USAR: Illiana: Race report

Agnew gets the win at Illiana Motor Speedway SCHERERVILLE, IN - After back-to-back disappointments, Jeff Agnew proved that the third time is the charm. Agnew took the lead away from Derrick Kelley on lap 170 and led the remainder of the ...

Agnew gets the win at Illiana Motor Speedway

SCHERERVILLE, IN - After back-to-back disappointments, Jeff Agnew proved that the third time is the charm.

Agnew took the lead away from Derrick Kelley on lap 170 and led the remainder of the Miller Lite 250 at Illiana Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The win came after near misses at New River Valley and Big Daddy's South Boston Speedways.

''We've had a good car all year long, but we had some tough races'' said Agnew. ''But if you didn't have a little bit of bad luck, you wouldn't be able to appreciate the good luck.''

Though luck may have been on Angew's side on Saturday night, the Floyd, VA driver's setup didn't hurt things either.

Agnew led the race's first 119 laps before heading to pit road for service. While Agnew and most of the of the lead lap cars came to the attention of their crews, Jay Fogleman decided to stay on the track and pocket $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader.

Fogleman's time at the front, however, would be brief as Jason McLellan, who was on fresh Goodyear tires, needed just three green-flag laps to make the pass for the lead. McLellan had clear race track after taking the lead, but the action behind the Canadian driver became a bit murky as Kertus Davis and Kelley made contact battling for the second position. Davis miraculously avoided knocking down the turn four wall after the contact, but the Silver City, SC driver did lose several positions trying to wrangle his ride under control.

Rookie Joel Kauffman took a shot at second laps later, but he wasn't as fortunate as Davis. The contact between Kauffman and Kelley sent the LaGrange, IN driver around in turn four and to the end of the field for the restart.

Kelley made the most of the second spot when the green waved, sliding around the outside of McLellan and taking the lead on lap 145. But Kelley's time at the front would be short-lived as Agnew's march to the front continued.

Agnew took the long way around Kelley, who led 25 laps after starting 21st, on lap 170, easing to the high side off of four and carrying the momentum to the stripe. Agnew led the remainder of the Miller Lite 250, but it was no joy ride for the Northern Division points leader. Davis, third-place runner Hal Goodson, and a gaggle of late-race restarts kept Agnew in check.

The race's 16th and final caution waved on lap 248, setting up green-white-checkered finish. And Davis made his presence known. ``I figured I'd rattle his cage a little bit there at the end as Earnhardt would say,'' said Davis. ``I just wanted to get by him, and I'm sure he would do the same to me.''

Davis laid the fender to Agnew coming to the white flag and continued to pressure Agnew during the final circuit of the flat, half-mile oval. But Davis' last-ditch effort was to no avail as Agnew pulled away from Davis and Goodson down the backstretch and beat the challenging duo to the checkered.

``Kertus got a good run. It seemed like Kertus, Brian [Ross] and a lot of them were better getting into the corner than we were,'' said Agnew. ``But I was waiting a long time to get in the gas and get the car squared up going down the straight-aways. I might have been being a little tentative, but Kertus got a good run and there he was.''

Agnew beat Davis to the final flag by .393 seconds. Goodson advanced 10 positions during the night to finish third. Scott Baker picked up the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race award and an extra $1,000 for his fourth-place finish. Baker also took home an additional $500 for the Hard Charger Award. Baker advanced 15 positions during the night. Jay Fogleman rounded out the top five.

The race was slowed 16 times for 82 laps of caution.

-usar-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Kertus Davis , Joel Kauffman , Jeff Agnew