Greenville, SC (July 14, 2001) - The NASCAR Goody's Dash Series traveled to the Greenville-Pickens Speedway Saturday night for the running of the BI-LO/Lance Snack Foods 150. Cam Strader of Wilson, NC fell victim to someone else's misfortune ...
Greenville, SC (July 14, 2001) - The NASCAR Goody's Dash Series traveled to the Greenville-Pickens Speedway Saturday night for the running of the BI-LO/Lance Snack Foods 150.
Cam Strader of Wilson, NC fell victim to someone else's misfortune for the second race in a row, and quickly watched his 143 point lead in the Series title chase dwindle to only 31 points.
Strader drove his Wesson Cooking Oil/Peter Pan Peanut Butter Mercury to the third starting spot on the legendary half-mile speedway, but took the green flag from the eighth position after the pre-race inversion.
Robert Huffman drew the top spot with Jake Hobgood on the outside. Hobgood had a great start and jumped into the lead exiting turn two; he led the first twenty-six laps. The first of seven cautions occurred when Roger Sawyer moved to the inside to pass Angie Wilson. Wilson moved down to block Sawyer. In the process of driving hard into turn one, she tapped Randy Humphrey on the back bumper causing him to loop his car. On the restart, Hobgood slipped high allowing Huffman to take the lead.
On lap thirty-four, Hmiel passed Huffman and held the top spot until pitting for fuel on lap seventy-two. Jake Hobgood inherited the lead, with Eric Van Cleef, Justin Hobgood, Strader, Hmiel rounding out the top five. Angie Wilson was allowed to start at the front, since she was on the tail end of the lead lap and had not pitted. For the first few laps after the restart, the leaders had to contend with Wayne Edwards and Wilson as they fought to remain out in front. Hmiel would take over the lead on lap eighty-one, but a hard-charging Jimmy Britts took the lead on lap ninety-eight. While enjoying his tenure at the point, Britts had to drive through wrecked cars on two separate occasions.
Strader was involved in a crash on lap 115, when several cars spun sideways in front of him in turn two. His crew worked feverishly to make repairs to the machine, but the radiator was severely damaged in the accident. Quick work by the Wesson crew allowed Strader to return to the speedway for three more laps, but the damage proved to be extensive. "For the second week in a row, all I saw was a cloud of smoke and someone punted me from behind," Strader said.
On lap 135, four cars spun in turn one and blocked the racing groove. Britts locked the brakes, but was still collected by the incident. Hmiel was once again in control and went on to collect the win. "My leg was starting to cramp when Jimmy was racing with me," said Hmiel. "I hate that he (Britts) got caught in that mess. But, I am happy that it worked in our favor." In post-race statements Strader commented: "I learned a long time ago in racing that you're going to have a little bad luck occasionally. This team doesn't sweat the things we can't control. We work to make the things we can control better, and we will use this as a growing experience. Like they say; if it was easy, everyone would do it," said a disappointed but confident Strader. "The bad news for the rest of these guys is that this deal tonight has gotten my crew more fired up than they were coming in here," Strader explained. "We made a decision to go after this championship title with a vengeance at the beginning of the year, and we as a team plan to carry through with that plan. It's going to get exciting. Barry Owen has been a poker player in this game since way back, and I promise you we have not shown our hand yet."
"My crew guys never say a whole lot about accidents, because they know I try hard to save equipment and keep the fenders on this thing. Instead, they were discussing what all we were going to need to fix it. We were really just biding our time until the last 50 laps tonight, when a couple of lapped cars got together in front of us," Strader said.
"When asked about the incident that collected this year's only three time winner, Strader said, "It's amazing how -- (stopping to collect his thoughts) lets just say there were some people that put themselves into positions they shouldn't have been in tonight," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and whine about my misfortune. We've had a better season than most guys will have in a career," he said. "Our friend from Wesson, Frank Packard was here tonight. His birthday is coming up Tuesday, and I wanted to share a birthday celebration with him in victory lane. He understands how this deal works, and we go to my home track at Southern National Speedway in two weeks. We'll make up for it there," he concluded.
The 150-lap event lasted 1 hour, 20 minutes and 12 seconds, with an average speed of 85.853 mph. There were seven lead changes among four drivers, and seven caution periods for a total of 41 laps.
The NASCAR Goody's Dash Series has a break in the schedule next weekend, and will return to the Southern National Speedway, Strader's home track, for the next event in Kenly, North Carolina on July 28.