USAR: The lucky seven

The Lucky Seven Ninety-one points separates top seven Pro Cup drivers heading into season-finale Longs, SC - Twenty-nine race are in the books and over 7,000 laps have been logged, but the crowning of the 2005 Hooters Pro Cup Series champion...

The Lucky Seven

Ninety-one points separates top seven Pro Cup drivers heading into season-finale

Longs, SC - Twenty-nine race are in the books and over 7,000 laps have been logged, but the crowning of the 2005 Hooters Pro Cup Series champion will have to wait until the checkered flag falls in the season-finale Hooters 300 at USA Int'l Speedway on Nov. 26.

While most eyes will be on Benny Gordon, Shane Huffman and Jeff Agnew, who are separated by 34 points, Gary St. Amant, Matt Carter, Woody Howard and Jody Lavender cannot be overlooked. Lavender's chance is the slimmest, but he's still got one.

Below is a list of possible scenarios for the top 7 in Championship Series 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. Benny Gordon (No. 66n Predator Performance Ford)
Championship Series Points: 704
Points ahead of 2nd: 33
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 6th (11/29/03)

Best-Case Scenario
If Gordon finishes second, he almost guarantees himself his first Pro Cup title. If Gordon finishes second, Shane Huffman would have to win the race, lead at halfway, lead the most laps and pick up the Hard Charger Award to beat Gordon 846 to 844.

Worst-Case Scenario
If Gordon falls from the race early, he would likely fall to third in the standings, and he could fall as far as seventh.

2. Shane Huffman (No. 81s Knight's Companies Ford)
Championship Series Points: 671
Points behind 1st: 33
Points ahead of 3rd: 1
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 1st (6/5/05, 2/26/05 & 11/29/03)

Best-Case Scenario
Huffman knows he needs to win to put the pressure on Gordon. If he wins and leads a lap, Gordon will have finish fourth or better to win the title. If he wins, leads the most laps and at halfway, Huffman would force Gordon to finish second to take the title, assuming Gordon doesn't pick up any bonus points.

Worst-Case Scenario
A last-place finish, coupled with everyone else in the top 10 in points finishing in the top nine and ninth-place Johnny Rumley winning, would drop Huffman to ninth in points.

3. Jeff Agnew (No. 73n NGA Hooters Golf Tour Pontiac)
Championship Series Points: 670
Points behind 1st: 34
Points ahead of 4th: 23
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 2nd (2/24/01)

Best-Case Scenario
With nearly the same amount of points as Huffman, Agnew's situation is nearly identical to the Southern Division champion's. If Agnew wins, leads the most laps and at halfway, Gordon would have to finish second to stay in front of Agnew in points.

Worst-Case Scenario
An early-race DNF could drop Agnew to ninth in the final standings.

4. Gary St. Amant (No. 11n JEGS.com Chevrolet)
Championship Series Points: 633
Points behind 1st: 71
Points ahead of 6th: 17
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 4th (2/26/05)

Best-Case Scenario
St. Amant will need some help from Gordon, Huffman and Agnew to win the title. If he wins, leads the most laps and at halfway, St. Amant will finish the season with 807 points, which means Gordon would have to finish 11th and Huffman and Agnew would have to finish outside the top two without aquiring any bonus points for the title to go to St. Amant.

Worst-Case Scenario
St. Amant is almost guaranteed to finish inside the top 10 in points. The only way he could drop out is if Mark McFarland, who sits 11th in points, wins, leads the most laps and at halfway and St. Amant finishes last.

5. Matt Carter (No. 03s LCT/Atlantic Tools Ford)
Championship Series Points: 633
Points behind 1st: 71
Points ahead of 6th: 17
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 4th (2/26/05)

Best-Case Scenario
Carter has to pick up his first career win to have an outside shot at the title. He would still need some help from the top three in points, but a win would give him a shot. If he does win, Gordon would need to finish 16th or worse, Huffman would need to finish sixth or worse and Agnew would have to finish sixth or worse to enable Carter to win the title.

Worst-Case Scenario
Like St. Amant, Carter is a virtual lock to remain in the top 10 in final points. Only a disastrous DNF at the start of the event would put him in jeopardy of falling to 11th in points.

6. Woody Howard (No. 55n Dean Motorsports Chevrolet)
Championship Series Points: 616
Points behind 1st: 88
Points ahead of 7th: 3
Best Finish at USA Int'l: (First Start at Track)

Best-Case Scenario
Howard's chances at winning the title are minuscule, but at least he has one. Howard would need to win and have Gordon finish 29th or worse. Howard would also need for Huffman, Agnew, St. Amant and Carter to fall out early.

Worst-Case Scenario
Howard will just need to start his engine at USA Int'l Speedway to take the $40,000 prize for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. But if he parks his car early, which he won't, he could easily fall outside the top 10 in points and as far back as 14th. Howard will need to finish in the top 10 to lock up a top-10 spot in overall points.

7. Jody Lavender (No. 84s Heritage Bank Ford)
Championship Series Points: 613
Points behind 1st: 91
Points ahead of 8th: 17
Best Finish at USA Int'l: 4th (9/3/05)

Best-Case Scenario
Lavender would need a miracle to leave USA Int'l as the champion. But if you would have told him at the beginning of the season that he'd win a race during the season and have a shot at the overall title in the season finale, he would have gladly taken it. Lavender will have to win, lead the most laps and halfway and have Gordon finish 22nd or worse, Huffman finish ninth or worse and have St. Amant, Carter and Howard to finish no better than second to take the title.

Worst-Case Scenario
If Lavender suffers an early-race DNF, coupled with strong runs by everyone behind him, he could fall to 14th in points.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Jody Lavender , Mark McFarland , Shane Huffman , Johnny R , Jeff Agnew