USAR: Greenville-Pickens Race Review

Toby Porter returns to USAR Hooters ProCup action in dominating style - collects first Hooters Procup win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway GREENVILLE, SC - Under a full moon and a full house at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Piedmont State race fans...

Toby Porter returns to USAR Hooters ProCup action in dominating style - collects first Hooters Procup win at Greenville-Pickens Speedway

GREENVILLE, SC - Under a full moon and a full house at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Piedmont State race fans watched hometown favorite Toby Porter make a triumphant return to USAR Hooters ProCup Series action in the Dan Duncan Memorial Hooters 250.

The 24-year-old Greenville, SC, resident started the third of the Four Champions Challenge races from the inside of the second row and took the lead just 30 laps into the 250-lap ground pounding action on the half-mile oval.

"This is awesome," a very jubilant Porter said. "This is really great. We've been close so many times this year but ran into some bad luck and had not been able to finish the race. Oh man! You always want to do really well when you come to your home track, but to win in front of all of my family and friends. I just can't describe the feeling."

Porter tried to show his excitement on the front-stretch of the Greenville-Pickens Speedway when he did more than eight 360's to the cheers of the fans. And when the smoke cleared, it was Porter who took home the spoils of the $81,750 in posted awards.

"This team has done an incredible job getting this car ready," said Porter. "We've been putting in 16-hour days for the last three weeks trying to get it together. Jay Hedgecock built us a great car, Carrera gave us some great shocks - without their support we wouldn't have been able to put this B&B Pools Chevy Monte Carlo into victory lane.

"I kept looking in my mirror to see if Gill or Christian were gaining any ground on me. The two of them were tough all night. I just kept my foot in the gas and drove my race and tried to keep my tires under me. We had a great car right off the truck."

Porter led 186 circuits of the Dan Duncan Memorial and placed himself in the company of Derrick Kelley and Mario Gosselin to battle it out for $25,000 at the last of the Four Champions Challenge races at the season ending Alan Kulwicki Memorial Hooters 250 in Lakeland, FL.

From the onset of the Dan Duncan Memorial Hooters 250, it appeared that it would be the event for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year contenders to showcase their talents.

When the green flag was waived by Bonnie Duncan, daughter of Dan Duncan, it was the brand new No. 05 Aloe Lu-Ya Ford Taurus of Mardy Lindley that started from the $1,000 Discount Auto Parts Pole Award position with Miller Lite Rookie of the Year points leader Steven Christian on the outside of the front row.

Christian jumped out to an early lead in the No. 0 Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet but Lindley answered back on lap nine to take the lead for the next 21 circuits before Porter took control of the race pace.

Porter took the checkered with a .7-second margin of victory over runner-up Steve Christian. There were five lead changes among just three drivers. The grueling pace was slowed with five caution periods for 38 laps and one red flag for 8 minutes.

The red flag came out on lap 105 after the fourth-place car of Mardy Lindley and the lapped car of Mario Gosselin got together coming out of turn two, collecting Derrick Kelley and Brad Means on the backstretch. The incident left Lindley's No. 05 Aloe Lu-Ya Ford Taurus sitting on top of the inside backstretch wall. Lindley and Means were able to continue the event finishing many laps down.

Christian stretched his lead to 111 over Lindley in the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year points battle with his second place effort. He also collected the $1,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Race award.

In the closing stages of the race, it appeared that Christian, on fresher tires, may have had the car that was able to catch Porter.

"We had a super race car all night," said Christian. "The second set of tires had the car a little looser than I liked but Tony Clements built us a great motor. Our goal is to finish in the top-five from here to the end of the season. The remaining races are all at tracks that we have been to this year and I think that we have a good chance to win one of them. We are really excited about the effort that the Lucas Oil Products team is putting forth."

In the $1.5-million Series points race, points leader Bobby Gill finished third while point chaser Jay Fogleman finished fourth. The one position difference added just five points to Gill's lead over Fogleman.

"We were loose all race," said Gill, driver of the No. 5 Naturally Fresh Foods Ford Taurus. "The car is still in one piece and we picked up five points. It's not winning but we protected our points lead and at this stage that is just as important."

Fogleman started his Kentucky Fried Chicken/Premiere Motorsports Taurus 12th outside Gill.

"When I walked in the gate, I looked at all the past track champions on the wall. There are five of them and a half a dozen others that call Greenville-Pickens their home track in the race," said Fogleman. "We finished fourth. That's not too bad."

Mark Whitaker earned the W.J. Plemons Hard Charger Award with an 18th-place finish after starting 37th.

Johnny Rumley cracked the top-10 in his Blue Ridge Color Corp. Chevrolet, but was disqualified to last place after post-race inspection revealed a carburetor that did not meet USAR specifications.

The Dan Duncan Memorial Hooters 250 will be televised on Speedvision Sunday, October 3 at 8 p.m. and midnight eastern time and on Monday, October 4th at noon.

The next scheduled stop for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series will be back to the Gulf coast and the Mobile International Speedway Saturday, October 9. Fans can come early for qualifying at 4:30 p.m., the autograph session at 6 p.m and be in their seats before the green flag waves at 7 p.m.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Mario Gosselin , Brad Means , Johnny R , Alan Kulwicki