Bobby Gill Wins BFGoodrich Tires 250 Midland, N.C.-Clay Rogers always says that finishing second to Bobby Gill is like winning. If that's the case, there were two winners in the BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Stewart Warner Performance at ...
Bobby Gill Wins BFGoodrich Tires 250
Midland, N.C.-Clay Rogers always says that finishing second to Bobby Gill is like winning. If that's the case, there were two winners in the BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Stewart Warner Performance at Concord Motorsport Park on Saturday night.
Bobby Gill was able to fend off Rogers in a green-white-checkered finish to pick up his 35th career win and his first this season.
"This is Clay's home track, but I've been racing here since they put the dogleg in," said Gill, driver of the No. 5 Wine Room Ford. "Experience plays a big part at this track. I knew the track would get tight late in the race, and it did.
"On that last restart, Mardy Lindley [Gill's spotter] told me Clay was moving high in [Turn 1]. I moved up and tried to take his line away. Clay is a good racer, and he raced me clean."
And it showed. Rogers' car was one of the few that left the track without a scratch.
"Bobby's a good driver, and he's always raced me clean," said Rogers, driver of the No. 44 ToFF Sprayed-On Bedliners Ford. "We might lean on each other every now and then, but we never knock each other around. His car was good all day long where we struggled a little bit with ours."
While Clay was struggling to find handle on his car, his brother, Brad, didn't have any problems at the start.
The younger Rogers, driving the No. 29 Rinehart Mortgage Ford, swept around pole sitter Danny O'Quinn Jr., driver of the No. 02 Homesteader Trailers Chevy, as the green waved and pulled a sizable lead over the pack in the first handful of laps.
After the slow start, O'Quinn Jr. began to reel in Rogers by Lap 30. Four laps later, Gill, O'Quinn Jr. and Rogers were nose to tail navigating lapped traffic.
Clay Rogers, who started in the 11th spot, broke into the top five on Lap 35, bypassing Mike Laughlin Jr., driver of the No. 7 Home Zone Ford, for the position.
Gill moved past O'Quinn Jr. to take over second on Lap 42 and quickly began to pressure Brad Rogers for the lead.
After starting from the seventh position, Shane Huffman, driver of the No. 84 Stewart Warner Performance Ford, started making his way to the front in the first 100 laps. Huffman moved around Laughlin Jr. to take over the fourth spot on Lap 57 and passed O'Quinn Jr. to move into third on Lap 60.
Up front, Rogers led the field until Gill made his first trip out front on Lap 75. Huffman hounded Brad Rogers for 10 laps before eventually making his way around on Lap 91 to take over second. By that time, however, Gill had built nearly a two-second lead over Huffman. Huffman started to trim Gill's lead over the next 10 laps and caught the 3-time ProCup champion on Lap 101.
As the lead duo fought for the top spot, a pack of cars on the tail end of the lead lap collided in Turn 4 right in front of the leaders, pinning Gill and Huffman behind them and allowing Clay Rogers, running third, to take over the point on Lap 109. Rogers led the lead lap cars to pit lane under caution.
Huffman elected to stay on the track and took over the lead on Lap 111. Huffman, who picked up $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Products Halfway leader, stayed out front until Lap 164 when the 2003 champion came to pit lane for service under caution.
Gill made his way back to the point as Huffman pitted and Clay Rogers took over second.
Although they would remain that way until the checkered waved, there was plenty of hard racing left.
Like Huffman, Hal Goodson, driver of the No. 2 Black's Tire Service 75th Anniversary Chevy, waited until well past the halfway mark to take tires and was making a charge towards the front late in the event. Goodson climbed all the way into the fifth spot with 50 laps remaining. However, the Darlington native's charge to the top was quelled after tangling with Brad Rogers.
David Pletcher, driver of the No. 51 Charlotte Auto Wholesale Ford, was also making a late-race charge. After starting 23rd, Pletcher moved into third late in the event.
"My team worked great tonight," said Pletcher. "I just tried to stay out of trouble in the first half and save the car for the end."
Pletcher lost two spots late in the race, but he was able hold on to finish fifth and notch his first top-five finish of the season and pick up $500 for being the Hard Charger.
O'Quinn Jr., who won $1,000 for being the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award winner, also had his best finish of the season, ending the night in third.
"We lost second gear, and I had to start the race in third gear. They would pull away from us on the restarts. But on long runs, we could pull back in on them," said O'Quinn Jr. "We've had a good car all year, but we've just had some things happen to keep us from good finishes."
Jason Sarvis also had his best run of the season, coming home fourth.
While the third through fifth positions were being heavily contested late in the race, Gill and Rogers were also dicing it up at the top.
After a restart on Lap 208, Rogers was looking high and low for a way around Gill. Setting Gill up off of Turn 1, Rogers peeked to the inside of Gill three times in the last 20 laps, but he fell .208 second short at the finish.
Miller Lite Rookie of the Race
Tom Buzze picked up $1,000 for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race after finishing in sixth. It was Buzze's best finish of his career.
"Everybody is getting along on the team, and the chemistry is a lot better," said Buzze, driver of the No. 16 Naturally Fresh Foods Ford. "The car is starting to respond to the changes we're making. We qualified better than we ever have, and we finished better than we ever have. I just have to thank the Lord for a good night."
Buzze also had a little help this weekend from a short-track ace. Butch Miller helped Buzze and crew chief Haskell Willingham during the race.
"Butch is a guy that you just listen to and soak everything in," said Buzze.
Billy Bigley Jr. was the threatening for another top-five finish late in the race when his hood flew up, covering the windshield. Bigley Jr. drove the final laps trying to see around the obstruction. Bigley Jr. was able to hang on and finish 10th.
Team Hooters Challenge
Derek Cook of Charlotte, N.C., was the winner of the Team Hooters Challenge at Concord Motorsport Park. Cook received a $50 gift certificate to Hooters, a crew shirt and hat prior to the race. Cook was eligible for and extra $500 if he chose the correct winner of the BFGoodrich Tires 250, but his pick, Jay Fogleman, finished 11th.
Too Much Power?
Jason Sarvis, driving for Spencer Motorsport Ventures, unveiled a new car at Concord Motorsport Park. The new ride was impressive, but what was under the hood had Sarvis scratching his head.
"We got a good car, but that engine has more power than anything I've ever driven," said Sarivs, who uses Hutter Engines. "If I can every get all the power to the ground, we're going to win some races."