Hogan Starts The Year Off With Second Place Run in Nashville The 21-Year-Old is Top Finishing Southeast Series Driver in The Field CONCORD, NC (April 19, 2004) -- NASCAR Southeast Series title contender Jason Hogan proved on Saturday night in ...
Hogan Starts The Year Off With Second Place Run in Nashville
The 21-Year-Old is Top Finishing Southeast Series Driver in The Field
CONCORD, NC (April 19, 2004) -- NASCAR Southeast Series title contender Jason Hogan proved on Saturday night in Nashville (TN) that you don't always need the fastest car on the track to be a contender, but you do need to have a good car, along with a little bit of luck and a lot of skill and patience behind the wheel to be there at the end of the race. That is exactly how Hogan was able to come home with a second-place finish in Nashville, matching his Southeast Series career-best finish, in the season-opening "Spring Classic 150" at the Music City Motorplex (formerly Nashville Speedway USA).
"We didn't have the fastest car out there, but we knew that so we just stuck to our strategy and it worked out in the end," said the 21-year-old Hogan, who finished second behind Midwest Series regular Brian Hoppe. "We knew that we would have to be cautions and save our tires for a while and then race tough at the end and that is what we did. We had a great car, but we just kept it in position to be there at the end, but in the end, we didn't have the track position we needed to catch (Brian) Hoppe.
"We didn't really have anything for Brian because our cars were so equal. We weren't losing any ground but we weren't really gaining any ground either. I think between Brian, Jeff (Fultz) and Eddie (Hoffman); we all had pretty equal cars. If we could have had some track position, maybe a late caution or something, we could have had something for him, but I'll take second. This is a new car, so there isn't much more you could ask for in its first time out."
Hogan qualified his machine 10th but wasted little time in heading toward the front of the field on the fast, high-banked half-mile. In only a few laps he was up to sixth and spent several laps battling Indiana's Ray Skillman. Hogan narrowly avoided trouble when Skillman lost control coming out of turn two and spun in front of the entire field. Hogan made slight contact with Skillman, but was able to make it through without any major damage.
"I don't know what happened," added Hogan. "We didn't get together with Skillman because there was no mark on our right front fender except some rubber left on the car from when Skillman was spinning and we got into him a bit. I got lucky to get through it all. After that, we just set the car of cruise and kept it up there near the front and saved our equipment for a charge at the end."
Hogan gave his car a big charge at the end, all the while holding off Southeast Series nemesis Fultz and Hoffman, another Midwest Series invader. However, a long green flag run at the end allowed Hoppe to pull away while fighting through lapped traffic and kept Hogan and the rest of the top-five from making a charge at the end of the event.
"It's pretty easy to be disappointed with a second-place finish when you know you have a car that was just as good as the race winner, but I try not to look at it that way. Sure it could have been better because I really want to win one of these races bad, but it could have been a lot worse.
"We've worked hard during the off-season on this new car and we want to have it ready for all of the places we go. I'm never going to points race because I want to come to the track to win every single week and that is my main goal, but if you just don't think you are going to have the shot at winning, you are going to take what you can get. That is what we did tonight and it was a great run. All of my guys worked their butt off and we'll have a great shot at getting win number one next weekend at Hickory (NC)."
Hogan and the rest of the Southeast Series cars head to the historic Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 24th, for the second race of the year. With the unlikeliness that Hoppe will attend the event, Hogan will go into the race as the top points getter from Nashville.