USAR: Lakeland: Post-race notebook

LUCAS OIL 250 presented by Hooters Air Notebook BFGoodrich Tires Debut If there were any questions about the new Traction T/A Radial being the right tire for the Hooters ProCup Series, they were quickly answered on Saturday night. Clay...

LUCAS OIL 250 presented by Hooters Air Notebook

BFGoodrich Tires Debut

If there were any questions about the new Traction T/A Radial being the right tire for the Hooters ProCup Series, they were quickly answered on Saturday night.

Clay Rogers set a track record in qualifying and many drivers raved over the performance of the tires.

"The tire has a lot of grip," said Rogers. "I think we're going to break track records at every track we go to."

Veteran Jay Fogleman agrees.

"The tires just have a ton of grip," said Fogleman. "It seems to be a better tire as far as consistency."

On the Wrong Foot

Mart Nesbitt was one of the hottest drivers at the end of the season last year, but his '04 debut was harsh reminder of how fickle racing can be.

Inclement weather delayed his teams' arrival to the track until minutes before Friday's tech day. Nesbitt qualified 13th, but the Ashville, N.C., driver door slapped the wall avoiding a spin by another driver, and his night went down hill from there.

"We had a pretty good car," said Nesbitt. "We hit wall when a lapped car spun in front of us. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We went to the back and got swept up in another wreck. When you get out of sync, it's hard to catch up.

"The guys worked hard and got us back out," said Nesbitt. "It's not the way you want to start the season, but it could be worse."

Nesbitt finished 17th.

The Return of the Shark

Jay Fogleman made a strong return to the Southern Division at USA Int'l Speedway. Fogleman, The Short Track Shark, drove his No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford Taurus to a fifth-place finish.

"We had a top-5 car all night long we just qualified bad," said Fogleman, who started the race in 22nd. "I kind of screwed us in the ground by making a lot of changes in anticipation of the new tires, but we've got a good base to build on."

"It felt good to be racing with [the Southern Division drivers] again," said Fogleman. "I saw that No. 5 car ahead of me, and I was just trying to get to him. It was fun racing with all of them."

Rookie Stripes

Brad Rogers stole most of the thunder in the rookie class with his third-place finish, but Matt Carter, driver of the No. 22 heavytruckdealers.com Ford Taurus, showed he's a frontrunner in the rookie race with his seventh-place finish.

"I'm pretty satisfied with run," said Carter, son of Nextel Cup owner Travis Carter. "We we're running fourth and a lapped car pushed us in the wall. It knocked the toe out on the car, and I was holding on from there."

Youthful Enthusiasm

Jimmy Lang passed the test for his S.C. Learner's Permit days before his first start in the Hooters ProCup Series. And despite finishing in 31st, Lang, at 15-years-old, passed the rookie test.

The youngster qualified 16th in his first start and ran as high as ninth in the race before hitting the wall late in the race.

"I think we had a top-10 car," said Lang. "I passed a lot of cars and figured out how to pass high and pass low. It's a big difference from a late model car, but I think we can run in the top 10 out here."

From Trucks to ProCup

Jody Lavender moved from the Craftsman Truck Series to the Hooters ProCup Series this season and made a decent debut, finishing ninth.

"We struggled a little," said Lavender. "We had the car way too tight at the start, and it killed the right-front tire. We had to take tires early, and we were sliding around at the end. We ended up with a decent finish and made the most of a bad day. That's about all we could do."

-usar-

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Jody Lavender