Title Time Pro Cup Championship Battle Roars into Rockingham Myrtle Beach, S.C.--Drivers say it all the time: "I don't points race; I try to win the race and let the points fall where they fall." You hear it so often, it almost becomes ...
Pro Cup Championship Battle Roars into Rockingham
Myrtle Beach, S.C.--Drivers say it all the time: "I don't points race; I try to win the race and let the points fall where they fall."
You hear it so often, it almost becomes hyperbole. But the statement will be anything but an exaggeration for Mark McFarland and Benny Gordon in season-ending Black's Tire American 200 at Rockingham Speedway.
With one race remaining to crown the Hooters Pro Cup Series Champion, Gordon is clinging to a 27-point lead over McFarland. If McFarland wins the race and leads the most laps, Gordon will have to finish second in order to claim his second Hooters Pro Cup title.
"The points aren't even in my mind; they can't be," said Gordon, driver of the No. 66n Samuel Metals Ford. "I've got to go and win the race and haul butt the whole day. Mark's going to be doing the same thing.
"After the test at Rockingham, I think I got a good enough car to do it with. I'm just going there to run like hell and let the championship play out the way it does."
And he hopes it ends different than his 2004 title bid.
Gordon carried the point lead into the final race of the season, but a DNF cost Gordon his first Hooters Pro Cup title by 18 points.
"That was tough," said Gordon. "We had a part break and it cost us the title. We have to make sure something doesn't happen like that again."
But so far, Gordon's season has been near-perfect. The DuBois, Pa., driver has completed every lap of every race this season. He's won a series-high six times and led a series-high 881 laps. But even though he's averaged a third-place finish over the course of the season, McFarland has kept pace.
McFarland has three wins and 10 top-five finishes. His only blemish is a smattering of DNFs, but he can still win the title at Rockingham with a win.
"It's going to be exciting for sure," said McFarland. "However it turns out, it's been a great year. Sears Auto Center has been a great sponsor, and I hope I can do more with them. We've got to go in there and relax. It's ours to win and his to lose. We're going to do our best."
The tension will be high among the point leaders when the green flag flies for the Black's Tire America 200, and third-place Jay Fogleman hopes that plays in his favor. Fogleman, 109 points behind, has a slim chance of winning the title, but only if the McFarland and Gordon have problems. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have hope.
"I remember watching a series where the third-place guy won the title the other day," joked Fogleman. "I know it's going to take something strange to happen, but it's racing, and strange stuff happens all the time."
HOOTERS PRO CUP QUICK FACTS
WHAT: Mark Brooks Memorial Black's Tire American 200 Presented by Food King
WHERE: Rockingham Speedway
1-mile, high-banked oval
WHEN: Sat., Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.
DISTANCE: 200 laps/200 miles
POSTED AWARDS: $150,000
STARTING FIELD: 36-car starting field
TELEVISION: VERSUS NETWORK--Monday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. (ET)
Regional Networks: Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Altitude Sports, Comcast SportsNet New England, SportsTime Ohio, Comcast SportsNet West, Cox Sports, Lonestar Sports, Mediacom, America One, DirectTV & Dish Network (Check Local Listings for Regional Airings)
Friday, Oct. 31:
10:00 a.m. Grandstand Gates Open
11:00 a.m. USAR Practice Opens
1:00 p.m. USAR Practice Ends
3:45 p.m. USAR Scuff Session
4:00 p.m. Awesome Awnings Qualifying
5:00 p.m. Pit Crew Challenge
Saturday, Nov. 1:
10:00 a.m. Grandstand Gates Open
10:30 a.m. Drivers Meeting
10:45 a.m. Chapel Service
11:30 a.m. Wraps Ink Autograph Session
12:30 p.m. Black's Tire American 200 Pre-Race Ceremonies
1:00 p.m. Mark Brooks Memorial Black's Tire American 200
HPCS Track Qualifying Record at Rockingham Speedway