USAR: Salem: Northern Division round five preview

Gordon Carries Momentum into Lucas Oil 200 Defending Northern Division champion closing in on St. Amant, point lead Myrtle Beach, S.C.--In racing, confidence is key. And Benny Gordon has always had more than enough. That is, until after last ...

Gordon Carries Momentum into Lucas Oil 200
Defending Northern Division champion closing in on St. Amant, point lead

Myrtle Beach, S.C.--In racing, confidence is key. And Benny Gordon has always had more than enough. That is, until after last year.

After three consecutive Northern Division titles and one overall Hooters Pro Cup title, Gordon found himself in the position no racer likes to be in: looking for a ride.

Fortunately, for Gordon, Predator Performance and Johnny Dangerfield merged to create North-South Motorsports, giving Gordon a home for the 2007 season. But the deal happened late, and Gordon was behind for the first time in his Pro Cup career.

"Anytime you have a bunch of changes in the off-season, it beats you down, whether you think it does or not," said Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Samuel Metals Ford. "We were looking for money to race, and we lost some good crew guys. Thankfully, Samuel Metals came on board and Johnny Dangerfield came into help me out. It just took a couple of races to get going."

After two races, Gordon was 24th in points, the lowest he had been since his rookie season. But that seems like an eternity ago now.

Gordon picked up his first win of the season at Madison (Wis.) Int'l Speedway and jumped from 24th to fourth in the standings after scoring a maximum 180 points. The DuBois, Pa., driver backed his win up with a top-five run at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park, pushing Gordon to second in points. He continued the momentum with top-15 run in his first Craftsman Truck start at Milwaukee and a top 5 at Myrtle Beach.

"We had that win, then had a good run in the truck and we ran fourth at Myrtle Beach, now the momentum is back on our side," said Gordon. "Our guys have been making good pit stops, and the whole program is turning around."

But Gordon will need the momentum--and more--to conquer Salem Speedway, the site of Saturday's running of the Lucas Oil 200 presented by Kmart. Salem Speedway is the only track that Gordon hasn't won at on the Northern Division schedule.

"I'm looking forward to going to Salem," said Gordon. "We won the pole last year, and we've had fast cars there. For whatever reason, we just haven't been able to win there."

After starting from the pole last year at Salem, Gordon developed a mechanical problem and finished 11th. Jeff Agnew, driver of the No. 73 Mark IV Suzuki/Team 7 Ford, worked his way around A.J. Frank on Lap 229 of the BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Holley Performance and held off a hard-charging Woody Howard to win at Salem Speedway on Saturday, July 29.

While Howard, who switched to the Southern Division, won't be in the mix this season, Frank and Agnew will be in attendance. Former ASA National Tour standout and current Southern Division competitor, Mike Garvey, will also be making the trip, simply because Salem Speedway is one of his favorite tracks. Throw in a 15 other could-be winners, and Gordon will have his work cut out for him.

But as he's shown in recent weeks, Gordon's bravado is still intact, and he's ready to take on all-comers.

The Lucas Oil 200 presented by Kmart is scheduled for a green flag at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. Front gates will open at 3 p.m. for the general public. BFGoodrich Tires Pole Qualifying is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Following qualifying, the ARA Limited Late Models will compete in a 45-lap feature. The Wraps INK Autograph Session will begin at 5:45 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. After the Lucas Oil 200, the ARA Pro Truck Series will compete in a 45-lap feature.

For more information, contact Salem Speedway at (812) 883-6504 or visit www.salemspeedway.com.

***

WHAT: Lucas Oil 200 presented by Kmart

WHERE:                  Salem Speedway - Salem, IN

.555 high bank oval

WHEN: Saturday June 30, 2007

DISTANCE: 200 Laps/ 111 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 (if necessary)

TELEVISION:             SPEED Channel   Wednesday July 11, 2007 (4 p.m. ET)

Friday July 13, 2007 (12 Noon ET)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Saturday June 30, 2007:
11:00 a.m. USAR HPCS Practice Begins
1:00 p.m. USAR HPCS Practice Ends
1:45-2:05 pm ARA Limited Late Model Practice
2:10-2:30 pm ARA Pro Truck Practice
2:45 pm ARA Limited Late Model Qualifying
To Follow ARA Pro Truck Qualifying
3:00 p.m. Front Gates Opens
4:00 p.m. Lucas Oil 200 Qualifying for the USAR HPCS
4:45 pm ARA Limited Late Model Race 45 Laps
5:45 p.m. Wraps Ink Autograph Session for the USAR HPCS
6:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies for the Lucas Oil 200
7:00 p.m. Lucas Oil 200 presented by Kmart
To Follow ARA Pro Truck Race 45 laps

-credit: usar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Garvey , A.J. Frank , Jeff Agnew