USAR: Kil-Kare: Race report

Jeff Agnew Wins BFGoodrich Tires 250 Xenia, OH-Jeff Agnew has seen his fair share of bad luck this season. Coming into the BFGoodrich Tires 250, Agnew had led four of the six races in the Northern Division for a total of 277 laps, but had...

Jeff Agnew Wins BFGoodrich Tires 250

Xenia, OH-Jeff Agnew has seen his fair share of bad luck this season.

Coming into the BFGoodrich Tires 250, Agnew had led four of the six races in the Northern Division for a total of 277 laps, but had no wins to show for it.

Finally, the racing gods shined on him Friday night at Kil-Kare Speedway.

With 25 laps to go, Agnew looked to be headed for a third-place finish behind Benny Gordon and Mardy Lindley. Two laps later, Agnew found himself in the lead and en route his first win of the season.

"We had pretty good car, but all of us were pretty even at the end," said Agnew, driver of the No. 73 NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevy. "We got into some lapped traffic at the end, and I was in pretty good position. I could kind of see what was going on from the catbird's seat."

Agnew pounced like a lion when his opportunity arose.

On Lap 225, Gordon was leading as the three leaders went into Turn 1, but the 2003 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year found the marbles and slid up the track, allowing Lindley take the lead and bringing Agnew into second.

On the next lap, Lindley checked up when Kevin Kromer cut a tire down and Agnew took the point. Agnew led the final 24 laps and beat Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, to the finish by 1.402 seconds.

"We were very fortunate tonight," said Agnew, who won for the eighth time in his ProCup career. "I really didn't know if I could win with about 50 [laps] to go."

That wasn't the case at the start of the race.

Agnew started second in the race, but the Floyd, Va., driver was able to sweep around the outside of the pole sitter Lindley and led the first lap. By Lap 40, Agnew had put nearly a second on Lindley and the rest of the leaders. But that all changed as Agnew began to catch the tail end of the field.

On Lap 50, the top five cars were separated by less than a second.

Once free of lapped traffic, Agnew pulled out to a 1.364-second lead over Lindley by Lap 55. Agnew's quick pace began to take its toll on much of the field. Gary St. Amant, running 10th at the 75-lap mark, was the last car on the lead lap. St. Amant was in danger of losing his lap, but the Northern Division rookie point leader was the beneficiary of a caution on Lap 79 and stayed on the lead lap.

After the restart on Lap 85, Lindley began to pressure Agnew for the first time of the night, turning his fastest lap of the race on Lap 102 and vying for the lead at every opportunity. Pressure turned to push on Lap 109 as Lindley nudged Agnew in the middle of Turn 3.

With the leaders battling, Danny Sammons joined the fight up front, moving to within a car length of the lead duo.

After 30 laps of shadowing Agnew, Lindley finally made his way out front for the first time on Lap 116. Lindley would lead at the halfway mark and pick up $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Halfway Leader.

After a caution brought the leaders to pit road on Lap 126, Sammons beat all the leaders off pit road and took over the top spot on Lap 129. Joel Kauffman, driver of the No. 44 Chevy, restarted second behind Sammons. Benny Gordon restarted third. Lindley and Agnew would come to the green flag in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Sammons held the lead for eight laps before Kauffman slipped under to lead Lap 137. Gordon overtook both Sammons and Kauffman to move out front for the first time of the evening on Lap 138.

Gordon's lead would accordion over Lindley and Agnew as he weaved in and out of traffic over the next 87 laps.

But on Lap 225, Gordon caught a large pack of traffic, allowing Lindley to pull to the rear-deck lid of the leader. With the top three drivers separated by just .596 seconds, the race came down to who could navigate lapped traffic the best.

"I felt like I was catching Mardy [for second], but I don't know if I could have got around both of them," said Agnew. "At a track like this, you've got to set a pattern and stick to it. We tried to do that, and it worked out."

The same can't be said for Gordon and Lindley.

"There were two lapped cars in front of me, and Mardy and Jeff were fast so I had to go," said Gordon. "I tried to get to the outside of the lapped cars, and I got in the marbles. I got one tire in the rubber and my car took off."

Despite dropping to third after his slide in Turn 1, Gordon was able to track down Lindley, who won the Advance Auto Part Pole Award, and take his second second-place finish in a row in the Northern Division.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't get my second win in a row," said Gordon, who won the Southern Division event at Myrtle Beach Speedway last Saturday. "I might not have had the fastest car at the end, but I think I could have held them off."

Lindley thought otherwise.

"We had the best car by far," said Lindley, driver of the No. 16 Hooters Air Ford. "I can't blame the lapped cars because they were just doing what they had to do. We all had a ball out there. Benny raced us good, and I'd like to congratulate Jeff on his win. We'll get them next time."

Danny Sammons, driver of the No. 97 Ford, finished a solid fourth.

"We always fight tight-loose here," said Sammons. "We kept loosening the car up because this track gets tight. We just got it too loose on the pit stop. We've got a fourth and a second in the last two races we've finished. This team just keeps doing a great job."

Glenn Gault's team also did a great job, and the driver didn't do badly either.

Gault lost a lap early, made it up and charged to a fifth-place finish.

Brian Ross, who also lost a lap early in the event, was able to rally to finish sixth.

Gary St. Amant finished seventh and picked up his sixth Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award.

Joel Kauffman, Johnny Rumley and Jason McLellan rounded out the top 10.

BFGoodrich Tires 250 Notebook

Parity

After taking the win a Kil-Kare Speedway, Jeff Agnew became the 11th different winner in 15 races this season in the Hooters ProCup Series, putting the Series on a pace to break the record for different winners in a single season. Last year, 15 drivers made a trip to victory lane in 30 events.

Monster Lap

Mardy Lindley picked up his second Advance Auto Parts Pole Award of the season, and he did it in grand fashion. Lindley ripped off a lap of 13.718 seconds to take the pole position in the BFGoodrich Tires 250. His lap was .212 seconds quicker than second-place qualifier Jeff Agnew and good enough for a new track record, besting Brian Ross' lap of 13.846 seconds set in 2003. It was the sixth time a track record has fallen since the Hooters ProCup Series switched to the BFGoodrich Tires Traction T/A radial tire.

Stepping Up

With the tight confines of Kil-Kare Speedway, many teams elected to make two stops under caution and change two tires each time in an effort not to lose a lap. Danny Sammons' crew changed all four tires on their stop and put Sammons in the lead.

Gault's Good Day

Glenn Gault, driver of the No. 32 American Title & Trust Chevy, picked up his first top-five finish of the season in the BFGoodrich Tires 250 on Friday night. Gault has picked up five top-10 finishes this season and is ninth in points.

Suspense at Adirondack

The Northern Division season finale at Adirondack Int'l Speedway (NY) will undoubtedly have many teams bighting their nails. With five races left in the Northern Division season, the top five are separated by just 80 points.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Brian Ross , Joel Kauffman , Johnny R , Jeff Agnew