USAR: South Boston II: Race report

Benny Gordon Wins Sponge Absorbant 250 South Boston, VA - Benny Gordon completed the hat trick at South Boston Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Gordon took the lead away from Danny Sammons on Lap 203 and held off a hard-charging Jeff Agnew to...

Benny Gordon Wins Sponge Absorbant 250

South Boston, VA - Benny Gordon completed the hat trick at South Boston Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Gordon took the lead away from Danny Sammons on Lap 203 and held off a hard-charging Jeff Agnew to take his third win in a row and fourth in the last five races.

"If you get on to something in these cars, a lot of these tracks drive very similar," said Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford. "We've hit on something, and I've run the same setup in the car for about the last five races."

And it looked like Gordon had found something from the drop of the green flag.

Gordon, who picked up $1,000 for being the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award winner after the race was started by points, quickly cleared Johnny Rumley, driver of the No. 8 Lucas Oil Ford, on the first lap and led until coming to pit road on Lap 132. When Gordon returned to the track after his mandatory stop, the Northern Division point leader would restart 11th behind the drivers that stopped under an earlier caution.

"We're down to the point in the season where we're point racing," said Gordon. "It wasn't as much for the money as it was the five-bonus points for leading the most laps and at halfway."

Once Gordon had achieved those goals, the Dubois, Pa., driver was free to make a run back to the front. And he did so with an array of amazing passes.

On Lap 144, Gordon went three wide to move from 10th to eighth. Running lap times nearly two tenths quicker than Sammons and Rumley, who were running first and second, respectively, Gordon moved into the top five on Lap 164 after passing Mardy Lindley, driver of the No. 16 Hooters Air Ford.

On Lap 179, Gordon moved past Eric Corbett, driver of the No. 75 Larry and Sons Ford, to take over third and quickly began to chase down the leaders. Once Gordon made it to third, he wouldn't have to worry about making another pass.

On Lap 202, Rumley, feeling the pressure from Gordon, made contact with Danny Sammons, driver of the No. 97 Ford, and sent Sammons spinning in Turn 4. With nowhere to go, Rumley was collected in the carnage as well. Rumley was accessed a stop-and-go for rough driving, handing the lead back to Gordon.

After running strong all day, Sammons finished eighth.

"We've blown three motors in the last two races, and we almost didn't come [to South Boston]," said Sammons, who led 68 laps. "We came in early [on Lap 81], took four tires and it ended up putting us in the lead. It's just terrible to have something like that take us out."

Rumley rebounded from the contact to finish 10th.

Though Gordon and Sammons were the only drivers to lead laps, Jeff Agnew, driver of the No.73 Hooters NGA Golf Tour Chevrolet, consistently turned the fastest laps of the race.

After starting fifth, Agnew quickly moved into second and began pressuring Gordon for the entirety of the first 100 laps. Unfortunately, Agnew pressed a little too hard.

On Lap 130, Agnew spun at the exit of Turn 4 to bring out the caution.

"I just lost it," Agnew said of the spin. "The car was just getting looser and looser. Then, it just got out from under me."

After restarting 14th, Agnew moved patiently moved back into contention, moving back into the top five on Lap 207.

Agnew took second away from Eric Corbett on Lap 222, but the Floyd, Va., driver ran out of time in his quest for his second win of 2004.

"I though I might have something for Benny there at the end," said Agnew. "We ran him down, but we just ran out of laps."

Agnew's second-place finish was the first time he took the checkered flag on the track in the last three races.

Although Agnew's finish bolstered his battered season, it failed to compare to the heartfelt run by hometown favorite Stacy Puryear.

Making just his third start of 2004, Puryear posted his best finish by taking the checkered third.

"The crew had a great stop and picked us up some positions," said an emotional Puryear, driver of the No. 01 BLC Building Centers Chevrolet. "We didn't get to qualify so I had to start at the back. My dad asked if we should even start, but I told him that we came to race."

And race Puryear did.

After starting 28th, Puryear tucked in behind Jay Fogleman and charged toward the front at his former stomping ground. By Lap 88, Puryear had climbed into the eighth position.

Puryear made it to all the way to second on Lap 210, but he eventually gave way to Agnew on Lap 222. Puryear picked up $500 via the Hard Charger Award for advancing 25 positions during the race.

Jay Fogleman, driver of the No. 4 V2 Oil Ford, and Gary St. Amant, driver of the No. 11 Jegs.com Chevrolet, rounded out the top five.

With his fifth-place finish, St. Amant clinched the Northern Division Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. St. Amant picked up and extra $10,000 for the award.

Sponge Absorbant 250 Notebook

Cheery Chad

Chad Mullis, driver of the No. 9 Mullis Well Drilling Ford, has had little to smile about this season, but his seventh-place finish in the Sponge Absorbant 250 erased many of the bad memories from the season.

"Considering that our car was terrible, it was a good run for us," said Mullis. "We carried the wrong spring package up here, and we had to work all day to get it the car right. We still didn't get it right, but we got it decent enough to finish in the top 10 and we're happy with that."

Six Weeks in Row

Jay Fogleman completed his marathon run of six races in a row at South Boston. Fogleman, a Southern Division regular, finished fourth in the Sponge Absorbant 250 on Sunday afternoon.

"The car ran good and we tried some new stuff," said Fogleman, driver of the No. 4 V2 Oil Ford. "The car was just a little too tight. I had a good time here. We came through the field and didn't get tore up. Now we've got some stuff to go off for the rest of the year."

Fogleman, who drives the No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford in the Southern Division, notched three top-five finishes during his six-race stint.

Change of Fortune

Glenn Gault, driver of the No. 32 American Title & Trust Chevrolet, finished a season-worst 23rd at South Boston.

Gault lost an engine belt and retired on Lap 172.

Gault's bad day came just one race after he picked up a career best second-place finish at Mansfield.

No Luck for Landreth

Richard Landreth, driver of the No. 15 Romeo Guest Construction Ford, was headed for his best finish of the season at South Boston. Landreth climbed from 27th to fifth with 50 laps to go, but the Pine Hall, N.C., driver was trapped in the Sammons-Rumley accident, dropping him to 11th at the finish.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Richard Landreth , Johnny R , Jeff Agnew