LAKELAND, FL (June 5, 2000) â€“ Brian Vickers passed Steven Christian with two laps remaining to collect his first-ever Hooters ProCup Series win Saturday night at USA International Speedway winning the Lucas Oil 250. Vickers also became the...
LAKELAND, FL (June 5, 2000) – Brian Vickers passed Steven Christian with two laps remaining to collect his first-ever Hooters ProCup Series win Saturday night at USA International Speedway winning the Lucas Oil 250. Vickers also became the first winner this season in a Chevrolet. The 16 year-old driver from Thomasville also made history when he became the youngest driver to ever win a Hooters ProCup Series race. Mario Gosselin collected his second Discount Auto Parts Pole Award of the season with a time of 22.000 seconds (116.100 mph), followed Christian in third while Jeff Agnew and Jon Wood completed the top five.
Andy Thurman, who won his first-ever Hooters ProCup Series race at USA International in February, finished sixth while rookie drivers David Pletcher and Regan Smith followed in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Veteran driver Tim Clayton finished ninth and Kertus Davis tenth as the duo recorded their first top ten finishes of the season. The night however, ended happily for the 16 year-old driver. "Man what a night," said Vickers. "We had a great car all day and I just want to thank this crew because these guys won the race for me by giving me a great car. This win is for them." Vickers qualified third and kept his 2-Qwik Performance Shocks Chevrolet near the front all night long and was able to make his move near the end of the race. Vickers and Christian battled for the final eight laps after Jabe Jones and Tim Edwards got together on lap 238 to bring out the final caution flag of the race. "I hate I got into Steven down in turn one," said Vickers. "Steven is a great driver and a classy person, I would never want to wreck him." The drivers made contact and Vickers was able to make the pass under Christian and remained out front for the win. "I want to congratulate Brian with his win," said Christian. "We had a great car and we ran up front for a lot of laps. We want to thank Lucas Oil for sponsoring the race and our car. We had a lot of people here tonight and we were happy we gave them a reason to cheer most of the night." Christian, the 1999 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year, matched his career-best finish and his Lucas Oil team is ready to challenge for the 2000 Hooters ProCup Series title. Christian has now collected his third consecutive top five finish and won his first-ever Discount Auto Parts Pole Award last race at Peach State. His performance over the past three races has vaulted his Lucas Oil Chevrolet from 20th to fifth-place in the points standings. Gosselin, who led the first 88 laps of the race, said his mistake in pit strategy probably cost him a chance for his first win of the 2000 season. "I waited to long to pit," said Gosselin. "We stayed out and it cost us a little in the end but we are happy to be leading the points. Gosselin, who collected the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Bonus, now leads Mardy Lindley by 44 points (948-904) while rookie Jon Wood follows in third place and the Stuart, Virginia driver continues to lead the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year standings. Lindley, who entered the race as the hottest driver in the Hooters ProCup Series with back-to-back wins, opened the night with a strong qualifying position and led a total of 32 laps during the night before mechanical problems kept him from full speed although he was able to finish 11th. Mike Laughlin, Jr. was also running well and led a total of 14 laps before his motor let go while running in the top five on lap 87, while Bobby Gill also parked his PGT Industries Ford early with mechanical problems on lap 58. The race was slowed ten times by caution with the most incidents being single-car spins. Derrick Kelley was forced to take a provisional starting position, however the Auburndale, Florida driver was able to bring his Discount Auto Parts Chevy in for 12th palce finish to win the State Fair Brand Corn Dogs Hard Charger Award. Members of the media in attendance awarded the W.J. Plemons Investments Crew Chief of the race award to Bruce Rantz who leads the Big Daddy’s BBQ Sauces Chevy crew of driver David Pletcher.
The drivers return to action this Saturday night when Montgomery Motor Speedway hosts its first-ever Hooters ProCup Series race with the running of the Charlie Campbell Memorial/Hooters 250. The race is the second of the "Four Champions Challenge Series" events for 2000 and Lindley can be the first driver to collect a $25,000 bonus if he can put his Aloe Lu-Ya Taurus into victory lane.
News & Notes from Lucas Oil 250
· - Karen Schulz, driver of the Naturally Fresh Dressings & Dips Pontiac was forced to give up driving duties during the race as she was battling the flu all weekend. Shane Huffman relieved her after his night ended early in his Johnsonville/Jennio Ford.
· Steven Christian has now finished in the top five in three straight races which has moved the driver of the Lucas Oil Chevy from 20th to 5th in the Hooters ProCup Series points standings.
· Veteran Hooters ProCup Series competitor Tim Clayton scored his best finish of the season. Clayton brought his Santa Fe Logistics Chevy home in 9th place for his first top 10 finish of the year.
· Miller Lite Rookie of the Year candidate Kertus Davis also enjoyed a successful weekend at USA International. Davis finished 10th on the lead lap for his first top 10 finish of the year in the Hooters ProCup Series.
· Jimmy McClain scored a top 20 finish with new sponsors on his Chevy. Learning Through Entertainment has signed to sponsor McClain for the remainder of the 2000 season.
· David Pletcher has moved into second place in the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year standings. Pletcher trails Jon Wood by just 20 points. Pletcher has given the Big Daddy’s BBQ Sauces team five top 10 finishes out of 6 races this season. His only finish out of the top 10 was at Florida Speedpark when his engine failed in March.
· Jon Wood also continues his string of consistent finishes with a fifth place finish. Wood has an average finish of 9.5 this season which keeps him in the lead for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year standings.
· The Hooters ProCup Series featured a strong crowd for the June 3rd race at USA International Speedway. A crowd of 6,200 fans were in attendance for the second race of the season at the ¾-mile facility.
· Mario Gossilin assumes the point lead after a one race break. The veteran leads Mardy Lindley by 44 points despite not collecting a win so far this season. Gosselin and his new team owned by veteran car owner Haskell Willingham have averaged a finish of 5th highlighted by back-to-back runner up finishes at Florida Speedpark and Ace Speedway.
· Gosselin and Lindley are the only drivers to complete every lap this season. Both drivers have completed 1,511 out of 1,511 laps.
· 1998 Hooters ProCup Series champion Jeff Agnew finished fourth at USA International for his first top five finish since November of last season. The top five finish also vaulted Agnew into the top ten in the Hooters ProCup Series points standings.