USA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY Two in a Row for Gene Morgan at USA Lakeland, FL - Gene Morgan captured his second win of 1997 at the USA International Speedway in the season finale for the USAR Jackaroo ProCup Series. Morgan eclipsed his own...
USA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Two in a Row for Gene Morgan at USA
Lakeland, FL - Gene Morgan captured his second win of 1997 at the USA International Speedway in the season finale for the USAR Jackaroo ProCup Series. Morgan eclipsed his own track record by nearly two tenths of second to qualify second fastest for the Commanders Cup 250. Chapin, South Carolina driver Bob Schacht took the pole and set the new track record but not before Mario Gosselin, Jay Fogleman and Mike Laughlin also reset the qualifying mark. Gosselin of Lake Wales, Florida clinched the ProCup championship for the 1997 season by taking the green flag. The championship is the second United Speed Alliance Racing championship for the French-Canadian pilot who also claimed the inaugural Hooters Cup Late Model championship in 1995. Mario's night was short lived after developing problems in the right front suspension of his number 10 following a bumping incident with Mike Laughlin in turn two on lap 126. Laughlin's left front was also damaged and Laughlin parked his car on lap 132. 19 year old Orlando driver Brad May drove his Naturally Fresh Monte Carlo to a third place finish and the 1997 Purina Puppy Chow Rookie of the Year title. May started 8th on the grid and lost a lap at the mid point of the race during a 4 tire pitstop but was able to get his lap back after battling Jabe Jones on a restart. Inclement weather postponed the 4 PM start nearly five hours and the opening laps were run under a green/yellow condition. When the green flew on lap 50, Morgan took control with Jay Fogleman, Marty Ward, Gosselin and Schacht in close pursuit. The race was slowed nine times by cautions with the most serious occurring on lap 229 when Jeremy Gerstner crashed in turn four. Gerstner was uninjured and the late race caution setup a 10 lap dash to the finish. Morgan led the pack back to the green and opened up a cushion between himself and part-time NASCAR Busch Grand National driver Gary Laton. Laton was challenged by May and 1996 Hooters Cup Rookie of the Year Derrick Kelly. Kelly's run to the front earned him the hard charger award for the event after the Auburndale, Florida driver had to use the last chance race to transfer to the 250. Kelly limped to the finish and dropped to 8th in the finish order due to a left rear tire which was going flat. The top five in the final finishing order was Morgan followed by Laton, May, Schacht and Sammy Potashnick. Two time Busch Grand National winner Johnny Rumley looked strong on several occasions but could only muster a sixth place finish. Greg Marlowe was seventh with Kelly eighth. Justin Labonte, 16 year old son of two time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, made his second start with the ProCup series starting 21st and posting his second ninth place finish. Labonte's grandfather Bob Labonte was calling the shots in Justin's pit and coached the youngster in regaining a lap back from the leaders after stalling his Slim Jim Monte Carlo on pitroad. Another second generation driver, Lee Tissot, rounded out the top 10 despite being involved in the final caution with Gerstner. The ProCup series will become the flagship series for the USAR in 1998 and will assume the Hooters ProCup name. The season is scheduled to begin February 28th at USA International Speedway. The 1998 series has a posted point fund of $500,000 and will compete in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
USAR Commanders Cup 250 USA International Speedway 11-29-97 Finish Car Position Number Driver Name Hometown 1 45 Gene Morgan Simpsonville, SC 2 74 Gary Laton Albemarle, SC 3 70 Brad May Orlando, FL 4 75 Bob Schacht Chapin, SC 5 65 Sammy Potashnick Sikeston, MO 6 29 Johnny Rumley Winston Salem, NC 7 81 Greg Marlowe Troutman, NC 8 16 Derrick Kelly Auburndale, FL 9 44 Justin Labonte Trinity, NC 10 47 Lee Tissot Arden, NC 11 50 Doc McKinney Ft. Pierce, FL 12 5 Chad Chaffin Symrna, TN 13 92 Brad Means Forest City, NC 14 6 Lester Lesneski Stanfield, NC 15 09 Jabe Jones Martin, GA 16 26 Mickey Hudspeth Ronda, NC 17 35 Robin Caldwell Chesnee, SC 18 12 Tim Edwards Tryon, NC 19 07 Tim Clayton Inman, SC 20 0 Tim Neighbors Bunnlevel, NC 21 77 Jerry Rector Fountain Inn, SC 22 1 Don Satterfield Spartanburg, SC 23 33 Derrick Countryman Fort Pierce, FL 24 82 Martin Nesbitt Asheville, NC 25 55 Charlie Ford Chesterfield, VA 26 79 Dave Craddock Palm Beach Gardens, 27 80 Calvin Redwine Mantee, MS 28 2 Jeremy Gerstner Denver, NC 29 67 Daryl Gwynn Reidsville, NC 30 91 Jimmy Doyle Hendersonville, NC 31 06 Jack Morias Goldvein, VA 32 15 Bill Plemmons Jr. Locust Grove, GA 33 4 Jay Fogleman Durham, NC 34 54 Mike Laughlin Jr. Gray Court, SC 35 10 Mario Gosselin Lake Hamilton, FL 36 24 Chuck Walls III Piedmont, SC 37 19 Kent Baltzell Spring, TX 38 01 Jeff Wogoman Ft. Myers, FL 39 97 Marty Ward Marietta, SC 40 86 Thomas Beamer Williamstown, NJ 41 58 Tony Warren Weavervile, NC
Lap Leaders: 1-50 Bob Schacht (under yellow); 51-56 Gene Morgan; 57-94 Jay Fogleman; 95-137 Gene Morgan; 138-154 Jabe Jones; 155-175 Bob Schacht; 176-181 Gary Laton; 182-250 Gene Morgan