Jennerstown, PA--When the best of the best get together, Shane Huffman has been better than the rest of late. Huffman passed Bobby Gill on Lap 118 and led to the finish of the Charlie Campbell Memorial BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Hess...
Jennerstown, PA--When the best of the best get together, Shane Huffman has been better than the rest of late.
Huffman passed Bobby Gill on Lap 118 and led to the finish of the Charlie Campbell Memorial BFGoodrich Tires 250 presented by Hess Racing Products at Jennerstown Speedway on Saturday night.
With the win, Huffman, who won the Southern Division season finale at Bristol, has won three Championship Series events in a row four of the last six Championship races.
"These guys' never-give-up attitude is what won us these races," said Huffman, driver of the No. 84 John Morrell Dinner Bell Ford. "We weren't that good in practice. We went back over the car like we do at the shop, and we found a couple of things wrong. We threw a lot of things at the car to make it better, but I'd be lying if I thought [the car] would have been that dominant."
All told, Huffman led a race-high 184 laps. But the last 50 laps, the 2003 Hooters ProCup Champion looked like he may have some company before the checkered flag waved.
Jeff Agnew, driver of the No. 73 NGA Hooters Golf Tour Chevy, slipped past Clay Rogers to take over second on Lap 168. Agnew was 2.6 sec. behind Huffman after taking over the second spot, but the Floyd, Va., driver trimmed the lead down to 1.5 sec. by Lap 199.
Huffman's lead was literally washed away on Lap 200, when a brief shower brought out the sixth caution of the night. Once the race restarted on Lap 211, Agnew didn't have much for Huffman, however, and Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, wanted to show both what he had.
Gordon made his way around Agnew for second on Lap 226 and trimmed Huffman's lead to under a second, but on Lap 236 Gordon cut a tire and hit the outside wall in Turn 4. Gordon finished 20th.
After Gordon's crash, Agnew again closed in on the leader for the restart, but, once again, he had nothing for Huffman.
"We needed some long green-flag runs before our car came in," said Agnew. "We could run Shane down on long runs, but we were too tight on short runs. And Shane may have been holding back."
That may have been true.
After taking the lead from Mardy Lindley, driver of the No. 16 Hooters Air Ford, on Lap 54, Huffman built leads of up to five seconds over the field in the first half of the race.
While three late-race cautions and charges by Agnew and Gordon didn't allow Huffman much breathing room at the end of the race, the Hickory, N.C., driver turned up the wick when he needed to build a cushion. On Lap 244, Huffman turned his fastest lap of the race and beat Agnew to the checkered flag by 1.06 sec.
After an up-and-down night, Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki/Baird Auto Transport Ford, rallied to finish third.
"We just made some huge adjustments on the car during the race," said Rogers, who came into the BFGoodrich Tires 250 with a No. 1 seed after winning the Southern Division title. "I can't say enough about our pit crew. We came into pit in seventh and came out in third. Shane was the class of the field, but we're happy to take third and get out of here with the point lead." Rogers should be happy, because a charging Gary St. Amant, driver of the No. 11 JEGS.com Chevy, pressured the point leader for the third spot all the way to the stripe.
"Our pit crew got us out of pits in fifth, and I owe this finish to them," said St. Amant, who finished fourth and picked up $1,000 for winning the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race. "Clay got by us and that cost us, because I thought we might have something for Agnew. But we're tickled to get out of here with a top-five finish."
Bobby Gill, driver of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford, was the only driver besides Lindley and Huffman to lead laps, but the 3-time champion couldn't hold his speed at the end and finished fifth.
After winning the pole, Mardy Lindley led 53 laps, but he was forced to park on Lap 138 with mechanical failure.
The race was slowed eight times for 67 laps of caution.
There were four lead changes among three drivers.
BFGoodrich Tires 250 Notebook
Traction T/A Day
The BFGoodrich Tires 250 couldn't have been a better showplace for the BFGoodrich Tires Traction T/A radials. The Traction T/A radial, introduced to the Hooters ProCup Series in 2004, had a hand in eight new-track record during the regular season, but that failed to compare with the record-breaking speeds put up at Jennerstown.
Thirty-five of the 47 drivers to make qualifying runs broke the track record set by Charlie Ford in 2001.
With just five races to settle who will acquire the bulk $1.2 million in Championship monies, drivers needed to get off to a good start in the BFGoodrich Tires 250 to stay in the chase for the championship. Unfortunately for Mardy Lindley and Jay Fogleman, they didn't get of to a good start.
Lindley dropped from fourth to 15th in points after finishing 34th, and Fogleman, driver of the No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford, dropped from sixth to 17th after finishing 33rd. Lindley and Fogleman ran 1-2 for the first 35 laps of the race.
While Fogleman and Lindley had disappointing runs in the Championship Series opener, Danny O'Quinn Jr. was happy with his seventh-place run. And, well, he should be.
After starting 29th, O'Quinn Jr. lost a lap early and looked to be en route to a bad night.
"I was dreading the night before it started," said O'Quinn Jr., driver of the No. 02 Homesteader Trailers Chevy. "We really weren't good in the first half of the race, and then we made some major adjustments with some cross-weight. We didn't get the car where we needed it, but we were able to run with lead-lap cars and finished seventh."
O'Quinn Jr. split the Hard Charger Award with D.J. Kennington for advancing 22 positions during the race.
Glenn Gault, Eric Corbett, Logan Dernoshek and Todd Peck all went into the BFGoodrich Tires 250 with some local knowledge of the flat half-mile track, competing in the Super Late Model division at Jennerstown Speedway over the years. Peck, driver of the No. 40 Thomas Pit Road Ford, was the highest finisher of the hometown hopefuls.
Peck finished 14th.
After running in the top 10, Gault, driver of the No. 32 Edge Hotel Chevy, retired on Lap 118 with mechanical failure. Corbett, driver of the No. 75 Larry and Sons Ford, finished in 15th. Dernoshek was the last qualifier on time, but the Canonsburg, Pa., driver finished 18th.
Those may have been the first words out of David Pletcher's mouth once the checkered flag waved at Jennerstown.
Pletcher experienced mechanical problems during practice with his car. Without a backup, Pletcher turned to Randy Humphrey for some help. Humphrey pulled out his backup car and allowed Pletcher to race the car. Pletcher, driver of the No. 51 RaceFansDating.com Ford, brought Humphrey's car home with a 12th-place finish.