USAR: Jennerstown 'Champions series' race report

Jennerstown, PA - While the tragic events of September 11, 2001 might have created a change in the number of championship events, the first-ever playoff-type format began Saturday night for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series in Jennerstown, ...

Jennerstown, PA - While the tragic events of September 11, 2001 might have created a change in the number of championship events, the first-ever playoff-type format began Saturday night for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania.

Shane Huffman was clearly the class of the field as he dominated the Charlie Campbell Memorial Hooters 250 at Jennerstown Speedway. Huffman, who had not won a Hooters ProCup Series race prior to this season, captured his fourth win of the 2001 season, outlasting an all-star field of 40 cars.

Derrick Kelley and Brian Vickers had a photo-finish at the line for second place, with Kelley getting the spot by .006 of a second. Jeff Agnew finished fourth and Jay Fogleman completed the top-five.

"We had an absolutely awesome car tonight," said an ecstatic Huffman from victory lane. "I can't thank Randy Wilhoit and everyone at Johnsonville enough for giving me the support to be here tonight and put their car in victory lane."

Huffman won the Sunoco Pole Award and quickly pulled away from outside pole winner Jason Sarvis to lead the first 133 laps of the race. Sarvis remained close to Huffman and appeared to be one of the few cars that could run with Huffman.

While running second on lap 130, all hopes for a good finish ended when Sarvis' Chevrolet ran out of fuel. Sarvis was unable to make it back to pit road bringing out a caution and eliminating Sarvis' chances for a win.

Sarvis' bad luck was an opportunity for the lead lap cars to pit as Huffman led a brigade of 14 cars down pit road for fuel and tires on lap 132. This gave the lead to Kelley who had pitted earlier, on lap 73.

Kelley led until lap 171 when Huffman passed for the lead and never looked back the rest of the night.

"We knew we had to run hard and finish as high as we could if we wanted to move up in the points," added Huffman.

Steve Christian finished sixth and Hal Goodson followed in seventh. Mario Gosselin finished eighth and two-time defending USAR Hooters ProCup Series champion Bobby Gill was ninth. Bill Plemons, Jr. ran a solid race and finished tenth.

The race was slowed a total of 10 times for caution with several multi-car incidents during the night.

On lap 20 Charlie Ford slowed on the track and forced the field to check up; Donnie Hill and Kevin Sasser were involved in an incident. Mechanical problems forced Ford to the pits and he never returned.

The third caution flag of the night followed on lap 70 when Toby Robertson spun on the back stretch and Mart Nesbitt slowed to avoid, was collected and spun forcing Chad Beahr to the inside retaining wall.

The final multi-car incident brought out the final caution of the night when Lonnie Rush and Sean Studer got together in turn three forcing Studer into the outside retaining wall.

Gill and Mardy Lindley entered the race as co-point leader based on their regular season performances.

Gill finished in the top-10, while Lindley finished the race as the final car on the lead lap in 12th.

Huffman was also able to collect 15 bonus points for leading the most laps, the halfway leader and lap leader bonuses to propel him into the points lead after round one with 295. Gill follows closely with 294. Lindley is still within seven points at 288 with Vickers and Agnew completing the top-five with 275 and 265 points respectively.

Donnie Hill leads the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year standings by two points over Daniel Johnson based on current point standings, while Robertson was the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.

Huffman collected a $1,000 bonus from Sunoco for winning the pole award and $1,250 from Lucas for winning the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award.

Kelley advanced 32 positions in the race to win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award.

Six drivers did not qualify for the race; Kyle Shoemaker, Richard Hampton, B.J. Underdown, John Julicher, Joe Harrison, Jr. and Jabe Jones. Harrison and Jones both suffered damage to their cars during practice. Jones attempted to qualify a back-up car while Harrison suffered too much damage when his car caught fire after backing into the turn three wall.

Mike Laughlin, Jr. lost his primary car in practice but was able to go to a back-up car and finished 11th, on the lead lap.

The USAR Hooters ProCup Series returns to action at Myrtle Beach, SC with the running of the Mark Brooks Memorial Hooters 250 presented by Alabama Theatre at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday October 13th. For more information please call 770-719-0204 or 843-236-0500.

-USAR-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Brian Vickers , Mario Gosselin , Shane Huffman