2001 USAR Hooters ProCup Series Season Rewind Fayetteville, GA& ...
2001 USAR Hooters ProCup Series Season Rewind
Fayetteville, GA– As the 2001 season for the United Speed Alliance Racing Hooters ProCup Series heads into its final event, the young and growing series has enjoyed unbelievable success. Forr the first time since the Hooters Cup late model series did so back in the mid-1990s the series ventured outside the southeastern United States.
The Series expanded from a 20-race schedule to 30 races in 2001 with the creation of the Northern and Southern divisions and, as a result, witnessed some of the fastest growth the Series has ever seen. The 2001 schedule was reduced to 29 events after the terrorism of September 11th forced the cancellation of the race scheduled for Chicago Motor Speedway.
Some 124 drivers from 18 states, Canada and Australia all gained points this season in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series. Over 160 drivers registered for competition in 2001 and the number is expected to break the 200 mark in 2002.
A Hooters ProCup Series record of 13 different drivers have collected wins so far this season which eclipsed the old mark of 11 set in 2000. Other records set this year were by 1997 USAR Hooters ProCup Series champion Mario Gosselin who recorded the most consecutive pole awards with three and Regan Smith collected three consecutive poles in just the Northern Division events and enters USA International Speedway with four pole awards overall this season.
Several USAR drivers had continued success in the Series while others enjoyed“ breakout’ seasons this year.
Two-time defending USAR Hooters ProCup Series national champion Bobby Gill collected the regular-season title of most wins in the Series with five (USA International twice, Five Flags, Hickory, and New River Valley Speedways) and heads into USA International on November 24th in second place in the point standings, just 19 points behind Hal Goodson.
Gill has won at least five races in the Series since he began competing full-time in 1999. He also holds the record for the highest average earnings per start in the Series, with $12,828, and has won $731,200 in 57 career starts in the Series.
There was a total of six first time winners in 2001 with two drivers collecting multiple wins in addition to their first race win. Sean Studer entered the Northern Division and collected wins at Louisville, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Holland Speedways while running a limited schedule.
Shane Huffman enjoyed a breakout season of his own, winning four times so far in 2001 after failing to make the top-10 during 2000. Huffman won two consecutive Southern Division races, at Coastal Plains Raceway and Peach State Speedway, and a regular season win at Lonesome Pine Raceway.
Huffman made his presence felt at the first of the special Four Champions Championship Series races held at Jennerstown Speedway when he won from the pole and vaulted into the lead for the $250,000 first-place prize and the 2001 USAR Hooters ProCup Series national championship.
Other drivers who collected their first win in 2001 included: Stacy Puryear (Jennerstown Speedway); Donnie Hill (Winchester Speedway); and David Pletcher (Chemung Speedrome).
Bill Plemons, Jr. collected his first career-win in the Series and also passed the mark set by Gene Morgan as the oldest driver to win a race when he won at Thompson Speedway in May at the age of 54.
Plemons, Jr. also gained notoriety when he stepped up to put Hal Goodson into one of his own cars after Goodson’s team suddenly ceased operations after the first Four Champions Championship Series event.
The new ride must have been what the doctor ordered as Goodson took the car and won the next race at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Goodson followed that performance with another strong win at Concord Motorsport Park to move him into the lead going into the season-finale by 19 points over Gill.
Series veterans Jay Fogleman (St. Augustine Speedway), Steve Christian (Montgomery Speedway), Mario Gosselin (Hickory & South Boston Speedways) and 1998 Series champion Jeff Agnew (Jennerstown and Cayuga Speedways) all visited victory lane.
Brian Vickers followed his Rookie of the Year season with two wins (Chemung and Illiana) and also currently sits in the top five in the point standings.
The 2002 schedule has already been announced and the Series will expand yet again to 32 events next year. The Series will be looking to crown its 2001 champion at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL with no less than 15 drivers still mathematically eligible to win the championship, although it appears the top six drivers have the best shot.
Goodson is leading Gill by 19 points for the title, Huffman trailing by just 28 points and Mardy Lindley sits 50 points back. Vickers is 55 points back with Agnew 77 points behind the leader.