USAR: Southern Division top-15 breakdown

Southern Division Drivers fight to stay in Top 15 Longs, SC-Separated by just 55 points, Shane Huffman, Clay Rogers and Mark McFarland will be locked in a battle for the Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division title, $25,000 and 25 bonus points for...

Southern Division Drivers fight to stay in Top 15

Longs, SC-Separated by just 55 points, Shane Huffman, Clay Rogers and Mark McFarland will be locked in a battle for the Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division title, $25,000 and 25 bonus points for the Championship Series in Saturday's Lucas Oil 250 at USA Int'l Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.

But behind the top trio, only 199 points separates Bobby Gill, who is fourth in points, from Jason Sarvis, who is in 15th position in the point standings.

Not to mention, Chase Pistone, Michael Faulk and Wayne Willard are divided by just 14 points and will be waging their own war for the Southern Division Miller Lite Rookie of the Year and the $10,000 prize that goes to the top rookie.

Needless to say, there is a lot at stake in the Southern Division finale.

Below is a list of possible scenarios for the top 15 in Southern Division points. Calculations are completely unofficial and do not include bonus points for appearance, leading the most laps, the halfway lap or the hard charger. These are merely hypothetical scenarios that could take place based on drivers receiving 160 points for leading a lap and winning versus receiving 64 points for finishing last in a 36-car field.

1. Shane Huffman (No. 81 Knight's Companies Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1647
Points ahead of 2nd: 46
Record at USA Int'l this season: 1st (Feb. 26 & June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Huffman just needs to finish in the top five in the Lucas Oil 250 at USA Int'l Speedway to claim his second Southern Division title in three seasons.

Worst-Case Scenario
If Huffman suffers a DNF at USA Int'l and Rogers and McFarland have strong runs, he could fall to third in the Southern Division standings at night's end.

2. Clay Rogers (No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki/Baird Transport Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1601
Points ahead of 3rd: 9
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 3rd (Feb. 26) & 12th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Clay Rogers hasn't been an afterthought this season, but his presence has been overshadowed by Huffman's seven wins. That could all change at Lakeland, however. If Huffman finishes sixth, Rogers can steal the title if he leads at halfway, the most laps and at the finish.

Worst-Case Scenario
Rogers can't drop farther than third in the standings, but the slightest slip will allow McFarland to slide by into second.

3. Mark McFarland (No. 32 WINFUEL Chevy)
Southern Division Points: 1592
Points ahead of 4th: 201
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 27th (Feb. 26) & 3rd (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
McFarland has a chance to walk out of the Lucas Oil 250 as the Southern Division champ. It's slight, but it's still possible. The JR Motorsports driver would need to lead at halfway, lead the most laps, win the race and have Huffman finish eighth or worse.

Worst-Case Scenario
There's not really a downside to McFarland's point predicament. He can't finish worse than third, so he's got nothing to lose at Lakeland.

4. Bobby Gill (No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1391
Points ahead of 5th: 1
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 22nd (Feb. 26) & 4th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Gill can't gain any spots in points at USA Int'l, but a win would give his team some much-needed momentum heading into the Championship Series.

Worst-Case Scenario
If Gill has a bad run at USA Int'l, the 3-time champ could drop to eighth in the final standings if the guys behind him have stellar runs.

5. Jody Lavender (No. 84 Heritage Bank Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1390
Points ahead of 6th: 18
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 25th (Feb. 26) & 9th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
If neither Gill nor Lavender acquires bonus points, Lavender can bypass Gill for fourth in points by merely beating him across the finish line.

Worst-Case Scenario
Like Gill, Lavender can finish no worse than eighth in points. But a slip of that magnitude will kill his momentum heading into the Championship Series and cost him over $3,000 via the Car Owner Bonus Plan in 2006.

6. Jay Fogleman (No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1372
Points ahead of 7th: 15
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 11th (Feb. 26) & 5th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Fogleman is just 19 points behind Gill for fourth position in the Southern Division. If Fogleman can knock out a top five, coupled with Gill and Lavender finishing outside the top 10 and not gaining bonus points, he can leapfrog both drivers.

Worst-Case Scenario
With a DNF, Fogleman could fall to ninth in points at the conclusion of the Lucas Oil 250 at USA Int'l Speedway.

7. Toby Porter (No. 13 Titan Industrial Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1357
Points ahead of 8th: 12
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 8th (Feb. 26) & 2nd (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Porter could jump to fourth in the points if he wins and Gill, Lavender and Fogleman don't pick up any bonus points and finish outside the top five.

Worst-Case Scenario
Porter can't really slide too far in points. He's only got a 12-point lead over teammate Matt Carter in points, but he could almost finish last and not drop outside the top eight.

8. Matt Carter (No. 03 LCT/Atlantic Tools Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1345
Points ahead of 9th: 54
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 16th (Feb. 26) & 21st (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
It's a long-shot, but Carter could leave USA Int'l sitting fourth in points. If he wins and Gill, Lavender, Fogleman and Porter all finished lower than eighth, Carter heads into the Championship Series with the fourth seed.

Worst-Case Scenario
Carter can only lose one spot in points with a bad run. Billy Bigley Jr. is 54 points behind Carter and would need to win and have Carter finish worse than ninth to bump Carter from his point position.

9. Billy Bigley Jr. (No. 25 Peerless Woodworking Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1291
Points ahead of 10th: 47
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 10th (Feb. 26) & 17th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
If the planets align correctly, Bigley could actually move into sixth in points if Fogleman, Porter and Carter finish 21st or worse. Ever the nice guy, Bigley Jr. wouldn't wish bad luck on any of them, but he'd certainly accept the charity.

Worst-Case Scenario
On paper, Bigley could drop as low as 15th in the final standings if he finishes last at USA Int'l and his pursuers finish strong. Realistically, Bigley's main concern will be with Shane Wallace, who trails Bigley by just 47 markers.

10. Shane Wallace (No. 38 Shane Wallace Motorsports Ford)
Southern Division Points: 1244
Points ahead of 11th: 26
Record at USA Int'l in 2005: 6th (Feb. 26) & 8th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
With the way he's been running of late, Wallace stands a great chance to catch Bigley for ninth in points. Wallace needs to pick up his first win and have Bigley finish 10th or worse.

Worst-Case Scenario
While Wallace can only gain one spot in the points, he could fall outside the top 15 with a DNF. He's only 45 points ahead of Jason Sarvis, who is 15th in the standings heading into USA Int'l.

11. Chase Pistone (No. 40 Metrolina Expo Center Ford)
Southern Division Points:1218
Points ahead of 12th: 9
Record at USA Int'l:14th (Feb. 26) & 7th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Pistone could jump to ninth in the final standings if Bigley Jr. and Shane Wallace stumble at USA Int'l. He'll need to win and have Bigley Jr. finish 17th or worse and Wallace to finish fourth or worse to do so.

Worst-Case Scenario
Like Wallace, Pistone cannot afford to slip at USA Int'l. He's only nine points ahead of fellow rookie Michael Faulk in points, and he's just 37 points ahead of Daniel Johnson, who is 16th in points. Just the slightest bobble could drop Pistone outside the top 15 in points and cost him the Southern Division Rookie of the Year title.

12. Michael Faulk (No. 53 LiftOff Ford)
Southern Division Points:1209
Points ahead of 13th: 5
Record at USA Int'l in 2005:36th (Feb. 26) & 22nd (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Mathematically, Faulk could jump to ninth in points at the end of Lucas Oil 250 at USA Int'l, but the only thing he's focused on is catching Pistone for the Miller Lite Southern Division Rookie of the Year and the $10,000 bonus that goes with it. He'll need to improve on his previous performances at Lakeland to do so, however.

Worst-Case Scenario
Faulk can drop outside the top 15 in points in a heartbeat with a bad run, costing him the $10,000 prize for the ROTY and $2,400 via the Car Owner Bonus Plan in 2006.

13. Michael Ritch (No. 28 Jackaroo Ford)
Southern Division Points:1204
Points ahead of 15th: 5
Record at USA Int'l in 2005:29th (Feb. 26) & 11th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Ritch has been on tear of late, leading laps and knocking on the door of his first win in six seasons. If the long-awaited trip to victory lane comes at USA Int'l, Ritch could vault into ninth in points if Bigley, Wallace, Pistone and Faulk finish 23rd or worse.

Worst-Case Scenario
Just like everyone from 10th to 15th in points, Ritch can easily fall outside the top 15 in points with a bad run. He's only 23 points ahead of the Daniel Johnson, who is 16th in points.

13. Wayne Willard (No. 01 Bowen Family Homes Chevy)
Southern Division Points:1204
Points ahead of 15th:5
Record at USA Int'l in 2005:33rd (Feb. 26) & 6th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Willard's eyes will focus solely on winning the Southern Division Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title. He's only 14 points behind rookie point leader Chase Pistone. If he can match his sixth-place finish at USA Int'l in June, Willard would need Pistone to finish 10th or worse and Faulk to finish seventh or worse to take the $10,000 for the ROTY regular-season title.

Worst-Case Scenario
Willard has no room for error at USA Int'l. He, too, is only 23 points ahead of Johnson. Finishing in the top 15 in points is important for a couple of reasons. The Car Owner Bonus Plan pays out nearly $120,000 to the top 15 teams in points. Also, a top-15 finish in points allows drivers the ability to use two provisionals during the Championship Series.

15. Jason Sarvis (No. 16 Naturally Fresh Ford)
Southern Division Points:1199
Points ahead of 16th: 18
Record at USA Int'l in 2005:9th (Feb. 26) & 13th (June 5)

Best-Case Scenario
Sarvis could jump to 10th in the final standings if the guys in front of him suffer misfortune at USA Int'l. Sarvis' best shot is to jump into 11th in the final standings. The 2002 Hooters Pro Cup champion only trails Pistone by 19 points heading into the final race.

Worst-Case Scenario
A bad race would likely drop Sarvis outside the top 15 in points.

-usar-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Billy Bigley , Jody Lavender , Mark McFarland , Michael Faulk , Shane Huffman
Teams JR Motorsports