McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Stay Red Hot, Win USAR Hooters Pro Cup Event at Myrtle Beach Pete Knight Racing Driver Captures Second Victory In Last Three USAR Events Mooresville, NC (June 23, 2008) -- To say Mark McFarland and his No. 81s...
McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Stay Red Hot, Win USAR Hooters Pro Cup Event at Myrtle Beach
Pete Knight Racing Driver Captures Second Victory In Last Three USAR Events
Mooresville, NC (June 23, 2008) -- To say Mark McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Auto Center Chevy Monte Carlo are the hottest thing on the USAR Hooters Pro Cup tour these days is an understatement.
McFarland sizzled againthis past weekend winning the Greased Lightning 250 at Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway. It was his second win in the past three USAR events beginning with the USAR North-South combination event at The Milwaukee Mile two weeks ago. For good measure, the Winchester, VA native sandwiched in a runner-up finish in the USAR Northern Division race at Mansfield, OH last weekend before taking the Southern Division clash at Myrtle Beach Saturday.
"This is starting out to be a great year," said McFarland. "We took over the Southern Division points lead. That's the first time that's happened since I started driving for Pete Knight Racing. Everyone is doing such a great job. We're all plugging away and we have to keep doing that. We have a couple of hard tracks coming up in the Southern Division at Kenly and Hickory. You can get in trouble at both of them pretty easily."
The only trouble McFarland had to contend with throughout the weekend at Myrtle Beach was coming up with what to say in Victory Lane. After stating the half-mile Grand Strand speedway wasn't exactly his favorite place to compete prior to the race, McFarland settled right in starting fourth and leading most of the first half of the event Saturday.
"About the first 130 laps went green, so you had to have a really good car not to get lapped," said McFarland. "Our car was close enough. We led for a long time and then we gave up the lead at the end of that run."
Any doubts about the Pete Knight Racing driver not taking home the winner's trophy were erased when he came to pit road for service just past the halfway point of the event.
"The crew did an awesome job," said McFarland. "We had fallen back to about fifth on the first run of the race. We were so loose and they made and adjustment and got me back out in front when we made our pit stop. Being in the lead is all I needed. They tightened up the car to just where I needed it and from there all I needed to do was hang on. From then on, we were the car to beat."
It wasn't totally clear sailing to the checkered flag as McFarland, who got back to the lead on Lap 170, had to hold off the charge of Matt Hawkins before settling into the top sport for good on the 191st circuit.
"It seemed like I was the only car that could run on the top," McFarland stated. "I ran right around the wall. Michael Ritch and I seemed to be the only ones who could run up here last year. That top groove only seems to be there in the spring. You can't run up there in the fall race. We tried it a couple of times in practice and it worked really well. We saved it for the race and the line really came in. You can really keep your momentum up and save your tires running up there. I got up there as soon as the race started and stayed there."
After the event, McFarland -- who now leads the USAR Southern Division championship chase by a 659-642 margin over runner-up Trevor Bayne - also seemed at peace with his former Myrtle Beach Speedway demons.
"It's real satisfying to win at Myrtle Beach," said McFarland. "I've been racing here since 1997 and this is the first time that I have won here. I've been trying to do that for a long time and for some reason, I've never been able to do it. To finally get a win here is really sweet."
McFarland and his Sears Auto Center Chevy Monte Carlo will try to continue their winning ways when the next take to the track on Saturday, July 12 when they compete in the USAR Northern Division event at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA.
The green flag in the 250 lap event will fly at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.