USAR: Concord: Northern Division race report

Bobby Gill Wins Turn 4 Pizza 250 Three-time champion picks up his 40th career win Concord, NC-Wins don't come easy, not even for Bobby Gill. Bobby Gill worked Clay Rogers for the final 45 laps of the Turn 4 Pizza 250 presented by Tucson at ...

Bobby Gill Wins Turn 4 Pizza 250
Three-time champion picks up his 40th career win

Concord, NC-Wins don't come easy, not even for Bobby Gill.

Bobby Gill worked Clay Rogers for the final 45 laps of the Turn 4 Pizza 250 presented by Tucson at Concord Motorsport Park on Saturday night.

On a restart on Lap 247, Gill, driver of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford, slid underneath Rogers going into Turn 1, cleared the defending Pro Cup champion through the dogleg and went on to collect his first win of '05.

"The last 50 laps, I drove my butt off," said Gill. "I got a good jump on Clay and left [the car] in third [gear] until I got through the dogleg. I just got enough in front of him and went on."

Gill went on to pick up his 40th Pro Cup victory and kept Rogers from winning his third race at his home track.

"I lost a cylinder about 75 laps from the end," said Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki/Baird Transport Ford. "I used the top of track to my advantage and raced Bobby clean. If he feels good about winning the race by sticking me in the fence with a car that was on seven cylinders, that's fine."

Gill had a different view of the late-race contact.

"There was contact all night long, especially in the last 50 laps, but I let him go," said Gill. "What does he expect with three to go when a guy is that far up beside you? He'd a done the same thing."

Had the contact erupted into an accident, another Rogers may have been the beneficiary.

Brad Rogers, Clay's younger brother, stayed within earshot of the leaders for much of the second half of the race.

Rogers, driver of the No. 29 Killingsworth Environmental Ford, finished the night in third. Although Rogers didn't threaten for the win in the waning stages, he was enthused with podium finish during his part-time season.

"I'm just extremely happy to be here," said Rogers. "We've had problems trying to make the last three races. But with some sponsorship help, Bill Boger and Clay's team helping us out, we we're back tonight. We had a good car, but we just couldn't beat them up off the corners at the end of the race."

In first 25 laps of the race, the sophomore driver could beat most everyone off the corners.

After starting second in the 32-car field, Rogers jumped out in the front of Advance Auto Parts Polesitter Shane Huffman and built a 10-car length lead over the field in the first 10 laps.

Huffman, driver of the No. 81 Knight's Companies Ford, pulled back in on Rogers by Lap 11 and started to look for a way around the 2004 Southern Division Rookie of the Year.

On Lap 26, Huffman dove underneath Rogers and pulled alongside, but Rogers used the highline to hold Huffman at bay. Four laps later, Huffman tried the high side as the lead duo raced for the start/finish line, but he ran out of room.

As Rogers pushed up and into Huffman off the final turn, Huffman tried to gather in the 3,300-lb. machine, but to no avail. The point leader nosed into the outside wall on Lap 30. The damage put Huffman behind the wall for 42 laps before he returned to finish 27th.

With Huffman out of the picture, it was the Rogers' show for much of the first half of the event. Brad led the first 64 laps before Clay took over from Lap 65 to 129. But the brothers weren't without challenge.

Mark McFarland, driver of the No. 32 WINFUEL Chevy, and Shane Wallace, driver of the No. 38 Ford, running third and fourth, respectively, followed Clay past Brad. McFarland was able to pull even with the defending Pro Cup champion on two occasions, but he couldn't complete the pass on Lap 99. After moving past McFarland for second, Wallace took his shot at the lead three laps later, but he, too, was unable to wrestle the top spot away from Rogers. Wallace and McFarland followed Rogers to pit road on Lap 126, but they wouldn't be factors for the win in the second half.

Wallace lost 10 spots on his pit stop after being blocked in, but he did charge to finish fourth.

"I came in the pits and got blocked in, and I was pretty upset about it," said Wallace. "I just had to drive my heart out to get back up there. I felt like we had the car to beat out there, but we've got to put the whole package together."

McFarland didn't lose time on pit road, but he couldn't make any up in the second half of the Turn 4 Pizza 250. After returning to the track in third, McFarland finished the night in fifth.

"We're getting closer, but there are some things we're still coming up short on," said McFarland, who picked up his first top-five finish. "I'm still happy to get fifth and being able to race with the leaders at the end of the race instead of watching them race from the pits or a lap down. We had a good car in the first half, but it kind of screwed up in the second half. It doesn't take much as competitive as this series is."

McFarland wasn't the only driver to pick up his career-best finish in the Turn 4 Pizza 250.

Jake Hobgood, driver of the No. 64 Ford, raced his way to sixth at the finish and added $1,000 to his purse for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.

Matt Carter, Steve Wallace, Daniel Johnson and Chase Pistone, who won the Mr. Gasket Hard Charger Award, rounded out the top 10.

Despite being disappointed about not winning, Clay Rogers picked up $1,500 in bonus money. Rogers won $500 for being the Greased Lightning "Blast the Pack" Award recipient for leading a race-high 154 laps and added $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader.

The race was slowed 11 times for 76 laps of caution.

There were 10 lead changes among five drivers.

Turn 4 Pizza 250 Notebook

Don't Watch Others

Jay Fogleman, driver of the No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford, finished practice fifth on the speed charts and felt he had a shot at the Advance Auto Parts Pole. Then he did something he never does: watch other drivers qualify.

"We had a car that was probably the best car I've ever had at Concord," said Fogleman. "The worst thing I did was to go get up on the hauler when qualifying started and watched the other drivers qualify. I let that influence my decisions about my racecar. I should've been worrying about myself and not worrying about what everybody else was doing."

Fogleman finished 13th after starting 21st.

Don't Listen To Others

As a rookie in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, Jake Hobgood has been all ears in the pit area, trying to pick up any setup secrets that may be offered. But for the first four races, what worked for others, didn't work for Hobgood.

"You hear this, and you hear that about what setups guys are running," said Hobgood, a former Goody's Dash champion. "We went through the front-end geometry on the car, and we just put a setup in the car that we thought would work. And it was awesome tonight."

Point Shakeup

With Shane Huffman suffering his second DNF of the season, Clay Rogers vaulted into the point lead with his second-place finish. Huffman touted a 58-point lead coming into the Turn 4 Pizza 250, but he fell 24 points behind Rogers for the Southern Division point lead.

Bobby Gill jumped from 10th to third in the standings after picking up his first win of the season.

Mike Garvey dropped from fifth to ninth after a disappointing 19th-place finish.

King Kong Sighting

King Kong was seen at the Turn 4 Pizza 250 at Concord Motorsport Park sitting on the back of George Brunnhoelzl III, driver of the No. 20 Tucson Ford. Brunnhoelzl has been a fixture in the top 10 all season, but just not at the finish. And it was the same story on Saturday night.

After missing much of practice with mechanical problems, Brunnhoelzl was clawed his way into the top five in the second half of the race, only to have a fitting come loose on the rear end. Brunnhoelzl lost two laps while repairing the car and finished 16th.

"The quick change cover on the rear end backed off," said a dejected Brunnhoelzl. "I don't know what we have to do to get rid of the bad luck. We have good cars, a good team and good sponsors. I don't know what I have to do, but I've got to do something to turn this luck around."

Seven Better Than Eight?

For the second time this season, a car on seven cylinders has had a chance to win in the Hooters Pro Cup Series.

At South Georgia Motorsports Park, Mark McFarland was able to get under Shane Huffman late in the race while running on seven cylinders. At Concord Motorsport Park, Clay Rogers nearly held off Bobby Gill while running on seven cylinders.

"I think [running on seven cylinders] might have helped Clay," said Gill. "He was just jerking me through the dogleg because he could mash it wide open and not spin the wheels."


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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Mark McFarland , Mike Garvey , Shane Huffman , Steve Wallace , George Brunnhoelzl III