Mark McFarland knew he had one of the best cars in the first race of the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Unfortunately, he never got to show it. "There were so many cautions that you just couldn't do ...
Mark McFarland knew he had one of the best cars in the first race of the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Unfortunately, he never got to show it.
"There were so many cautions that you just couldn't do anything," said McFarland, who finished sixth in the Sears Auto Center 250 Saturday. "You'd run five laps, have a caution, run five more and have another. Everyonewas bumper to bumper and the good cars never had chance to show what they had. Almost any car can run good on cold tires after a restart. When you get up to running 20 to 25 laps under green, that's when the good cars can come to the front. We never really had a chance to do that."
McFarland's No. 81 Knight's Companies/Greased Lightning Chevrolet Monte Carlo was at the top of the leader board at the end of practice after touring the half-mile Mansfield oval in a time of 16.183 seconds (111.228 miles per hour).
The Winchester, VA driver then positioned himself near the front of the 36-car starting field for the 250-lap event timing in third with a lap of 16.471.
At the drop of the green flag, McFarland chose to bide his time while several others took a gamble on early pit stops. The strategy would ultimately decide the race in the first 10 laps of the event,
"There were some guys who pitted early in the race," said McFarland. "The top three came and got their tires on Lap 8. There was no way they were going to make it on fuel, but with all the cautions we had, that allowed them to make it. We ran over 100 laps under caution and they were able to go the distance. They got track position on us and we were never able to make it back up."
Running second, McFarland eventually came to pit road on Lap 42. When he returned to the track, he was deep in the field and behind the cars that had pitted earlier in the race. A winner at Mansfield earlier this year when he captured the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Greased Lightning 250 Northern Division race on June 9, McFarland roared his way back into the Top-10 by Lap 175, but it was slow going from there because of the frequent cautions and fast competition.
"We came out 19th after our pit stop, got up to sixth and that was it," said McFarland. "That's all we could get. It's real tough to pass at Mansfield and with the B.F. Goodrich tire we have, they are so good that all the cars are fast. It made it real tough to pass. You had to be real hard on a guy to get around him."
The solid sixth-place effort jumped McFarland and his Knight's Companies/Greased Lightning Chevy to sixth place in the 2007 USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship standings. With four more races to go in this year's championship battle, McFarland is optimistic he can make a run at the title.
"We're still in good shape in the championship point's race," said McFarland. "We're going to a track (Iowa Speedway) where we did the tire test for B.F. Goodrich test. We were pretty good during the test and we get another test day the day before the race to make sure we have things right. We should be really good."
McFarland and the rest of the USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship hopefuls will take the green flag in the Soy Biodiesel 225 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, September 22 at 7 p.m.