USAR: Illiana: Race report

Jeff Agnew Wins Walt's Foods 250 Schererville, IN--Jeff Agnew has lost with the fastest car on many occasions this season, so it only seemed fitting that he won without the best ride on Saturday night. Agnew took the lead away from on Lap 203...

Jeff Agnew Wins Walt's Foods 250

Schererville, IN--Jeff Agnew has lost with the fastest car on many occasions this season, so it only seemed fitting that he won without the best ride on Saturday night.

Agnew took the lead away from on Lap 203 and led to the finish of the Walt's Foods 250 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Illiana Motor Speedway.

"We probably had a third- or fourth-place car," said Agnew, driver of the No. 73 NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevy. "Lady Luck must have fallen on us tonight."

Others, however, weren't as fortunate.

Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, was any early factor, leading from Lap 43 to 154, but the Dubois, Pa., driver ran out of fuel on Lap 156. By the time the Northern Division point leader limped to pit road, he had lost four laps.

"I just ran out of gas," said Gordon, who had won the last three races. "We had an awesome race car, led the most laps and led at halfway, but we needed a caution. We didn't the caution, and we ran out of gas."

Gordon was able to make up one of his laps and finished the race in ninth.

Gary St. Amant was another driver with a car capable of winning, but the opportunity for his second win of the season slipped away on Lap 202.

After starting shotgun on the field for being late to the drivers meeting, St. Amant charged towards the front of the field by the halfway mark, moving into second place behind Gordon. When Gordon dropped from the pace, St. Amant made his first trip out front on Lap 155. Still needing to make a pit stop himself, St. Amant, driver of the No. 11 Jegs.com Chevy, relinquished the lead to Agnew on Lap 164. But the Northern Division Rookie of the Year wasted little time getting back out front once his mandatory stop was finished, retaking the lead on Lap 195 from Agnew.

St. Amant appeared to be en route to victory after bypassing Agnew. But coming to the green flag on Lap 202, St. Amant made an uncharacteristic mistake.

"I just missed a shift," said St. Amant.

The Columbus, Ohio, driver not only lost the lead as a result of the missed shift, but he lost all chances at victory when Agnew made contact with him.

"It wasn't Jeff's fault," said St. Amant. "I just missed a shift, and he got into me and I got into the wall. I knocked the spoiler off the car, and I was just pretty much hanging on. I probably should have been more patient and saw what I had for a car after the contact, but I overdrove it into [Turn 1], lost it and hit the wall."

Even without Gordon and St. Amant to contend with, Agnew still wasn't out of the woods as nemesis Johnny Rumley, driver of the No. 8 Lucas Oil Pontiac, moved into second.

However, Rumley, who won his seventh Advance Auto Parts Pole Award, didn't have enough to chase down the leader and finished .672 sec. behind Agnew.

"We could catch Jeff, but we couldn't pass him," said Rumley, who led the first 42 laps of the event. "It's was a good point night for us, and I didn't hit anybody out there tonight I don't think."

Danny Sammons, driver of the No. 97 Ford, knocked out another solid finish by coming home third.

"I'm very happy about finishing third," said Sammons. "The crew did a great job and got us some positions. We might have been able to get the car better if we would have come in and pitted late, but track position was so important and we stayed out there and got a top-three finish."

Mardy Lindley, driver of the No. 16 Hooters Air Ford, finished fourth. Sam Fullone, driver of the No. 48 Pero Vegetables Ford, picked up Miller Lite Rookie of the Race honors with his fifth-place finish.

Brian Ross, Jimmy Spencer Jr., Logan Dernoshek, Gordon and Greg Van Alst rounded out the top 10.

The race was slowed eight times for 60 laps of caution.

There were six lead changes among four drivers.

Agnew, Spencer Jr. and Van Alst split the Hard Charger Award.

First Five

After crashing out early at South Boston, Sam Fullone showed up in the Walt's Foods 250 ready to erase the memories of his bad run. And he did just that.

Fullone notched his first top-five finish and picked up his first Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award.

"We got a lap down early, and we got it back," said Fullone, driver of the No. 48 Pero Vegetables Chevy. "That was pretty good luck, finally. We just tried to keep the fenders on it and be there at the end. It worked out for us tonight."

Joyful Jimmy

Jimmy Spencer Jr., driver of the No. 36 Bill Miller Equipment Sales Chevy, nabbed his first top-10 finish of the season in the Walt's Foods 250. After starting 13th, Spencer Jr. finished seventh.

"I just have to thank my mom, dad and God, who blessed me with this talent," said Spencer Jr. "The guys put good cars out here every week. I wanted to finish on the lead lap, but I'll take a top-10 finish anytime."

Logan's Run

Logan Dernoshek was another driver to post a career-best finish in the Walt's Foods 250. Dernoshek, driver of the No. 10 Pontiac, started 12th and finished eighth.

"It helped that some of the top guys had some trouble tonight, but we hung in there," said Dernoshek. "We made a little adjustment on the pit stop and it worked out. We're going to work on our shock package and horsepower, and we should get better."

Gritty Greg

Greg Van Alst joined in the on the night of firsts, notching his first top-10 finish of the season. Van Alst started 16th and finished 10th.

"We had to work for this one," said Van Alst, driver of the No. 35 Chevy. "It didn't get handed to us. I think rear end was going out on the car, and I didn't think it was going to make it to the end. But we just didn't ever give up."

Time Warp

Since switching to the BFGoodrich Tires Traction T/A radial, HPC drivers have lowered the track record at seven tracks during the season. Johnny Rumley made it eight in the Walt's Foods 250.

Rumley's lap of 20.300 sec. bested the previous mark of 20.310 sec. set by Jeff Agnew last year.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Brian Ross , Johnny R , Jeff Agnew