Tension Builds at Beach Mark Brooks Memorial Naturally Fresh 250 important event for many drivers Myrtle Beach, S.C.--The friendly aura that usually surrounds the Hooters Pro Cup garage area might seem a bit tense on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Myrtle...
Tension Builds at Beach
Mark Brooks Memorial Naturally Fresh 250 important event for many drivers
Myrtle Beach, S.C.--The friendly aura that usually surrounds the Hooters Pro Cup garage area might seem a bit tense on Saturday, Oct. 6 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. The backslapping and bench racing will likely replaced by cold stares and secret meetings.
Sure, there will be two more races after the Mark Brooks Memorial Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Black's Tire & Auto Service, but none may be more important with the top 10 drivers in the Championship Series are separated by 109 points.
And the drivers at the tail end of the top 10 come into the race with one thought on their minds.
"We've got to win; top-5s aren't going to cut it," said ninth-place Benny Gordon, who trails Bobby Gill by 100 points. "We've been a little off the last two times there, but we're going to test and we'll be ready."
Gill plans on being ready, too.
"Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite tracks," said Gill, who has one win and eight top-10 finishes in 15 Pro Cup starts at Myrtle Beach. "We weren't that good in June, but we've been working on something that will help us this time around."
But Gill's competition will be stiffer this time around as well.
Unlike the June race at Myrtle Beach, the Naturally Fresh 250 is a Championship Series event. The Championship Series started 2001, when the Hooters Pro Cup Series split into two divisions, the Aaron's Southern Division and Sears Auto Center Northern Division.
At the end of each season, the top 30 drivers from both divisions are brought together for a five-race playoff to crown the overall Hooters Pro Cup Champion and Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. The format produces great racing and--at times--heated rivalries.
"It's like putting a bunch of bulls in a pin," said Johnny Rumley, driver of the No. 8n Snow King Chevrolet.
The bulls aren't likely to stampede at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
The .538-mile track is known for chewing up tires in a matter of laps, putting the premium on a driver's ability to save his car for the end of the race.
"I wish every track we went to had the asphalt Myrtle Beach Speedway has," said Caleb Holman, a rookie from Abingdon, Va. "You have to drive the car at Myrtle Beach. You don't just push the gas and go."
In the June race at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Michael Ritch navigated the tricky speedway better than the rest, leading the final 32 laps en route to victory in the Greased Lightning 200.
Ritch is another driver that needs to win to get back into contention. After winning the Southern Division title, Ritch has opened the Championship Series with two DNFs and dropped to 10th in points.
Adding to growing list of scenarios in Saturday's race is that fact that the event is 50 laps longer than the June race. And 50 laps at Myrtle Beach Speedway can be an eternity.
"It's going to be interesting for sure," said Gordon, a four-time winner at MBS. "You're not going to know who has the best car until about 25 laps to go."
Front gates will open at 3 p.m. for the general public. Awesome Awning Pole Qualifying will start at 4:30 p.m. and be followed by a 50-lap Allison Legacy Series race at 5:15 p.m. Fans will be permitted on the track for the Wraps INK Autograph Session at 6:15 p.m. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. and green flag will wave at 7:30 p.m. to start the Mark Brooks Memorial Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Black's Tire & Auto Service.
Tickets can be picked up at all area Hooters and Black's Tire & Auto Service locations along the Grand Strand.
2007 USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP SERIES QUICK FACTS CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
WHAT: Naturally Fresh 250 presented by Black's Tire and Auto Center
WHERE:Myrtle Beach Speedway (MBS), Myrtle Beach, SC
.538-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval
WHEN: Saturday October 6, 2007
DISTANCE: 250 Laps/ 134.5 Miles
POSTED AWARDS: $134,470
STARTING FIELD: 36 car starting field --1-32 qualifying time trails positions, 33 -34 provisional from the final divisional points, one south, one north (first eligible); 35-36- provisional from current Championship driver points
TELEVISION: SPEED Channel Wednesday October 17, 2007 (4 p.m. ET)
Friday, October 19, 2007 (12 Noon ET)
Saturday October 6, 2007:
11:30 a.m. USAR HPCS Practice Begin
1:30 p.m. USAR HPCS Practice Ends
4:30 p.m, Naturally Fresh 250 Qualifying for the USAR HPCS
7:00 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies for the Naturally Fresh 250
7:30 p.m. Naturally Fresh 250