Strader Hickory race report

HICKORY, N. C. (Sept. 16 2000) - Cam Strader had little doubt that he and the Wesson Cooking Oil crew could collect their second win of the season Saturday night at the Hickory Motor Speedway. After a hard fought battle, Strader had to settle for...

HICKORY, N. C. (Sept. 16 2000) - Cam Strader had little doubt that he and the Wesson Cooking Oil crew could collect their second win of the season Saturday night at the Hickory Motor Speedway. After a hard fought battle, Strader had to settle for a fifth place finish. He did pick up the NAPA Rookie of the Race award and has all but clinched the Rookie of the Year title with three races still remaining in the season.

Jimmy Britts was at the top of his game, and powered his way to victory in the Jim Cook Chevrolet 125, presented by Galaxy Foods and Pure Wesson Cooking Oil.

Britts had not been to victory lane with the series since July 4, 1999, but on this night his was the car to beat. He also put his NAPA Auto Parts Pontiac on the pole for the third time in 2000.

Britts broke the four-way tie between Justin Hobgood, Robert Huffman, Cam Strader, and himself for most Bud Pole Awards. Britts earned the pole by turning the .363-mile oval at an average speed of 85.849 mph.

The pre-race qualifying draw put Mike Watts with his Select Broker, Inc./Signature Homes Mercury at the point with B.J. Mackey on the outside of the front row. Britts started third with Scott Weaver in his Weaver Race Cars/Jim Cook Chevrolet Pontiac along side in the second row.

Watts' Mercury was no match for Mackey's Pontiac when the green flag flew to start the race. Mackey's machine charged to the lead between turns one and two on the first lap. He then set a blistering pace opening a five-car lead over Britts, who wasted little time taking over the runner-up spot.

Mackey's lead quickly dwindled on lap five when Steven Barfield spun in turn one, causing the first of the race's seven caution flags. His spin caused a chain reaction crash that involved several machines including Eric Van Cleef's Toyota, sending that car to the garage for the remainder of the night.

Thirteen caution laps between laps 24 and 43 kept the field in check with Mackey at the front followed by Britts.

Once racing resumed, Mackey continued his strong showing by opening a huge lead at the halfway point in the race.

But the second half of the event belonged to Britts. He chased down Mackey's Pontiac and finally moved into the lead on lap 83, with Huffman following to take second.

With 39-laps of green flag racing, Johnny Chapman brought his Old Milwaukee Non-Alcoholic Pontiac to third and Strader moved into the fourth spot.

As the race neared completion, Britts had a commanding lead on Huffman but it disappeared on lap 111, when Jesse Wade spun his machine in turn four. The caution was a break for hometown favorite Robert Huffman -- he was allowed to close up right behind Britts on the restart.

Huffman would get a second chance to challenge for the win when Johnny Chapman made a move on B.J. Mackey for the third spot going into turn four. Chapman drove to the inside of Mackey, but close racing between his car, Strader, and Roger Sawyer caused Chapman's car to get tagged in the rear end by Strader. Chapman spun into the outside wall and was finished for the evening.

"That deal with Johnny was an unfortunate incident," Strader said. "I just couldn't get slowed down when we dove under B.J. coming off turn four, and then my momentum carried me into him again. Johnny has been a great resource for us this year - he has answered questions, given me advice, and been genuinely supportive all year. I hope that he and his whole organization know that I would never wreck anyone intentionally," Strader explained.

On the final restart, Britts again had a clean start and took his third career win. Finishing behind Britts' Pontiac were Huffman with his Apple Juice Pontiac, Roger Sawyer in his Orlando Orange County Auto Auction Pontiac (who nipped Mackey at the line by inches), Mackey in his Van Camp's Beans Pontiac, and Cam Strader in the Wesson Cooking Oil/Children's Miracle Network Mercury.

With his second place finish, Huffman increased his series points lead to 149 points over Ricky Bryant with three races remaining on the 2000 schedule.

The next event for the Goody's Dash Series NASCAR Touring will be a second visit to Coastal Plains Speedway in Jacksonville, N. C. on October 7.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Cam Strader , Robert Huffman , Johnny Chapman , Justin Hobgood