USAR: Five Flags: Race report, notes

Pensacola, FL (March 16, 2002) -- Not even a fog rolling in over the track could keep Bobby Gill out of victory lane Saturday night. Gill held off Hal Goodson by .536 seconds to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by NAPA Auto Care Centers...

Pensacola, FL (March 16, 2002) -- Not even a fog rolling in over the track could keep Bobby Gill out of victory lane Saturday night. Gill held off Hal Goodson by .536 seconds to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by NAPA Auto Care Centers at Five Flags Speedway. Steve Christian finished third and Derrick Kelley followed fourth as the only cars to finish the race on the lead lap. Kertus Davis completed the top-five.

"I was able to get a good jump on Hal during that last restart and we were able to hold him off for the win," said Gill."I enjoy racing here and this makes two in a row for us at this track. I had some fun early in the race and then Hal came on strong there at the end, so we had to work to stay out front."

Goodson remained in the top-10 throughout much of the race and moved into the top-five by lap 199, after a restart from a five-car incident brought out the seventh of nine cautions during the race. Goodson moved into second place, passing Christian, and stayed within three car lengths of Gill for the remainder of the race.

"Bobby was just really good tonight," said Goodson."I gave it everything I had but we just couldn’t get by him. We have a great team and car owners in Diane and Ricky Benton and I know we are going to get into victory lane soon."

Gill began the race in fourth place and quickly moved to the top spot by lap 14 when he passed pole-sitter Shane Huffman. He remained out front until he pitted under caution on lap 106. Kertus Davis took over for seven laps before Huffman regained the lead on lap 114.

Clay Rogers made a solid return to the Hooters ProCup Series when he took the lead on lap 128. Christian passed for the lead and led for another 28 laps before Gill took over on lap 165, remaining there until Christian passed him on a restart on lap 200. His lead was short; Gill passed Christian back on lap 203 and never trailed again.

The race was slowed nine times by caution, with several multi-car incidents on the track, highlighted by a six-car accident on lap 64 that brought out a 13-minute red flag period. Mark Whitaker, Roger Blackstock, Ray Peele, Royce Johnston, Jabe Jones and Ken McFarland were all involved.

Another multi-car incident resulted in disciplinary action taken by USAR officials after two drivers were cited for rough driving penalties.

Don Satterfield and Mike Willaims made contact down the front stretch on lap 80 and the two made hard contact in turn one, sending both cars into the wall collecting Mart Nesbitt, John Kinder and Whitaker. Satterfield and Williams were both parked for the night for rough driving and disqualified for their actions on the track.

Rogers finished sixth and Toby Robertson followed in seventh with Lee Tissot eighth. Billy Mowery won the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race with his ninth-place finish and Huffman completed the top-10. Huffman collected an extra $2,000 in bonuses winning the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader of the Race Award and the Pole Award.

Rookie Jay Blair advanced 17 positions in the race to win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award and Gill led the most laps to collect the Southern Pride Lap Leader Award.

Gill leads 2002 USAR Hooters ProCup Series point standings by 40 points over second-place Steve Christian. Goodson moved into third place with his strong finish; Shane Huffman and Kertus Davis complete the top five.

The USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division returns to the Sunshine State for its first race at New Smyrna Speedway on April 6th.

Notes:
Thirty-nine cars entered the race with Free Pennington crashing during practice and Jeremy Bowser suffering mechanical problems before qualifying. Jeremy Pate failed to qualify a car owned by Scott York after suffering mechanical problems during his qualifying attempt.

Roger Blackstock made his first USAR Hooters ProCup Series race at Five Flags Speedway. Blackstock, from Shelby Township, Michigan, is a former competitor on the ARCA series and will run for points in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series Northern Division this season.

Michael Strother, Ken McFarland, and Vince Fanello joined Blackstock making their first-ever starts in the Series.

Bobby Gill, Steve Christian, and Shane Huffman are the only drivers to finish in the top-five in both races so far this season.

Gill added to his series-best mark in career wins with his 20th win in 60 starts since 1999.

Clay Rogers returned to the USAR Hooters ProCup Series after a one-year absence. The 2000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year runner-up finished sixth this weekend and led 9 laps.

Billy Mowery finished a good week on a very positive note. The Clearwater, Florida driver signed a four-race sponsorship deal with Washington Mutual Finance and collected his first career top-10 finish in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series finishing ninth.

One driver noticeably absent from the race was 1997 Series champion Mario Gosselin. Gosselin expects to drive at New Smyrna Speedway after repairs to his motor are completed.

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Kertus Davis , Mario Gosselin , Shane Huffman
Teams Williams