Strader fifth in Kentucky. SPARTA, KY (June 17, 2002) - Cam Strader went into last Sunday's 700 WLW 100-mile NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race at the Kentucky Speedway with two goals in mind. Finish in the top five, and leave here with the car in...
Strader fifth in Kentucky.
SPARTA, KY (June 17, 2002) - Cam Strader went into last Sunday's 700 WLW 100-mile NASCAR Goody's Dash Series race at the Kentucky Speedway with two goals in mind. Finish in the top five, and leave here with the car in one piece. And that's exactly what he did.
"We are on the comeback trail," said Strader. "We've had our share of bad luck, and it's good to be back in championship form again. Top five finishes are how you win championships, and we've put together two in a row now. This Wesson/Peter Pan team has gotten ourselves in a little hole here, but we're beginning to dig our way out. There's a long way to go in the points race and we're sure not out of it yet."
Jake Hobgood of Winnsboro, SC made his way to victory lane in Sunday's event. It was a fitting climax to a lengthened weekend due to the poor timing of rain showers. The race weekend at Kentucky Speedway was slated as a triple-header. The Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring was scheduled along with the Hills Bros. All-Pro Series, and NASCAR Busch Series. Rain Showers on Friday night pushed the Hills Bros. All-Pro Series race onto Saturday's schedule, causing the cancellation of Bud Pole Qualifying for the Goody's Dash Series. The field was then set by car owner points. The weather was absolutely gorgeous right up until lap 86 of the NASCAR Busch Series event. Without warning, the sky sprung a leak and drenched the 70,000 plus fans in attendance, and needless to say, the track. A second downpour ruined any chance of getting the events in on Saturday night. On Sunday, following the completion of the Busch Series race, the green flag waved for the Goody's Dash Series. Pole sitter, Robert Huffman and Jake Hobgood battled side-by-side through the first lap then seemed content to run single-file. Then on lap two, Zach Brewer, and Justin Hobgood dove past Jake Hobgood, moving him back to fourth. Strader was very strong in the early going along with Brian Loftin, Scott Weaver, Chuck Gafrarar, and Kelly Sutton. The only time Huffman was able to pull away was when the rest of the lead pack started racing for position. As soon as they would settle down, they would pull right back up to Huffman's bumper. But, it became clear that the leader had a clear advantage as Jake Hobgood pointed out: "The leader could protect the preferred line. He may not be the best car, but if you could run that preferred line, it forced the other cars to check up in the corners."
On lap 28, Greg Miller was one of the first cars to make his stop for fuel, pitting early.
On lap 38, Brian Loftin and Vince Whitmire made their stop. Loftin's crew spent extra time checking his tires. Huffman and Ned Combs had just returned to the track after completing their stops, along with Brandon Ward, Gary Moore, Mike Watts, and the Hobgood Brothers. Justin Hobgood was scored as the leader of laps 45-47.
On lap 48, Jake Hobgood was the first off of pit road and he became the leader. Unfortunately Loftin became the only caution in the race. He cut down a tire and tagged the wall in turn two. While under caution, Huffman returned to pit road to replace a right rear tire.When racing resumed on lap 59, Jake Hobgood and Cam Strader separated themselves from the pack, with Ned Combs and Chuck Gafrarar not too far behind. Huffman, Brewer, Brandon Ward, Scott Krehling, and Mike Watts battled hard for the 5-9th positions. Huffman broke away and went after the 4th place car of Gafrarar. On lap 61, Gafrarar's machine slid high allowing Huffman to scoot underneath. With five laps to go, 58 year old Ned Combs starting putting the moves on the race leader, Jake Hobgood. Combs got a strong run down the front stretch getting up alongside Hobgood heading into one. Hobgood, protecting that preferred groove held him off. But this exchange allowed Huffman to close up. On the next lap, they went three wide heading into one. Huffman on the inside, Combs on the outside, and the leader sandwiched in between. Combs was very strong yet unable to beat Hobgood in the center of the turn. "I had a fast car, said Combs. If I had been able to get by Jake they would never have caught me. I was real good off of four and into turn one. But, the car would bog down between one and two. I just couldn't complete the pass." At the white flag, the top six cars were on bunched together running two and three wide into turn one. "When I saw Rob and Ned coming after me, I knew all that I could do was protect that preferred groove and hope for the best," said Hobgood. Huffman made one last effort coming to the stripe. Hobgood went high to block Combs and then dove low to block Huffman for the win. "I don't know what we could have done differently there at the end, " commented Huffman. "I knew we were being too hard on right side tires early in the race. I just didn't have enough to get by Jake. I am happy for him, and we have a great points race going on here."Robert Huffman, Ned Combs, Chuck Gafrarar, and Strader rounded out the top five.The next race for the Goody's Dash Series will be held at the Memphis Motorsports Park. Saturday, June 22, 2002. This event will be in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.