Huffman Adds Another Daytona Win To His Resume' DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 8, 2001) Robert Huffman began the season with a new challenge. His White House Apple Juice Team joined Toyota Research and Development's effort to be successful in NASCAR.
Huffman Adds Another Daytona Win To His Resume'
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 8, 2001) Robert Huffman began the season with a new challenge. His White House Apple Juice Team joined Toyota Research and Development's effort to be successful in NASCAR. With his latest victory coming in Friday night's DAYTONA USA.COM "150" at Daytona International Speedway, Huffman now has 33 career victories. He is third on the all-time win list with just one victory separating he and fellow competitor Larry Caudill, who finished in sixth place Friday.
Huffman started the race in fifth place. Severe thunderstorms caused dramatic changes in the schedule. The NASCAR Touring Series was running in conjunction with NASCAR's Winston Cup Series. To allow for necessary practice sessions officials determined to start the field by owner points. Current Series Championship points leader, Cam Strader started on the pole and led the first of sixty laps. Huffman moved to the inside going down the backstretch and passed Strader coming off of turn four to take the point bringing Scott Weaver along with him. Huffman and Weaver hooked up in a draft and by lap six were able to stretch their lead to twenty car lengths. This would be the largest lead anyone would enjoy throughout the remaider of the event.
The first of five cautions came out on lap 20 when some metal from Bill Hennecy's car was discovered in turn one. Apparently one of the rear window straps had broken off and landed in the racing groove. Most of the front runners took this opportunity to make their first pit stops for fuel. Huffman and Weaver stayed on the track sticking to their strategy of only one pitstop.
The second caution came on lap 24 when Doc Brewer spun his car in the tri-oval. He did not make any contact and was able to get back on the track and continue. Huffman and the rest of the leaders pitted. Strader pitted a second time. "The pit window was between 25 and 30 laps. I knew when we stopped on lap 20 that we were gambling. Pitting to top off the tank after lap 24 put us back within the safe zone for going the rest of the way without stopping," Strader explained. However, as Strader went to leave his pits the end of his gas can came off and stuck in the filler tube. He had to return to pit road to have it removed. This placed him further back in the pack on the restart.
The third caution came out on lap 39 when Doug Gainey scraped the wall in turn two. Some of the cars opted to pit for fuel. Huffman stayed at the point. On the restart (Lap 43) Huffman quickly pulled out to a five car length lead but was quickly run down by the next pack of cars. Danny Bagwell got a run and tried to pass Huffman between three and four but Huffman slammed the door. The series of pit stops had a lot of the fast cars in the rear of the pack. By lap 45 they were all bunched together. While working lap 47, Tim Nichlols got loose and tapped Kelly Sutton setting off chain reaction. Scott Krehling commented, "It was like someone dropped a fog bomb on the track. We were all running so close and there were no openings." By the time the tire smoke cleared thirteen cars had some damage to show. Scott Redmon's car rolled onto its roof. "I hit someone or something and slid along the wall. Then the car just rolled over and stopped on the roof. I am a little sore but more disappointed that my car is wrecked," stated Redmon. Cam Strader was also collected in the fray. "I have always heard other drivers say they had no place to go. I always thought, surely there was something you could have done. But, now I know what they mean. We were all running so close and I was boxed in. I checked up and still got into Angie Wilson. Someone else hit me from behind and we were done for the day."
The final caution came out on lap 55 when Mike Watts and Bill Hennecy got together in turn two. Both cars were able to continue. Hennecy is known for his broadcasting expertise. He has made appearances in the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring a few times over the years. His pit crew consists of youths from the School Link Youth Opportunity Program in South Carolina.
The restart came on lap 56 with twelve cars on the lead lap. This time Bagwell stayed glued to the rear bumper of Huffman. "I tried everything I know to get by him", Bagwell recalled. "I wanted to win, but I am thrilled to at least finish second." Rounding out the top ten were Shane Hmiel, Zach Brewer, Roger Sawyer, Mickey York, Mike Swaim, Larry Caudill, Justin Hobgood, and Nolan Wilson from nearby Sanford, Florida. Shane Hmiel was the MAG KLIP Rookie of the Race. Robert Huffman was the Gatorade Front Runner.
Other news of interest: MAG KLIP has signed on as the Rookie of the Year Sponsor. MAG KLIP is a new product on the market that is a strip designed to magnetically hold sockets in place. Also, Robert Huffman Racing and Randy Humphrey Racing announced a new alliance between their two teams. Long-time Huffman Racing Crew Chief David Flynn will work full-time for Humphrey. Huffman stated at a press conference that, ..."this was a good situation for both teams." Humphrey added, "I needed to get my program back on track and David Flynn will be a great asset. David wanted to be a full-time Crew Chief and our program was able to offer that to him. Rob has already been a big boost by helping me with day to day preparations. We plan to do some testing together as this season winds down, in preparation for 2002."
The Goody's Dash Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States. NASCAR Touring brings special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and some NASCAR superspeedways and road courses. NASCAR Touring Series can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. The sponsors include Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite Trailers, Gatorade, Goody's Headache Powders, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, RE/MAX International, Inc., and R.J.Reynolds brand Winston.
NEXT RACE: Saturday, July 13, 2001 - Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, SC. Also, several of the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring drivers will appear at Sugar Daddy's Resturant in Asheville, NC on Friday, July 12 from 6-8pm to sign autographs.