkins.net.

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