Lakeland, FL -- When the green flag dropped Saturday night at USA International Speedway no one realized the longest race of the season in terms of laps on the USAR Hooters ProCup Series schedule would also take the longest. Steven Christian ...
Lakeland, FL -- When the green flag dropped Saturday night at USA International Speedway no one realized the longest race of the season in terms of laps on the USAR Hooters ProCup Series schedule would also take the longest. Steven Christian out-distanced Jay Fogleman to win the Alan Kulwicki Memorial/Hooters 300 presented by Cummins Southeastern Power. Christian took the lead on lap 271 and remained out in front to get his first-ever USAR Hooters ProCup Series win in his 40 starts. Christian had collected four runner-up finishes until he took the checkered flag at 2:25 a.m. in his Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet. "Man this is great," said a happy Christian in victory lane. "I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come for this team. This is the same crew that helped us win Rookie of the Year and they have stuck with us. This win is for them and I want to thank them for all of their efforts." Christian took the lead when Clay Rogers pitted under caution after Brian Vickers and Hal Goodson got together in turn two to bring out the yellow flag. Christian was challenged late in the race when the final caution flag was given to the field on lap 291 when Jon Kerley and Derrick Kelley got together on the front-stretch to set up a green-white-checkered finish. Christian held off Fogleman, while Plemons finished his most successful season in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series with a third-place finish. Mardy Lindley was fourth while 2000 Hooters ProCup Series champion Bobby Gill completed the top-five. Finishing sixth through tenth were Jeff Agnew, Mario Gosselin, Rogers, Mike Laughlin, Jr. and Vickers. Although the points championship was decided before the race began, several battles still needed to be decided during the race. Gill, Lindley and Agnew entered the race with an opportunity to win a $25,000 bonus in the "Four Champions Challenge." Lindley and Agnew both led some laps during the race, however, they were not able to claim the win. Vickers used his top 10 finish to secure the 2000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title. Clay Rogers finished second while Jon Wood, David Pletcher and Stacy Puryear completed the top-five in the challenge for the rookie crown. "I've had fun this year," said Vickers. "We had a great year as a team. We set our goals to win at least one race and we did that and won another. Our next goal was to win the Rookie of the Year title and, fortunately, we did that as well. I want to thank everyone who helped us get here tonight and hopefully we can build on this for next year." The race was slowed 12 times for caution with the most serious incident on the front-stretch on lap 186 when a seven-car accident ended the night for Chad Chaffin, Charlie Ford and Chad Mullis; Jon Wood, Tim Dobbs, Rodney Childers and Gill were able to continue in the race. Kertus Davis led for a total of 33 laps for the first time in his career, only to lose his chance at a first win when his Twisterkarts.com Chevrolet ran out of fuel while running second on lap 253. The race ended the 2000 season for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series. The season will kick-off its most ambitious schedule to date next February when USA International Speedway will once again host the USAR Hooters ProCup Series.
NEWS & NOTES FROM USA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY * A total of 55 drivers entered the competition for 40 possible starting spots. Drivers who failed to qualify included: Karen Schulz, Tim Clayton, Don Satterfield, Jabe Jones, Jimmy McClain, Marty Ward, Joe Harrison, Jr., Keith Montgomery, Ted Christopher, Glenn Sullivan, and Gerry O'Niel. Mark King, Larry Wilcox and Calvine Redwine loaded up before qualifying due to accident and/or mechanical problems. * Several new records were set this season in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series. A new record of 11 different winners eclipsed the previous mark of nine set last season. Bobby Gill led with seven wins, tying the mark set by Michael Ritch in 1999 for the most wins by a driver in a season. Mardy Lindley, Hal Goodson and Brian Vickers each won two races while Andy Thurman, Derrick Kelley, Jeff Agnew, Lee Tissot, Clay Rogers, Mario Gosselin and Steven Christian each claimed one win this season. * Eight of the 11 race winners were also first-time winners in the series, also a new record. * Clay Rogers, Hal Goodson and Mario Gosselin each won four Discount Auto Parts Pole Awards during the season to lead in that category. * Bobby Gill won $108,150 during the regular season becoming the first driver in the history of the series to top the $100,000 mark in regular season earnings. Brian Vickers led a group of five drivers to top the $50,000 mark in regular season winnings. Joining Vickers was Clay Rogers, Mario Gosselin, Mardy Lindley and Steven Christian.