CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26, 2001) Cam Strader, the 2000 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year, drove his Wesson Cooking Oil-Peter Pan Peanut Butter sponsored Mercury Cougar to victory lane in the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contract ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26, 2001) Cam Strader, the 2000 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year, drove his Wesson Cooking Oil-Peter Pan Peanut Butter sponsored Mercury Cougar to victory lane in the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contract "100." The event was held at the Lowes Motor Speedway and was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 24, but was postponed one day due to rain. The race finally saw the green flag at 11:40 on Friday. This was Strader's second win in the 2001 season, and boosted his lead in the Series points standings.
Robert Huffman won the Bud Pole Award at a speed of 153.296. Huffman was not only the defending champion of the event, but had won the last two years in a row. On the initial start Danny Bagwell, starting on the outside, was able to stay side by side with Huffman onto the backstretch. Coming to the start finish line he edged ahead to lead the first lap. On lap three Bagwell grazed the front stretch wall and Huffman stormed by Bagwell and quickly pulled away from the field.
By lap 20, Strader had worked his way to the second position from his ninth place starting spot. The race pace began to settle in as Huffman tried to stretch his lead over the field.
The first of three cautions came out when four cars got together on lap 29 on the backstretch. Kelly Sutton, Danny Mathis, Angie Wilson and Derrick Kelley were involved. Kelley ended up on his roof and slid all the way to turn three. Only Sutton was able to continue.
The second caution came out when Rookie of the Year Contender Tim Nichols tagged the wall on the front stretch. His right rear wheel came off and chased his spinning car through the grass. His car finally came to rest and the wheel slammed into his car just behind the left front tire.
On lap 63 Huffman's steering linkage let go, sending him careening into the wall in the middle of turns three and four.
This set the stage for a green/white/checkered finish. Strader quickly jumped out to a significant lead. Jake Hobgood was challenged and passed by Johnny Chapman. Brandon Ward moved up to challenge Hobgood on the low side. They stayed side by side through the final two laps. As they entered turn four Ward's car bobbled and touched Hobgood just enough to send him spinning. This caused several cars to spin. Roger Sawyer appeared to cut down a tire sending his car into the outside wall, as Strader took the checkered flag. Johnny Chapman came in second. Jimmy Britts passed Brandon Ward for third, and Joey Miller dodged the wreck to round out the top five.
"I'll tell you, we had an awesome car all day long. I don't think we &had anything for Huffman, but we just had some luck come our way. Yogi &Berra once said, 'It ain't over till it's over,' and today just turned out &to be our day," stated Strader. "Today was our first anniversary &with Wesson so that makes it even more special. I couldn't ask for a better &start to the season. I'm so excited for my team and all the guys that have &worked so hard to help us get here."
When asked about the final restart, Strader said. "I knew we needed a good restart after that last caution, and luckily the lord was with me and he sent me sailing down the straight-away."
"This is a great day today for the people at Wesson and Peter Pan &Peanut Butter. Actually, this is our first anniversary with Wesson as our &sponsor and that makes this victory even more special. I think it's the &best anniversary gift we could have given them," he concluded.