Hobgoods finish one and two in inaugural event at Motordrome. SMITHTON, PA (September 14, 2002) - The Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring 150 Presented by Travel Club International at Motordrome Speedway marked the first visit for the series' in...
Hobgoods finish one and two in inaugural event at Motordrome.
SMITHTON, PA (September 14, 2002) - The Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring 150 Presented by Travel Club International at Motordrome Speedway marked the first visit for the series' in the Pittsburgh area.
Justin Hobgood took the lead from Bud Pole winner Cam Strader on the very first lap. After pit stops Hobgood was able to regain the lead on lap 42 and lead the remaining 111 laps to take his third win of the 2002 season. When asked what he thought about his first trip ever to Pittsburgh Hobgood said, "From victory lane at Motordrome this city looks wonderful! We had only seen pictures of the racetrack. Everybody had to guess on their setups. We guessed right. All we had to do was set the right rearend gear and we were right on. I have to say a big thank you to Traveler's Club International and Tracker Boats/Holiday Kamper and Boats for giving us the opportunity to be here in victory lane."
Red Miley and the folks at Motordrome rolled out the red carpet for this first visit to Pittsburgh.
After months of promotional events, race day finally arrived. Twenty-seven teams came from all over the southeast to vie for twenty-four starting positions. Wendy Hicks, of Arab, Alabama, came hoping to make her first career start. She was bumped from the field by provisional starters. Having not raced in the series before, she did not have the driver points necessary to secure a spot in the field. Gary Moore missed the race due to a blown engine. Ray Paprota also missed making the field. Paprota, from Birmingham, AL, was making his first attempt at qualifying for a Goody's Dash Series race.
There was a strong turnout for this inaugural event. The Pittsburgh area fans enthusiastically embraced NASCAR coming to their city. As the cars were being placed on the grid, the drivers stood on the front stretch wall to sign autographs. There was a line of fans, standing three deep, waiting to meet the drivers.
Cam Strader, of Wilson, NC, set the pace in qualifying by winning the Bud Pole with an average speed of 98.264 miles per hour at the half-mile speedway. In the pre-race draw Strader drew the number four spot. Mag Clip Rookie of the Year Points Leader bettered his starting position from fourth to first.
Justin Hobgood, of Winnsboro, SC, started the race from the outside pole. On the initial start he dove hard into turn one and took the lead down the backstretch. Cam Strader raced Gafrarar through turns three and four to take over the second spot. Jake Hobgood followed Strader passed Gafrarar.
The first caution period came on lap 3 when Alex Ferree spun his machine. Ferree is from nearby Saxonburg (PA). He is son to Ed Ferree who formerly competed in the NASCAR Busch Series. Both father and son are well known for their dirt track racing in the Pittsburgh area.
Ferree, along with Chris Bristol and Mark Howard were making their first appearance in the series. Howard has been a crewmember for a Goody's Dash Series team, but this was his first attempt at driving in the series.
Justin Hobgood dominated the race. Championship Points leader, Jake Hobgood was able to tag along on his younger brother's rear bumper. "Justin's car was unbelievable. He was really hooked up. I could run with him on cold tires for about two laps. Once we would get three laps into the run, his car was on a rail. But, we are proud to take home a second place finish in this Precision Engine Pontiac. We will go on to Atlanta and try to rap up this points Championship," said Hobgood.
There were ten cautions in the event, for a total of 38 laps. But on each restart the Hobgoods were able to separate themselves from the rest of the field with ease.
The battles raged back in the pack. There were two or three occasions when the field went three wide. From lap 112 through lap 130, Robert Huffman and Cam Strader put on quite a show. Huffman would look high to make the move on Strader. Strader put a block on Huffman lap after lap. Finally Huffman was able to get along side of Strader. He made the move on the outside, thrilling the fans. Strader refused to be deterred and immediately fought back. Two laps later he was underneath Huffman going into turn one. Once again they battled side by side. Strader used a lapped car to place a pick on Huffman and was able to gain the position back.
"Rob and I had a great race," Strader said. "I had a lot of fun racing with Rob during those laps. We swapped positions several times and that is what racing is all about. It means the world to a racecar driver when you can trust your fellow competitor to race you hard and yet have a clean battle. And that is how Rob and I were racing each other."
"The Wesson Cooking Oil/Peter Pan Mercury was just a little too tight in the middle of the turns. I just couldn't get it to turn up off the corner like I needed it to. I am happy to come home in third all in one piece," Strader went on to say.
Jake Hobgood has nearly clinched his first Goody's Dash Series Championship.
Robert Huffman's headaches continued. He was on his way to a third place finish until a bump from Zach Brewer relegated him to 7th place. Brewer received a post race penalty, for the infraction, which placed him as the last car on the lead lap.
Rounding out the top ten were: Brandon Ward, Scott Weaver, Robert Huffman, Zach Brewer, Danny Bagwell, Randy Humphrey, and Mike Watts.
*Will Hobgood explained after the race, "I just prayed that the boys would finish one and two. It didn't matter which one won the race. I just wanted the other to finish second."
*Randy Humphrey was running very well until his right front brake caliper started to hang up. He passed Mike Watts on the final lap to finish 9th.
*Scott Weaver, winner at Bristol, overcame a spin to finish 6th.
*Brandon Ward took top rookie honors for the second race in a row. He has moved into second place in the battle for the Mag Clip Rookie of the Year honors. Chuck Gafrarar did not fair so well. After a stellar qualifying run, the Pennsylvania native succumbed to a blown engine on lap 16.
*Attending the event was Annette Ganassi. Annette is Chip Ganassi's sister. Both are from the Pittsburgh area. Annette owns and operates a car dealership just north of downtown. She sponsored Arlene Pittman for this race.
The Series will take some time off before heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, October 25th.