USAR: Myrtle Beach: Matt Hawkins race report

Matt Hawkins Third at Myrtle Beach in Pro Cup Action Georgia Young Gun Takes Home Third-Place Finish at "The Beach" CANTON, GA (June 23, 2008) -- Most of the time drivers can psych themselves right out of a good finish if they don't have a ...

Matt Hawkins Third at Myrtle Beach in Pro Cup Action
Georgia Young Gun Takes Home Third-Place Finish at "The Beach"

CANTON, GA (June 23, 2008) -- Most of the time drivers can psych themselves right out of a good finish if they don't have a knack for the track that they are racing on. Drivers like Matt Hawkins can overcome the odds of running at a track that has not been kind to them in the past. Coming into Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC), Hawkins average finish was 18.5 in The Hooters Pro Cup Series. That was before Hawkins had his best outing ever at "The Beach." He scored a third-place finish Saturday night in the Greased Lightning 250 and got the monkey off his back that has plagued him during the last few events.

"It was fun racing with everyone tonight," said Hawkins. "I was running the bottom and others were running the top, so I was mixing it up pretty good tonight. This is an excellent run after the three bad weeks we have had. We'll work on this, take some notes, and hopefully come back next year and be a little bit better."

After starting seventh, Hawkins rode for the first fifty laps before he started moving up in the pack. A long green-flag run played havoc with most of the field. Several guys fell a lap behind the pace. Hawkins was still riding in the top ten, as the leaders put all but eight cars down a lap.

"This place, you just slide around," added Hawkins. "You try to get all you can get and try not to burn the tires up. I don't even think it's a driver's race track. You have to have a good car and save your stuff and try to be as smooth as you can."

Hawkins held on long enough to stay on the lead lap when the first yellow came out. Great pit strategy allowed him to move into the top five. Right off the restart, Hawkins charged to the front and made a bid for the lead on 187. Hawkins took the lead, not knowing if he could hang on.

"I didn't know," said Hawkins. "I knew we fell off pretty good on the first set of tires. I was hoping I could get by him and check out a little bit. I didn't know if I burned them up a bit when I got by him. We were just way too loose off the center to do anything with him."

The run up front was short lived, as eventual race winner Mark McFarland would go back by after only a handful of laps. Hawkins slipped back to third and rode out the remaining laps to score another solid top-five finish, his career-best at Myrtle Beach.

"I still don't like this place a whole lot," added Hawkins. "Actually, it really surprised me, and we had a shot at the win tonight. I can't say I dislike it too much now. We expect to run well, but it's always good to have momentum going into the next race. It can really lift you up a bit. We really go to the track every week thinking we can win the race each week."

Next up for the talented young racer is the Hooters Pro Cup Series event at Southern National Raceway in Kenly, NC, on Saturday, July 19th.

-credit: www.matthawkins.net

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland