USAR: Lakeland: JR Motorsports race report

Engine Woes Derail WINFUEL Team McFarland's Bid for Win in First Race Denied Lakeland, Fla.-This is not the way Mark McFarland pictured his first USAR Hooters Pro Cup season would start. After leading seven laps in his first Hooters Pro Cup...

Engine Woes Derail WINFUEL Team
McFarland's Bid for Win in First Race Denied

Lakeland, Fla.-This is not the way Mark McFarland pictured his first USAR Hooters Pro Cup season would start.

After leading seven laps in his first Hooters Pro Cup race in Saturday night's Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Crane Cams at USA International Speedway, a faulty piston relegated the No. 32 WINFUEL team to a 27th-place finish.

After pacing the afternoon practice session and qualifying in a solid third place, things looked to be right where the JR Motorsports crew wanted them. McFarland seemed to be content to let the race come to him as his car was a little tight early on. He did wage a spirited battle with Mike Garvey, getting around him on lap 77 with a strong, outside pass to pick up precious bonus points. Mark dropped a couple spots to third, but he had confidence in his pit crew to get him out quickly with tires, fuel and adjustments. The engine, however, let go on lap 83, ending any hope of finishing the race and giving the team a DNF in their first start.

"It was a great effort, but we came down here for a lot more than a great effort and a 27th-place finish," said McFarland. "The WINFUEL Chevy was awesome; we definitely had a winning racecar, but just had a piston came apart. We'll get it straight and have something for everyone [at South Georgia Motorsports Park].

"We were really looking forward to making our pit stop to get our tires and fuel, but also to make our adjustments that we needed to win. Jefferson (Hodges, crew chief) and I have tremendous amounts of confidence in our crew."

The next race for the Southern Division of the USAR Hooters Pro Cup season is in Valdosta, GA at the brand-new South Georgia Motorsports Park on March 12.

Mark McFarland, JR Motorsports Racing Notes and Quotes

Mooresville, NC-Mark McFarland and the No. 32 WINFUEL team looked strong in all the weekend events leading up to the Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Crane Cams at USA Int'l Speedway Saturday night. Mark took the lead from Mike Garvey on lap 77, but engine trouble followed on lap 83, relegating the JR Motorsports team to a 27th finish after a solid third-place qualifying effort. Mark stands in points, behind leader Shane Huffman.

Key Moment: Starting third, Mark settled into a nice rhythm for the first 70 laps, which were interrupted twice by cautions. Mark then waged a good battle with Mike Garvey, making a smooth outside pass for his only lead on lap 77.

Mark's Quotes: "It was a great effort by the team tonight, but we came down here looking for a lot more than a great effort and a 27th place finish. A DNF really leaves a bad taste in your mouth, especially when we had a winning racecar and with it being the first race of the season. The WINFUEL Chevy was awesome; we just had a piston come apart. It was just a freak, racing deal, but we'll get it straight and have something for everyone in Valdosta."

"The Hooters Pro Cup Series is loaded with excellent drivers this year. I feel I belong at the top of that list along with all the past champions (Bobby Gill, Jason Sarvis, Shane Huffman and Clay Rogers) and other 'new' guys like Mike Garvey and Steve Wallace. When you throw in Benny Gordon, Johnny Rumley and some others who weren't here tonight, wow!"

"It was cool to lead some laps in my first race in the series, those bonus points tend to play a hand in the season's outcome. We were really looking forward to making our pitstop, Jefferson (Hodges, crew chief) and I have tremendous amounts of confidence in our crew."

-jrm-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Mark McFarland , Mike Garvey , Shane Huffman , Steve Wallace , Johnny R
Teams JR Motorsports