Myrtle Beach: Race report

Jake Hobgood collects third win of 2002 season. MYRTLE BEACH, SC (Sunday, August 11, 2002)- The Piggly Wiggly 150 Presented by Wesson Cooking Oil and Peanut Pan Peanut Butter, Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring event from Myrtle Beach Speedway...

Jake Hobgood collects third win of 2002 season.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (Sunday, August 11, 2002)- The Piggly Wiggly 150 Presented by Wesson Cooking Oil and Peanut Pan Peanut Butter, Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring event from Myrtle Beach Speedway was interesting to say the least.

Jake Hobgood was the fast qualifier but his time was disallowed due to a post qualifying infraction. Justin Hobgood and Robert Huffman encountered the same fate. All three drivers had to start from the rear of the field. Scott Weaver was then awarded the Bud Pole Position. Jake Hobgood carefully worked his way from his 24th starting spot to not only win the race but also led the most laps. Hobgood and Huffman came into the race in a virtual deadlock for the series points title. Huffman suffered engine problems, which ended his night early.

The August race at Myrtle Beach is usually held under hot and humid conditions. But this time the weather was exceptionally nice. The Goody's Dash Series teams usually plan their late summer vacation around the Myrtle Beach event. Friday's activities included a Fishing Tournament Sponsored by Wix Filters. Kevin Lowe, from the #52 Highlands Motorsports Team took home the first place prize for his team.

Friday evening included appearances at NASCAR Café by Robert Huffman, Chuck Gafrarar, Arlene Pittman, Kelly Sutton, and Scott Haller. Pittman also made appearances at NASCAR Speedpark and Atlantic Go Kart Track, where she signed an estimated 800 autographs. Cam Strader made an appearance at a local Piggly Wiggly store. Crew Chief, Dennis Moore drove Arlene's car on Ocean Blvd on their way to the Go Kart Track, while escorted by local police. One of the officers said, "I just love the sound of that engine!" The commotion drew a large crowd to the delight of Pittman and the owner of the go kart track.

Teams checked into the Myrtle Beach Speedway midday on Saturday. Jake Hobgood was fast right of off the get go. Hobgood came into this event tied for the series points Championship and also the defending race champion at Myrtle Beach Speedway.

Scott Weaver inherited the pole when Jake Hobgood was sent to the rear. But the pre-race draw shuffled him back to the sixth position. Keith Roggen and Cam Strader led the field to green. Roggen jumped out in front of Strader to lead the early stages of the race. For the first half of the event Roggen and Strader each took turns leading, while the Hobgoods worked they way through the pack. On lap 10 Huffman's car started spewing smoke. He pitted so that his crew could look under the hood. He returned to the track three laps down, but he was not able to get his car up to speed. He made it to lap 66 before retiring from the race. "Something let go in the engine. We won't know what happened until we get back to the shop and have a close look at it. This is a disappointing blow when you are in the hunt for the Championship. But, it is also a part of racing that you have to deal with. We know that we'll have to go to Bristol and the remaining events hoping to win," Huffman said.

Brian Loftin outdueled Nick Pistone for top rookie honors. Randy Humphrey had a strong run going until he and Shane Hmiel got together in turn one. A few laps later, Humphrey returned to pit road with a bad vibration. "I brought the car in and told the guys, something is loose. They looked and saw that the tie-rod was nearly all the way off. Considering everything we dodged tonight, I am thrilled to finish 11th," commented Humphrey.

Defending Series' Champion, Cam Strader continued to climb toward the top, posting his third top two finish in three events. Scott Haller, driving for Bryant-Granelli Motorsports put in another impressive effort. Bill Clevenger, originally from Pennsylvania made his first appearance in the Goody's Dash Series.

Victory Lane was quite a family celebration. Father, Will Hobgood commented following the event, "We usually prepare both cars with the same setup. But I told the boys that we needed to start doing some R & D to see what new things we could learn. So Jake and Justin had two very different racecars under them. I am excited that both of them could do so well. Obviously, Jake had the same set up he ran here last year."

With his win and Huffman's disappointing finish, Hobgood not only regains the lead but pads it by 89 points. "I am excited to come here and run so well. It put a lot of pressure on us to start at the back and have to work our way to the front. I hate that Rob had problems. I want this to be a battle right down to the very end. He has been the Champion four times. I want to earn it away from him on the track and not because of mechanical problems," said Hobgood.

Hobgood's win moved him into 13th place on the all-time win list(8 wins). A distinction shared with the 1983 Series' Champion Micheal Waltrip.

Next Race: Bristol Motor Speedway, Wednesday, August 21, 2002


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Drivers Shane Hmiel , Cam Strader , Kelly Sutton , Robert Huffman , Justin Hobgood