USAR: Bristol: Race report

Shane Huffman Wins Food City 150 Bristol, TN--Shane Huffman went from first to worst and back to first. After winning the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award, Huffman started shotgun on the field after his exhaust needed to be replaced after...

Shane Huffman Wins Food City 150

Bristol, TN--Shane Huffman went from first to worst and back to first. After winning the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award, Huffman started shotgun on the field after his exhaust needed to be replaced after qualifying. But at the end of the Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Huffman made it back to where he qualified, beating Clay Rogers to the checkered flag by .253 sec. to take his second win of the year.

"The way our luck has been this season, it felt like it was going to be another bad race," said Huffman, driver of the No. 84 Elm Hill Ford. "But we never gave up today."

The track position Huffman gave up at the start, he made up for with some great pit strategy.

With nothing to lose, Huffman came to pit road on Lap 21. And once the leaders cycled through the pits, the 2003 Hooters ProCup champion took the lead.

"Being at the back kind of put us into that strategy," said Huffman. "My only concern was making back to the front and dodging the wrecks." As expected at Bristol, avoiding the big one proved to be the key to success.

Bobby Gill, driver of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford, was one of the many favorites that fell by the wayside due to carnage.

Gill, who started second, swept around the Clay Rogers, who inherited the pole as Huffman dropped to the back, at the start of the race and led until Lap 55.

While trying to lap Bud Kenny, Gill made contact with the Virginia driver. Kenny spun in front of the leaders, collecting Gill in the fray. Matt Carter, driver of the No. 22 HeavyTruckDealers.com Ford, and Rogers received some damage from the accident but were able to continue. Gill eventually returned to the race, but the three-time champion finished 27th.

With most of the leaders coming to pit road for service after the caution, Brad Rogers, driver of the No. 29 Schaffer Manufacturing Ford, elected to stay on the track and pick up $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Halfway leader. Rogers led until coming to pit road on Lap 95.

Randy Gentry, who had yet to make a pit stop, cycled into the lead after Rogers pitted. But Gentry's time out front would be brief as Huffman was on the march.

On Lap 103, Huffman completed the run from the back to the front, bypassing Gentry, driver of the No. 19 HarrisonsWorkwear.com Chevrolet, for the lead. From there, Huffman still had to sweat out pressure from Clay Rogers, who made his way back to the front after receiving damage in the Gill incident. And with their history this season, tensions were high, especially with a green-white-checkered finish.

"I was expecting a bump from Clay," said Huffman, who used the bump-and-run to beat Rogers at New Smyrna. "I got him earlier in the year, and I know that's how it works. But I felt like I had a car good enough to win even if he bumped me."

Huffman wouldn't have to worry about that, however.

When the green flag waved for the final time at lap 151, Huffman was able to steer clear of Rogers and pick up his first win since New Smyrna in March. "I could stay with Shane for a couple of laps, but he would get away from us after a few laps," said Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki Ford. "We hurt the nose of the car in that wreck and it didn't handle as well after that."

Rogers' second-place finish was good enough for him to pad his point lead with Gill having problems.

Michael Ritch rebounded from his disappointing finish at Peach State by notching his third top-five finish in the last five races with a third-place showing at BMS.

"Our car was good, but we didn't have anything for Shane and Clay," said Ritch, driver of the No. 28 Jackaroo Pontiac. "It was tough out there tonight, but we'll take a top three."

Matt Carter climbed back to finish fourth and pick up $1,000 for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.

"I thought I had that wreck cleared, but Bobby [Gill] let the brake off and slid down the track and I didn't have anywhere to go," said Carter. "There really wasn't any damage and pitting then actually helped us." Although Carter picked up Miller Lite Rookie of the Race honors, he wasn't able to gain very much ground on Brad Rogers.

Even with the late-pit strategy, the younger Rogers made it back to fifth at the finish.

"We had the wrong pit strategy," said Rogers. "I think we had a car capable of winning the race, but we needed some more green laps." The race was slowed nine times for 63 laps of caution. There were four lead changes among four drivers.

Billy Bigley Jr., Joe Gaita, Randy Gentry, Daniel Johnson and Jeff Agnew rounded out the top 10.

Charging Gaita

Joe Gaita, driver of the No. 42 US Insurance Group/SPEEDCO Truck Lubes Ford, seems to make the most out of adversity. After starting 28th, Gaita charged to seventh at the finish and picked up $500 for being the Hard Charger Award.

It was Gaita's second top-10 finish since being relieved from the No. 06 ride.

Short Return

Jason Sarvis made a brief return to ProCup action at Bristol Motor Speedway. Sarvis, driver of the No. 36 Food City Pontiac, made just 21 laps before retiring from the race.

Good Runs Cut Short

Jeremy Bowser was running in the top 10 for much of the night before being collected in an accident on Lap 91. Bowser, driver of the No. 58 RaceFansDating.com Ford, was making just his second start of the season.

David Pletcher was also running near the top 10 when he was collected in an accident on Lap 33.

Northern Struggles

Jeff Agnew, driver of the No. 73 NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevrolet, was the only Northern Division driver to finish in the top 10. Agnew finished 10th after starting 13th.

D.J. Kennington wasn't far behind Agnew, coming home 13th after starting 29th.

Mardy Lindley broke on Lap 21 and finished 33rd.

Saving For Lakeland

Clay Rogers smacked the wall in practice. But rather than breaking out the backup, Rogers elected to repair the primary.

"We thought about bringing out the other car," said Rogers. "But with Lakeland coming up, we felt like we could fix this car and keep the other one for Lakeland."

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Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Billy Bigley , D.J. Kennington , Shane Huffman , Jeff Agnew