Rookie Brian Ross captures fifth win at Kil-Kare Speedway. Xenia, OH (July 5, 2002) - There are times when a good driver can carry an average race car to a top finish, but most times it requires the entire team& ...
Rookie Brian Ross captures fifth win at Kil-Kare Speedway.
Xenia, OH (July 5, 2002) - There are times when a good driver can carry an average race car to a top finish, but most times it requires the entire team’s contribution to put a good race car into victory lane. That was the case Friday night, as USAR Hooter ProCup Northern Division Rookie of the Year contender Brian Ross captured his fifth win of the 2002 Northern Division season in the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by Buffalo Burgers, at the uniquely designed, egg-shaped oval known as Kil-Kare Speedway.
Ross started the race from the second row, behind first time Hooters ProCup Series Sunoco Pole Award winner Jon Kerley and Mardy Lindley, but did not choose the best set-up for his racer and had to battle just to remain within the top-10 through the first half of the event. Both he and Kerley were relegated to close spectators as the battle for the lead was held between Lindley and Jay Fogleman, who exchanged the top position on four separate occasions within the first 147 laps, while racing each other through heavy traffic.
A caution just past the halfway point of the event involving second place runner Lindley, Glenn Gault, and Kris Limerick allowed most of the field to make their mandatory pit stop for fuel and tires. Race leader Fogleman elected not to pit with the other top runners and retain his track position, with apparent hopes of later cautions and a less congested pit road. This caution was the break that Ross needed, as his crew was able to bolt on new Goodyear tires and crank in three rounds of wedge, in an effort to tighten up the No. 42 Indiana-based racer.
Once back under green, Ross needed only 10 laps to catch, then overtake, Fogleman for the race lead on lap 148 which he held onto for the next 52 caution free circuits and managing to put a lap on most of the field, including former race leader Fogleman who was still hanging on with his original tires. Pole sitter Kerley also made mid-race adjustments, and rebounded to challenge Ross for the lead, taking over the point position for six laps before Ross made the race winning pass on lap 207.
Lindley rebounded from his mid-race collision, and resulting front and rear body panel damage to regain track position and remained very close to the end of the event. A few late race cautions slowed down the action, including one for Fogleman, who spun while he attempted to race back through the field, after finally getting the chance to pit for fresh rubber and fuel. The winning margin between first and second place was a mere 1.5 seconds, as Ross led Lindley and the rest of the field across the finish line to the roar of applause from the packed grandstands of race fans. The remaining top-five finishers behind the front two cars were Jeff Agnew in third, Charlie Ford in fourth, and Roger Blackstock coming home fifth. Sixth through tenth place finishers were pole sitter Kerley, Jeff Oakley, Justin Ely, Lonnie Rush, and Danny Sammons.
Kerley collected an extra $1,000 for winning the Sunoco Pole Award while Ross added Miller Lite Rookie of the Race and Southern Pride Lap Leaders Awards to his winnings. Fogleman collected the Lucas oil Products halfway Leader Award and Charlie Ford advanced 19 positions during the race to win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award.
With the race win Ross extended his points lead over Jeff Agnew by 218 points, with Mardy Lindley currently in third, facing a 267-point deficit.