USAR: Tri County race report

HUDSON, NC -- What a difference a couple of months can make for a stock car driver. After beginning the season without a ride, Hal Goodson has made the most of his opportunity to drive in the United Speed Alliance Racing Hooters ProCup Series.

HUDSON, NC -- What a difference a couple of months can make for a stock car driver.

After beginning the season without a ride, Hal Goodson has made the most of his opportunity to drive in the United Speed Alliance Racing Hooters ProCup Series. Goodson held off a hard-charging Bobby Gill to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by Johnsonville Bratwurst Friday night at Tri-County Motor Speedway.

Goodson collected his second win in the series in just his eighth start of the season. The win continues a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes.

"What a great win," said an ecstatic Goodson in victory lane. "We had a great car and our Carlin Financial team did a great job in the pits tonight. I still can't believe the season we are having after getting a late start with me in the car."

Goodson was able to take advantage of a bit of bad luck when Stacy Puryear lost a drive train on lap 232 while leading on a restart. "I hate the problem Stacy had with his car, but it was everything we could do to hold off Bobby (Gill)," said Goodson. "The last six-lap sprint to the finish was exciting for the fans but it was hard on us." Jeff Agnew followed his first career win last race with a solid third place finish while Sean Studer and Andy Thurman completed the top five. Jon Kerley, driver of the Catawba County Community College Bobby Isaac Motorsports Program car, was involved in a last lap incident in which his car was hit twice and Kerley was examined at the track by Track Rescue Safety Team Director Craig Clark. Kerley was okay after an examination by Clark after the frightening incident. Kerley qualified on the outside pole for the race and was in position to collect his first career top-10 finish in the Hooters Pro Cup Series before the accident.

Though 1999 Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Shane Huffman qualified for the event, he finished the night early due to mechanical problems with his Ford. 1998 Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Dexter Canipe also qualified for the race and also suffered mechanical problems to his car, owned by Lenoir native Ronnie Davidson. The race was slowed 14 times for caution with the most severe accident on the last lap when Kerley was hit broadside.

Ben Warner, crew chief for the CVCC team was voted W.J. Plemons Investments Crew Chief of the Race by members of the media in attendance, while Puryear won the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award for leading lap 125 of the 250 lap event.

Mario Gosselin won the Discount Auto Parts Pole Award and led the first 117 laps of the race before he was involved in a spin while leading on lap 117. Gosselin was able to continue and recorded a 10th-place finish. Thurman won the State Fair Brand Hard Charger Award when he advanced from his 32nd-place starting position to fifth for his first top-five finish since his season-opening win at USA International Speedway in February.

With his win Goodson was named Miller Lite Rookie of the Race while Brian Vickers moved into the overall lead for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title.

Gill was able to take his back-up car to his fourth second-place finish of the season, giving him a 239-point lead over Steven Christian with four races remaining. Gill can become the first back-to-back USAR Hooters ProCup Series champion as long as he finishes fifth or higher in the remaining five races on the 2000 schedule.

The race was the first of two USAR Hooters ProCup Series races to be held in the Catawba Valley over the next eight days. The Hooters ProCup Series returns to Hickory Motor Speedway next Saturday night with the running of the Jackaroo Sauces 250 presented by Galaxy Foods.

NEWS & NOTES from Tri-County Speedway

With his second-place finish, Bobby Gill became the first driver in the history of the USAR Hooters ProCup Series to surpass the $100,000 mark in regular season earnings on the four year-old touring series. Gill has won $100,200 with five races remaining on the schedule. He could possibly clear the $400,000 plateau if he wins his second consecutive points title and its $250,000 payday.

A total of nine drivers failed to qualify for Friday night's race. Jimbo Mann and Marty Ward suffered mechanical problems during practice, while Karen Schulz, Joe Harrison, Jr., Don Satterfield, Neil Browder, Jimmy McClain, Chris Diamond and Mickey Hudspeth did not make the race.

Clay Rogers entered the night leading the battle for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title but was caught in an early accident which gave him a 27th-place finish after his Fire Protection Services crew worked to get him back into the race. Brian Vickers regained the lead with a 29-point advantage over Jon Wood, while Rogers sits in third-place 50 points behind.

USAR Hooters ProCup Series drivers will be appearing this week in the Catawba Valley area with a show car appearance scheduled for Wednesday at Valley Chevrolet in Granite Falls, NC and also appearing at Galaxy Foods in the Viewmont section of Hickory on Friday afternoon. * Rogers will attempt double duty this weekend as the USAR Hooters ProCup Series driver will race at Talledega in an ARCA race and then fly to Hickory for the running of the Jackaroo Sauces 250 presented by Galaxy Foods on Saturday night.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Jon Wood , Brian Vickers , Mario Gosselin , Shane Huffman , Jeff Agnew
Teams Carlin