CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26, 2001) Cam Strader, 2000 Rookie of the Year, takes his Wesson Cooking Oil Mercury Cougar to victory lane in the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contract "100" at Lowes Motor Speedway. The race, originally scheduled for Thursday,...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 26, 2001) Cam Strader, 2000 Rookie of the Year, takes his Wesson Cooking Oil Mercury Cougar to victory lane in the Easy Care Vehicle Service Contract "100" at Lowes Motor Speedway. The race, originally scheduled for Thursday, May 24, was postponed one day due to rain and finally saw the green flag at 11:40 on Friday. This was Strader's second win in the 2001 season.
Robert Huffman won the Bud Pole in his Toyota Celica at a speed of 153.296. This was 2.1 mph faster than the second place qualifier. 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 frontstretch wall and Huffman stormed by Bagwell and quickly pulled away from the field.
The first of three cautions came out when on lap 29 four cars got together on the backstretch. Kelly Sutton, Danny Mathis, Angie Wilson and Derrick Kelley were involved. Derrick 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 frontstretch. 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.
For the entire race all Strader could do was hang on to Huffman's tail wind as he sped toward what he hoped would be his third consecutive victory at Lowes Motor Speedway. 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 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."
The Gatorade Front Runner of the race was Robert Huffman who led 60 of the 69 laps. The Rookie of the Race was Wayne Edwards.
Top 20 in Points: 1. Cam Strader 672; 2. Roger Sawyer 593; 3. Justin Hobgood 557; 4. Shane Hmiel 552; 5. Joey Miller 510; 6. Larry Caudill 507; 7. Scott Weaver 505; 8. Wayne Edwards 481; 9. Jimmy Britts 475; 10. Jake Hobgood 459; 11. Angie Wilson 456; 12. Tim Nichols 456; 13. B.J. Mackey 447; 14. Robert Huffman 438; 15. Eric Van Cleef 437; 16. Bobby Dayton 436; 17. Danny Bagwell 436; 18. Ned Combs 424; 19. Scott Redmon 418; 20. Greg Goodell 415.
Rookie of the Year Points: 1. Shane Hmiel 37; 2. Wayne Edwards 35; 3. Tim Nichols 30; 4. Scott Redmon 30; 5. Jeff Underwood 5. (Derrick Kelley has withdrawn from the Rookie of the Year due to only running a limited schedule.)
Gatorade Front Runner Award Points (Laps Led): 1. Robert Huffman 6 (130); 2. Cam Strader 5; 3. Justin Hobgood 3; 4. Shane Hmiel 2; 5. Johnny Chapman, Jake Hobgood, Derrick Kelley, Greg Goodell, Bobby Dayton, Kelley Sutton, Keith Roggen, B.J. Mackey, and Roger Sawyer all with 1 point.