Hickory Starts Homestretch Lowes Foods 250 pivotal in point race Longs, S.C.-Clay Rogers' win at Myrtle Beach Speedway couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Rogers' third win of the season came on a night when Shane Huffman, who led the...
Hickory Starts Homestretch
Lowes Foods 250 pivotal in point race
Longs, S.C.-Clay Rogers' win at Myrtle Beach Speedway couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
Rogers' third win of the season came on a night when Shane Huffman, who led the points going into Myrtle Beach, stumbled and finished 23rd, which resulted in Rogers leaving the MBS with a 72-point lead in the Southern Division points with five races remaining.
"In the past, something like that would excite me," Rogers said of Huffman's misfortune. "But I know how hard you have to work to fix these cars and to have a car that good."
And Rogers should know about having good cars.
Rogers' only blemish in the Southern Division came at South Georgia Motorsports Park in the second race of the season. After that, the 2004 Hooters Pro Cup Series champion has finished in the top six in the past five races. During that span, Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Automotive Development Group Ford, jumped from sixth to first in points by averaging a 2.4 finish.
Huffman, driver of the No. 88 Champion Chevrolet, had been just as good-or better-than Rogers in recent months before an accident at Myrtle Beach dropped him from the top of the point standings. The 2003 Hooters Pro Cup champion strung together three wins and a second-place finish over the four races leading up to Myrtle Beach.
The two drivers have been nearly inseparable all season in the points and on the track. That should be a trend that continues throughout the season, according to Rogers.
"Both teams are extremely prepared," said Rogers. "Shane has a great group of guys that have a lot of knowledge, and we do too. It's going to be a tight battle down to the end of the season. I just can't afford to have any nights like Shane had at Myrtle Beach."
Huffman will look to erase the bad memories from Myrtle Beach by returning to victory lane at Hickory Motor Speedway this weekend.
But if the dynamic duo stumbles in the Southern Division, a familiar face is lurking right behind them. Bobby Gill, driver of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford, has two DNFs this season, but his 3.0-average finish in his other five races has kept him in the thick of the point race.
"We're going to some tracks that I'm good at," said Gill. "As long as we're there in the top three, we've got a shot."
The homestretch for the Southern Division starts with the Lowes Foods 250 presented by Crane Cams at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on July 8.
Race No. 8 of 12 for the Southern Division is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start time.
Fans are encouraged to come out early and watch Advance Auto Parts Pole Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. Following qualifying, the Allison Legacy Series will run a 50-lap feature starting at 5:15 p.m. The on-track autograph session will start at 6:45 p.m.
WHAT: Lowes Foods 250 presented by Crane Cams
Race No. 16 of 30 (Southern Division Race 8 of 12)
WHERE: Hickory Motor Speedway - Hickory, NC
.363-mile, slightly-banked asphalt oval
WHEN: Saturday, July 8, 2006 - 8 p.m. (ET)
DISTANCE: 250 Laps/91 Miles
POSTED AWARDS: $126,649 (Includes $36,400 Point Fund)
TELEVISION: SPEED Channel, Wednesday, July 12, 2006 (4 p.m. ET)
SPEED Channel, Friday, July 14, 2006 (9 a.m. ET)
Saturday, July 8, 2006:
12 Noon Pro Cup Practice Begins
2 p.m. Pro Cup Practice Ends
4:30 p.m. Front Gates Open
4:45 p.m. Pro Cup Qualifying Time Trials
6:45 p.m. Autograph Session
7:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies
8 p.m. Lowes Foods 250 presented by Crane Cams