Sparta, KY - (June 16, 2001) Robert Huffman made a slingshot move off of turn four to beat Cam Strader to the checkered flag Saturday in the Kentucky Speedway 100. This is the first ever win for a Toyota and the first win of the season ...
Sparta, KY - (June 16, 2001) Robert Huffman made a slingshot move off of turn four to beat Cam Strader to the checkered flag Saturday in the Kentucky Speedway 100.
This is the first ever win for a Toyota and the first win of the season for Huffman and his White House Apple Juice/TRD race team.
Huffman started on the pole and led the first three laps. Danny Bagwell took the point for one lap and then a hard charging Johnny Chapman took a commanding lead for the next segment of the race. The lead pack charged hard, setting a fast pace before the huge crowd of fans who stayed late. The teams checked in early Saturday morning and the race did not start until after 11 p.m. following the NASCAR Busch Series event. Huffman returned to the lead for lap 23 when Championship Points Leader Cam Strader showed the way.
Rookie of the Year Contender Shane Hmiel encountered bad luck when he blew his engine in the final practice. Hmiel's team work hard just to get the car on the starting grid. Hmiel retired after the first lap when his car would not come up to speed. There were 3 caution periods for a total of 14 laps.The first caution came early when Mark King tagged the wall. The second caution came out on lap 7 when Scott Weaver's engine expired. Justin Hobgood, Eric Van Cleef, and Tim Nichols hit an oil streak left by Weaver's machine and all three slid to the wall making hard contact with each other.
Strader was the first of the leaders to pit for fuel. Huffman retook the lead on lap 43 and made his pit stop shortly after. Joey Miller took the lead for the first time this season on lap 47 and then made his stop for fuel. This allowed Strader to resume the lead which he would hold on to until the final turn.
Huffman has had his moments during the 2001 season. Some of which he could have done without. He has led several races but has found disappointment all too often. During the final laps he and Jake Hobgood were chasing after Strader utilizing their two car draft to narrow the gap. On lap 54 Hobgood lost the air off his spoiler and slammed the turn four wall hard. Huffman dove underneath and continued. This brought out the final caution period, Huffman pitted for to repair a cut tire. On the restart only five cars remained on the lead lap. Strader was first, with Johnny Chapman, Jimmy Britts, Joey Miller, and Huffman lining up in fifth place. Huffman quickly made his move into second and began stalking Strader for the lead. Huffman would look high and low but Strader continued to slam the door. As they approached the final turn Strader tried to use a lapped car to block Huffman on the low side. "I had it in my mind that Cam was going to use that lapped car to block me. I was going low even if I had to hit the white line," stated Huffman. "I tried to block him but my car pushed up the track," explain Strader. Huffman squeezed between the lapped car and Strader making it three wide off turn four. He would beat Strader to the line by a bumper for a margin of a mere .024 seconds. Johnny Chapman, Joey Miller, and Jimmy Britts rounded out the top five.
Rookie of the Race was Wayne Edwards in his Big Daddy's BBQ/TRD Toyota. Edwards finished in the 10th position, his best finish of the season.
Cam Strader continues to lead the 2001 Championship Points Race. Shane Hmiel, despite his disappointing day, retains the lead in the 2001 Rookie of the Year Race.
The Next race is at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. on Friday, June 22, 2001.