USAR: Motor Mile: Northern Division round six preview

Homestretch starts in Kroger 250 Catch me if you can Myrtle Beach, S.C.--When Gary St. Amant and car owner Dwayne Tatman sat down about two years ago, they hashed out a plan to build a championship-caliber team. Now, with Gary St. Amant holding...

Homestretch starts in Kroger 250
Catch me if you can

Myrtle Beach, S.C.--When Gary St. Amant and car owner Dwayne Tatman sat down about two years ago, they hashed out a plan to build a championship-caliber team. Now, with Gary St. Amant holding a comfortable 105-point lead over Benny Gordon heading into the Kroger 250 presented by Star Country 94.9 at Motor Mile Speedway, their plan seems to be working.

"Dwayne wanted to do this gradually, but he's jumped in with both feet," said St. Amant, driver of the No. 7 JEGS.com/Speedco Chevrolet. "Luckily JEGS has been there for us and Speedco came on board this year. That made it a lot easier on both of us.

"It's a sweet feeling knowing that we're finally caught up, and we've got two race cars that are competitive week in and week out. To have a win and be leading the points, it's awful, awful sweet."

That feeling of elation could grow if St. Amant can hang on and win the Sears Auto Center Northern Division title. Winning the regular-season title will net St. Amant a $25,000 bonus heading into the Championship Series and, more importantly, give him a 25-point bonus for being the No. 1 seed.

In the history of the Championship Series, only Jason Sarvis in 2002 won the overall Hooters Pro Cup title without being a No. 1 seed.

St. Amant knows he can't coast over the final three races, but being chased is easier than doing the chasing.

"I don't have to take chances in the position I'm in," said St. Amant. "I can run my own race."

Those in pursuit, however, will have to win races or hope St. Amant stumbles. But don't bank of St. Amant imploding. Through five races, St. Amant is averaging a series-high 4.8 finish. A few more top-5s will likely lock up the title, unless somebody wins the final three events.

Of his closet competitors, Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Samuel Metals Ford, seems to be the most likely candidate to turn the hat trick in the final three races. Last season, Gordon won the Kroger 250 at Motor Mile Speedway en route to his third Northern Division title. Gordon also has wins at South Boston and Lake Erie, which conclude the schedule.

But Gordon can't afford to stumble, either. Jody Lavender, driver of the No. 4 Greased Lightning Ford, is only nine points behind Gordon in the standings, and Matt Carter, driver of the No. 26 Travis Carter Motorsports Ford, is only 17 points behind Gordon.

The Kroger 250 presented by Star Country 94.9 is slated for a green flag at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. The front gates will open at 2 p.m. BFGoodrich Tires Pole Qualifying will start at 4 p.m. and be followed by the Wraps INK Autograph Session at 5:45 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies will start at 6:30 p.m.

Following the Kroger 250, Motor Mile Speedway will have a 150-lap feature for its Late Model Division.

For ticket information, contact MMS at (540) 639-1700 or visit www.motormilespeedway.com.

***

WHAT: Kroger 250 presented by Star Country 94.9

WHERE:                  Motor Mile Speedway

.416 mile

WHEN: Saturday July 14, 2007

DISTANCE: 250 Laps/ 104 Miles

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

STARTING FIELD: 32 car starting field - 34 cars possible - Fastest 28 cars through time trials -- two provisional positions from 2007 Northern Division top- 30 Driver Points Standings and two provisional positions from 2007 Northern Division top-30 Owner Points Standing. One Provisional for past Champion and past "Rookie of the Year" (if necessary)

TELEVISION:             SPEED Channel   Wednesday July 25, 2007 (4 p.m. ET)

Friday July 27, 2007 (12 Noon ET)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Saturday July14, 2007:
11:00 a.m. USAR HPCS Practice Begins
1:00 p.m. USAR HPCS Practice Ends
1:45-2:30 pm Late Model Practice
2:00 p.m. Front Gates Opens
3:00 pm Late Model Qualifying
4:00 p.m. Kroger 250 Qualifying for the USAR HPCS
4:45 pm Late Model Last Chance Race 25 Laps or 30 minutes
5:45 p.m. Wraps Ink Autograph Session for the USAR HPCS
6:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies for the Kroger 250
7:00 p.m. Kroger 250
    To Follow Late Model 150 Laps

-credit: usar

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Jody Lavender