USAR: Myrtle Beach CS: Pre-race Championship breakdown

The Championship Breakdown Longs, SC-Forty-five points separate the top six in points coming into the Mark Brooks Memorial Bi-Lo 250 presented by Black's Tire Service at Myrtle Beach Speedway this Saturday night. Shane Huffman and Bobby Gill...

The Championship Breakdown

Longs, SC-Forty-five points separate the top six in points coming into the Mark Brooks Memorial Bi-Lo 250 presented by Black's Tire Service at Myrtle Beach Speedway this Saturday night.

Shane Huffman and Bobby Gill sit on top of the standings for now, but 10 drivers could be leading the points when the race concludes. Not to mention, over $1 million dollars in point fund money is still up for grabs.

Below is a listing of the top-20 drivers in points, a Mansfield Review and a Myrtle Beach Preview.

1. Shane Huffman (No. 84 John Morrell Dinner Bell Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 6th
Championship Series Points: 445
Points ahead of 2nd: Tied
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +1
Season Avg. Finish: 7.6
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 5.2

Mansfield Review
Huffman never really got a chance to show his hand at Mansfield. Just three laps into the race, the defending series champion found himself in the wall after contact with Randy Gentry. But what his team did after the accident may have saved his repeat chances.

XTRA Motorsports made numerous stops to patch up the No. 84 Ford, and Huffman finished night on the lead lap and with the points lead.

Myrtle Beach Preview
If not for late-race contact with Benny Gordon, Huffman would have swept the 2003 MBS races. Huffman set on the pole in this year's race, but Gordon picked up the win.

Huffman says he's just a touch off on the setup since switching to the BFGoodrich Tires Traction T/A radials. If he finds it, he'll be tough to beat on Saturday night.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 1st (6/14/03)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 13.5 (9 starts)

1. Bobby Gill (No. 06 USG Sheetrock Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 2nd
Championship Series Points: 445
Points behind 1st: Tied
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +3
Season Avg. Finish: 8.9
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 8.4

Mansfield Review
For the second race in a row, Gill's crew put him out front after the cycle of pit stops. From there, Gill showed why he has three championships during the rest of Mansfield race. Gill held Benny Gordon, who had the fastest car by far, at bay for 50 laps before eventually finishing second.

Myrtle Beach Preview
If Gill's history is any indication, he will end the night in victory lane. He's averaging a win in every three starts during his career, and his last win came three races ago. Not to mention, MBS is a track that requires plenty of car control, and Gill may have the most in the field.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 1st (8/15/02)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 16.7 (9 starts)

3. Benny Gordon (No. 66 Predator Performance Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 1st
Championship Series Points: 440
Points behind 1st: 5
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +2
Season Avg. Finish: 6.1
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 7.0

Mansfield Review
Gordon did what he had to do at Mansfield. After falling to fifth in points with a DNF at Jennerstown, Gordon won at Mansfield. He went from fifth to second in the points. More importantly, Gordon showed he could out run the best of the best on any given night.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Gordon has three starts and two wins in ProCup action at MBS. That may have something to do with his days as a MBS regular. He's raced All-Pro cars, Super Trucks and Late Models at MBS in the past. He says this may be his last chance for win during the Championship Series, and, if the past is any indication, nothing will stand in his way.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 1st (6/14/03 & 6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 4.0 (3 starts)

4. Jeff Agnew (No. 73 NGA Hooter Golf Tour Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 3rd
Championship Series Points: 435
Points behind 1st: 10
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -1
Season Avg. Finish: 8.0
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 3.8

Mansfield Review
It's not too often that Agnew isn't happy about notching a third-place finish, but that was the case at Mansfield. Agnew lost five spots during his pit stop, dropping from second to seventh. He rallied to finish third, but Agnew felt he had more and never got to show it.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Despite his disappointment with his third-place finish at Mansfield, Agnew would gladly take a podium finish at MBS. He's a hard-charger, and MBS doesn't suit his style. If he can get out of MBS within earshot of the point lead, Motor Mile is next, and his championship chances increase greatly.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 4th (4/17/99)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 16.3 (9 starts)

5. Clay Rogers (No. 44 Johnny's Suzuki Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 29th
Championship Series Points: 411
Points behind 1st: 34
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -4
Season Avg. Finish: 8.7
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 13.4

Mansfield Review
Rogers qualified second and led the first 11 laps of the event, but his night went downhill from there. Rogers lost the lead to Mardy Lindley on the 12th circuit and lost traction on Lap 38. While battling for the lead with Lindley, Rogers' car broke loose and pounded the inside wall. Rogers finished 29th.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Rogers will be in unfamiliar territory at MBS. For the first time since checkered flag waved at Southern Division opener at USA Int'l, Rogers doesn't have the point lead. Compounding matters, Rogers says MBS is not one of his best tracks, but his stats aren't too bad. Rogers hasn't finished outside the top 15 in any of his six starts at MBS. However, Rogers knows that a top-15 finishes won't bolster his efforts to take the title.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 4th (10/18/03)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 8.3 (6 starts)

6. Gary St. Amant (No. 11 JEGS.com Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 5th
Championship Series Points: 400
Points behind 1st: 45
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +1
Season Avg. Finish: 7.9
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 8.8

Mansfield Review
St. Amant expected a win going into Mansfied, but he was happy with a fifth-place finish afterward as the track proved to be temperamental. St. Amant tested at a 16.40, practiced at a 16.60, qualified at 16.90 and turned a best lap of 16.98 in the race. Despite his dwindling times, St. Amant's fifth-place finish extended his rookie-of-the-year point lead and kept him in the championship hunt.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Most people think St. Amant will be at a disadvantage at MBS, but that may not be the case. In 1994, St. Amant won an All-Pro event at MBS. In addition, St. Amant won the Snow Ball Derby on a track that has similar grip issues to MBS. Patience is a word that will be uttered often on Saturday. That's good for St. Amant because he's well versed in it.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)

7. Billy Bigley Jr. (No. 25 Peerless Woodworking Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 10th
Championship Series Points: 353
Points behind 1st: 92
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +2
Season Avg. Finish: 9.0
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 7.4

Mansfield Review
What else can Bigley Jr. do during a race and still finish in the top 10? For the second race in a row, Bigley Jr. crashed and still netted a top-10 finish.

Myrtle Beach Preview
As an encore, Bigley Jr. may start on Ocean Boulevard and race his way back into the top 10 at MBS. He's only made one ProCup start at MBS, but he's got some seat time in the All-Pro Series at MBS. He makes the most of what the track gives him each week, and that will be key on Saturday night.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 5th (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 5.0 (1 start)

8. Johnny Rumley (No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 32nd
Championship Series Points: 348
Points behind 1st: 97
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -2
Season Avg. Finish: 8.4
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 10.8

Mansfield Review
Rumley was good during the first half of the race, but he suffered a mechanical failure and finished 32nd.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Rumley hasn't been as strong in the second half of the season, but his track record at MBS has been pretty good. Rumley has finished in the top 10 in all but one start at the track.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 3rd (5/6/00)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 8.0 (4 starts)

9. Mardy Lindley (No. 16 Hooters Air Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 7th
Championship Series Points: 342
Points behind 1st: 103
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +6
Season Avg. Finish: 11.2
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 16.0

Mansfield Review
Lindley led for 70 laps before being freight trained by Mart Nesbitt, Jeff Agnew and Jay Fogleman on Lap 81. Lindley ran fourth until spinning on Lap 110. Lindley spun again on Lap 149, dropping him to 16th. But the Taylors, S.C., driver rallied to finish seventh and jumped six positions in points.

Myrtle Beach Preview
It has been hit or miss for Lindley at MBS. In his four best starts, Lindley is averaging a 4.5 finish. In his four worst starts, Lindley is averaging an 18.25 finish. Lindley can ill afford the latter this time around.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 1st (5/6/00)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 11.3 (8 starts)

10. Jay Fogleman (No. 4 Lucas Oil Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 4th
Championship Series Points: 337
Points behind 1st: 108
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +7
Season Avg. Finish: 10.4
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 14.6

Mansfield Review
Fogleman showed plenty of might at Mansfield. The Durham, N.C., driver qualified eighth and finished fourth. It was just what he needed after breaking early at Jennerstown.

Fogleman tried desperately to gain bonus points for leading a lap during the middle stages of the race, but Gill held off his lead bid.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Like Lindley, Fogleman has been erratic at MBS, notching seven top-10 finishes and four finishes of 25th or worse in 11 starts. He raced his way back into contention at Mansfield, and he'll need a repeat performance to stay in the point race going into Motor Mile.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 5th (10/18/03)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 15.0 (11 starts)

11. Danny O'Quinn Jr. (No. 02 Homesteader Trailer Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 19th
Championship Series Points: 335
Points behind 1st: 110
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -3
Season Avg. Finish: 9.7
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 11.2

Mansfield Review
Unlike his performance at Jennerstown, where he salvaged a great finish in the face of adversity, O'Quinn's night started bad and got worse at Mansfield. He was involved in the Lap 3 melee and lost three laps fixing the damage. He was quick enough to run with the leaders after repairing the damage, but O'Quinn Jr. eventually finished five laps down in 18th.

Myrtle Beach Preview
O'Quinn Jr. doesn't have a lot of experience at MBS. But what he does have isn't too bad. In his first two starts at MBS, O'Quinn Jr. picked up two top-10 finishes.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 6th (10/18/03)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 10.6 (3 starts)

12. Mike Laughlin Jr. (No. 7 Tucson Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 12th
Championship Series Points: 326
Points behind 1st: 119
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +2
Season Avg. Finish: 16.1
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 16.4

Mansfield Review
Laughlin Jr. found himself running 22nd and in danger of losing a lap before the midway point of the race. He ended up losing lap, but the Gay Court, S.C., driver picked up 10 spots in the last half of the race to finish 12th.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Laughlin Jr. is second in starts at MBS among the ProCup regulars, and his best finish is second. This is the second race at MBS this season. If Laughlin Jr. finishes first, it will be the second win of his career.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 2nd (10/19/02)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 15.8 (10 starts)

13. Danny Sammons (No. 97 AARN.com Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 15th
Championship Series Points: 318
Points behind 1st: 127
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -2
Season Avg. Finish: 12.7
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 13.2

Mansfield Review
Sammons finished 15th at Mansfield, but his finish wasn't indicative of the way he ran throughout the night. Sammons stayed in the top 10 once the green flag waved, but the New Jersey driver was involved in an incident on Lap 170 that cost him a lap.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Sammons has yet to pick up a top-10 finish at MBS. But if his recent test at MBS is any indication, Sammons may fare well this time around. Unofficially, Sammons was the quickest of the 25 drivers that tested at MBS this past weekend.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 11th (10/19/02)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 17.0 (3 starts)

14. Matt Carter (No. 22 HeavyTruckDealers.com Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 25th
Championship Series Points: 311
Points behind 1st: 134
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -4
Season Avg. Finish: 12.5
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 14.2

Mansfield Review
Carter marched toward the front in the opening stages of the Mansfield race. But on Lap 94, the rookie driver slid high in Turn 2 and dropped outside the top 10. In nearly the same spot 37 laps later, Carter again lost traction. But this time, he wasn't as fortunate. Carter tagged the wall and needed extensive repairs, dropping him to 25th at the finish.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Despite making just his second start at MBS, Carter should have a plethora of notes to draw from. MBS is RBR's stomping ground. Ricky Benton has been racing at MBS for more than a decade with Mike Hester, Carter's crew chief, at his side. Look for them to be stout.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 31st (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 31.0 (1 race)

15. D.J. Kennington (No. 77 S.M. Freight Inc. Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 9th
Championship Series Points: 306
Points behind 1st: 139
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +5
Season Avg. Finish: 13.1
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 13.4

Mansfield Review
D.J. Kennington continues to be the Cinderella story. The Canadian driver avoided critical damage during the early-race wreck and finished the night in the top 10. With his top-10 finish, Kennington is climbing the charts, with a bullet.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Kennington hasn't seen the finicky race track yet, but a win would be a great way to usher in "Can-Am" days along the Grand Strand.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)

16. David Pletcher (No. 51 RaceFansDating.com Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 23rd
Championship Series Points: 303
Points behind 1st: 142
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -4
Season Avg. Finish: 15.2
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 14.4

Mansfield Review
Pletcher made sure his backup car was on the hauler at Mansfield. Unfortunately for Pletcher, he went through two motors in practice. And eventually, Pletcher went to Randy Humphrey for the use of his backup car for the race. Pletcher started shotgun on the field and he raced his way to 12th by the halfway mark, but his charge quelled as his borrowed ride slowed, dropping him to 23rd at the finish.

Myrtle Beach Preview
The way his luck has been of late, Pletcher may roll into MBS with two haulers full of cars. But as long as one of them holds the car Pletcher ran at MBS in June, he should be fine. Pletcher marched from 26th to third in June race.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 3rd (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 6.6 (3 starts)

16. Mart Nesbitt (No. 92 Blue Cross Blue Shield Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 8th
Championship Series Points: 303
Points behind 1st: 142
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +10
Season Avg. Finish: 12.7
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 17.2

Mansfield Review
With the amount of competition In the Championship Series, mistakes are magnified. Nesbitt found that out at Mansfield. Nesbitt picked up his first pole of the season and was checking out on the field by the 100-lap mark. But during the cycle of pit stops, Nesbitt dropped from first to 14th. Nesbitt rallied to finish eighth, but it should have been a better outcome.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Nesbitt has a lot of starts at MBS, but he's had little success. On the bright side, Nesbitt has picked up his best finishes at MBS in his last two starts. Nesbitt finished ninth in the Championship Series race at MBS in 2003 and finished sixth in the June race.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 6th (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 18.1 (10 starts)

18. Brad Rogers (No. 29 KellyCo Heavy Hauling Ford)
Finish at Mansfield: 22nd
Championship Series Points: 301
Points behind 1st: 144
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: -5
Season Avg. Finish: 12.3
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 11.6

Mansfield Review
A five-cent part costs a whole lot more when it breaks. Rogers' car broke a ball-joint early in the night, and he lost 19 laps in the pits repairing the damage.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Rogers' second-place finish in the June race sparked his late-season charge. And he comes into MBS needing another jolt. He's dropped from fourth to 18th in points in the first two races of the Championship Series. Rogers won the UARA event at MBS in 2003.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 2nd (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 2.0 (1 start)

19. Randy Gentry (No. 19 HarrisonsWorkwear.com Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 11th
Championship Series Points: 289
Points behind 1st: 156
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +6
Season Avg. Finish: 11.2
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 15.8

Mansfield Review
Gentry had a run-in with Huffman on the third lap and one with Billy Bigley Jr. on Lap 204. Through it all, however, Gentry still managed to finish in 11th. Gentry has made up 26 positions in points in the first two races.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Gentry has run several All-Pro races at MBS, but he never got up to speed in his first ProCup start at the track. Gentry qualified 29th and finished 29th after breaking on Lap 131.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: 29th (6/26/04)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: 29.0 (1 start)

20. Sam Fullone (No. 48 Pero Vegetables Chevrolet)
Finish at Mansfield: 13th
Championship Series Points: 288
Points behind 1st: 157
Point Positions Gained/Lost at Mansfield: +2
Season Avg. Finish: 16.4
Last Five Races Avg. Finish: 13.4

Mansfield Review
Fullone hovered around the top 10 for much of the night, running as high as eighth and as low as 17th. His 13th-place finish was just what he need after his vicious crash at Jennerstown.

Myrtle Beach Preview
Fullone needs a good run at MBS to keep his Rookie of the Year hopes alive.

Best Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)
Avg. Finish at Myrtle Beach: (First start at track)

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Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Billy Bigley , D.J. Kennington , Danny O'Quinn , Shane Huffman , Johnny R , Jeff Agnew