Clay Rogers wins the Dan Duncan Memorial Kroger 250 Radford, VA-Clay Rogers did what he had to do, but Benny Gordon did as well. Clay Rogers picked up his fourth win of the season by taking the checkered flag first in the Dan Duncan Memorial...
Clay Rogers wins the Dan Duncan Memorial Kroger 250
Radford, VA-Clay Rogers did what he had to do, but Benny Gordon did as well.
Clay Rogers picked up his fourth win of the season by taking the checkered flag first in the Dan Duncan Memorial Kroger 250 presented by ProMedia, Inc. at Motor Mile Speedway on Sunday afternoon.
Rogers, driver of the No. 44s Ultra Comp Trailers Ford, took the lead from Bobby Gill on Lap 173 and beat Michael Ritch, driver of the No. 28s Jackaroo Pontiac, to the checkered flag by .627 sec. to take his first win of the Championship Series and fourth win of the season.
"This might be one of the best cars that I've sat in since I've been racing," said Rogers. "We came up here and tested, and we knew we were good. We did what we had to do today. But as far as points go, Benny has luck on his side."
Rogers was poised to make huge gain in points on Gordon after pit miscue cost the point leader a lap. However, Gordon, who dropped to 17th in the running order, worked his way past Gill to make up his lap and caught a timely caution to make up the lost distance. But Gordon, driver of the No. 66n Predator Performance Ford, still wasn't out of the woods. He restarted 17th, dodged three wrecks and eventually finished third to retain his point lead going into the season finale at USA International Speedway.
"My pit crew has never let me down all year, but we had lug get crossed up and it cost us a lap," said Gordon, who unofficially carries a 39-point lead into championship finale. "When we made it up, we had to start in the back and race a lot of cars to get back to the front. I'm disappointed that we didn't win, but it could have been disastrous for us."
Though it wasn't a complete disaster, Shane Huffman's day may have taken him out of title contention.
Huffman, who led 49 laps, was running second with less than 10 laps remaining. But coming off Turn 4, Johnny Rumley tagged Huffman in the rear and sent him spinning. Rumley was accessed a rough-driving penalty and finished 15th, while Huffman finished 14th after the contact.
"I don't think I was holding Johnny up by any means," said Huffman, driver of the No. 84s Elm Hill Meats Ford. "I've got a lot of respect for Johnny, but I don't know what happened. I just hate that it happened. We had a second-place car, but I guess the [Motor Mile Speedway] curse is still on me."
It's still on Jeff Agnew as well.
Agnew, who won the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award on Saturday, led the race until Lap 25 when the former MMS regular made contact with Michelle Theriault.
"I don't blame that on her; I blame it on her spotter," said Agnew, who finished ninth. "The spotter should have told her I was on the inside. It messed up the right front of the car, and it just pushed all day after that."
Agnew's troubles didn't end there, however.
Agnew tangled with Bobby Gill, driver of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Brand Ford, on Lap 222 while racing for fourth position. Both drivers spun in Turn 2 and dropped out of contention for the win. With Huffman, Rumley, Gill and Agnew having late-race troubles, Gordon, who was running ninth with 40 laps to go, was able to gain four positions without making a pass.
"When my spotter told me about Bobby and Jeff, and then Shane and Johnny, I couldn't believe it," said Rogers, who won $1,000 for being Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader. "We've just got to go to Lakeland and do what we did here today."
If Michael Ritch does what he did at MMS at Lakeland, he could break into the top five in overall points.
Ritch, who was 28th in points after Mansfield, backed up his second-place run at Myrtle Beach with a second-place showing at Motor Mile and jumped to ninth in points.
"We didn't have a second-place car," said Ritch. "We kept our nose clean, and that has a lot to do our finish."
Danny O'Quinn Jr., driver of the No. 02s Homesteader Trailer Chevrolet, was able to keep his nose clean, but his door panels took a beating during his fourth-place run.
"It was crazy out there," said O'Quinn Jr. "We had a real good car, especially on long runs. But every time we'd start making some ground up on the leaders, we'd get caught up in a wreck. I believe we got caught up in two or three wrecks, but [our finish] just shows how good our car was today."
Matt Carter rounded out the top five and picked up his second Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award in a row.
With Carter's fifth-place finish and Gary St. Amant's 25th-place showing, Carter now takes the lead in the Miller Lite Rookie of the Year race.
David Pletcher took home an extra $500 for being the Hard Charger. Pletcher finished eighth after starting 23rd.
There were six lead changes among five drivers.
The race was slowed 12 times for 84 laps of caution.
Dan Duncan Memorial Kroger 250 Notebook
A Brighter Day
Many children will wake up to a brighter day when Christmas comes this year.
Thanks to the help of ProCup competitors, Motor Mile Speedway and fans, the USAR Ladies Auxiliary was able to collect over $2,000 in toys to be distributed to needy families this holiday season.
It wasn't his best finish of the season, but George Brunnhoelzl's 13th-place finish at Motor Mile Speedway was needed shot in the arm.
After opening the Championship Series with three finishes outside the top 20, Brunnhoelzl III, driver of the No. 20 Island Construction Ford, raced with the leaders all day at MMS.
"We should've been running up front all year long, but we've struggled a little bit with car lately," said Brunnhoelzl III. "I think we had a better car than where we finished, but we're happy. We ran good and learned some things today."
Matt Carter climbed to sixth in the overall points after his second top-five finish in as many races. More importantly for Carter, he now leads the overall Miller Lite Rookie of the Year battle by 29 points over Gary St. Amant heading into the season finale.
"It was a good day for us," said Carter, driver of the No. 22s HeavyTruckDealers.com Ford. "We probably had a seventh- or eighth-place car, but our crew made the best pit stop they've made all year long and picked us up about five spots. We didn't have the best car, but we did everything right and came out of here with a top five."