USAR: Mansfield: Northern Division round four preview

Championship-Caliber Field Flocks to Mansfield Greased Lightning 250 carries big buzz Myrtle Beach, S.C.--For the past seven seasons, the Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series has given short-track fans a chance to see the "Best of the Best"...

Championship-Caliber Field Flocks to Mansfield
Greased Lightning 250 carries big buzz

Myrtle Beach, S.C.--For the past seven seasons, the Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series has given short-track fans a chance to see the "Best of the Best" battle it out in a five-race shootout for more than a $1,000,000 in purses and point fund. But several times each season, Pro Cup fans are treated to Championship preview races.

The Greased Lightning 250 at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway on Saturday, June 9 will be one of those races.

With Mansfield hosting a Championship Series event later this year, more than 45 cars are expected to show up. And while the event is a Sears Auto Center Northern Division event, fans should expect a gaggle of Southern Division competitors to make the trek to Ohio for valuable track time and, more importantly, bragging rights.

"You take pride when you can win any Hooters Pro Cup event," said Clay Rogers, driver of the No. 29n Bowen Family Homes Chevrolet. "But when you have the best of the best coming together, it makes it that much more special. I say the more the merrier."

But sometimes "more" means that there are more times for divisional rivalries to erupt. Such was the case in last year's regular-season race at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway.

Rogers, who was an Aaron's Southern Division competitor last season, and Benny Gordon, the defending Northern Champion, tangled while battling for the lead. The contact sent Rogers for a spin and Gordon, who was hit with a rough-driving penalty, to the tail end of the longer line for restart. Gordon and Rogers rebounded to finish first and second, respectively. Rogers got the last laugh, however, by winning the Championship Series event at MMS en route to the overall Hooters Pro Cup title.

So which division is better?

"I think the competition level might be a little bit stiffer in the South, as far as the amount of cars that can win a race, maybe," said Rogers, who has competed in both divisions. "But I don't think there are any better cars in the South."

Not to be lost in the Championship-caliber field is the fact that the Greased Lightning 250 is a Northern Division point race, meaning the Northern Division drivers will have to battle each other as well as their Southern Division counterparts.

"We've got to be focused on points," said Jody Lavender, driver of the No. 4n Greased Lightning Ford. "We've got to try and beat all the Northern guys and build points. There's going to be a lot going on, but we're looking forward to it."

Lavender is currently second in the Sears Auto Center Northern Division standings, 46 points behind Gary St. Amant.

The Greased Lightning 250 is scheduled for a green flag at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 9. Front gates will open for the general public at 3:30 p.m. BFGoodrich Tires Pole Qualifying will start at 4:30 p.m. The Wraps INK Autograph Session will take place on the frontstretch at 5:45 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m.

QUICK FACTS

WHERE:                  Mansfield Motorsports Park (MMP), Mansfield OH

.5-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval

WHEN: Saturday, June 9, 2007

DISTANCE: 250 Laps/ 100 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $122,670 (Includes $37,000 Point Fund)

STARTING FIELD: 36 car starting field - 38 cars possible - Fastest 32 cars through time trials -- two provisional position from 2007 Northern Division top- 30 Driver Points Standings and two provisional position from 2007 Northern Division top-30 Owner points Standing. Provisional for past Champion and past Rookie of the Year (only if necessary)

TELEVISION:             SPEED Channel   Wednesday June 20, 2007 (4 p.m. ET)

Friday June 22, 2007 (12 Noon ET)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Saturday June 9, 2007:
11:30 a.m. USAR HPCS Practice Begins
1:30 p.m. USAR HPCS Practice Ends
3:30 p.m. Front Gates Opens
4:30 p.m. Greased Lighting 250 Qualifying for the USAR HPCS
5:45 p.m. Wraps Ink on track Autograph Session for the USAR HPCS
6:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies for the Greased Lighting 250
7:000 p.m. Greased Lighting 250

-credit: usar

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Jody Lavender