USAR: Lakeland CS: Gary St. Amant preview

Dream still (barely) alive for JEGS racer St. Amant LAKELAND, Fla. (Oct. 31) -- Short-track racer Gary St. Amant admits he was dreaming big when he finished the regular season as the Northern Division champion on the Hooter's Pro Cup Tour. But...

Dream still (barely) alive for JEGS racer St. Amant

LAKELAND, Fla. (Oct. 31) -- Short-track racer Gary St. Amant admits he was dreaming big when he finished the regular season as the Northern Division champion on the Hooter's Pro Cup Tour. But the five-race championship series hasn't been as kind to the driver of the No. 7 JEGS.com/Speedco Chevrolet Monte Carlo and he enters Saturday's season-ending Aaron's 250 at USA International Speedway needing a miracle to win his first USAR title to go with his two ASA world championships.

St. Amant is tied for third in the current standings and needs leader Bobby Gill to have his worse outing of the year to even have a chance at passing his respected opponent. Even then, St. Amant needs to collect as many bonus points as possible, win the race, and have other contenders fall off the pace to make up the difference. But that hasn't stopped St. Amant from remaining hopeful.

"It ain't over until they tell me it's over so we're going to keep on racing hard," St. Amant said. "We've had a fantastic year with more top-five finishes than we've ever had before so it's not crazy to think we can do well again in Lakeland. We can't control what Bobby does so I'm not going to worry about him.

"This is a fast racetrack and we like to go fast so it should be fun. Considering what's on the line, we'll probably race a little faster and looser than we have so far but it's hard to get away too far from the formula that got us here to begin with."

In his eight regular season races, St. Amant recorded a win, four third-place finishes, one fifth-place result, and a 10th- and 12th-place ending in eight starts. He started the championship series strong with a solid second-place result, but two forgettable races that ended with St. Amant is 24th and 31st place, virtually killed any real chance he had at the title. His recent 10th-place finish kept him alive in the chase but in need of a historic ending to the season.

"We picked a bad time to have our two worst races of the year," St. Amant admitted. "Had those races happened earlier in the year, we could have overcome them easier. But when the championship series starts your margin for error gets very small.

"We're still hoping for a big weekend. We want to finish strong for all the people that support us. We want to enjoy our best season ever in USAR."

The Aaron's 250 begins at 7:30 p.m. Racers will have a chance to practice for two hours from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Qualifying is slated for 4 p.m. and will be followed by the annual Pit Crew Challenge at 5:15 p.m.

-credit: team jegs

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Series STOCKCAR