USAR: Myrtle Beach: Southern Division preview

The Battle at the Beach Longs, SC-When the Southern Division of the Hooters Pro Cup Series unloads at Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway (MBS) for the Groucho's Deli 250 presented by Black's Tire Service on June 25, they'll be worrying about the track...

The Battle at the Beach

Longs, SC-When the Southern Division of the Hooters Pro Cup Series unloads at Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway (MBS) for the Groucho's Deli 250 presented by Black's Tire Service on June 25, they'll be worrying about the track as much as each other.

The track hasn't been levigated, nor is the surface coming apart. The MBS surface just has a mind of its own.

"You can come here on day and think you've got the car dialed in," said Jason Sarvis, driver of the No. 16 Naturally Fresh Ford. "Then, you can come back the next day and the track has totally changed. I've raced here a long time, and this track can change in a matter of hours."

In 1999, Sarvis picked up the track championship at MBS and won at MBS in 2002 during his Hooters Pro Cup championship run. Sarvis will be one of the favorites to win the Groucho's Deli 250, but it's another former MBS regular who seems to have the ever-changing .536-mile layout figured out better than the rest. Benny Gordon swept last year's races at the D-shaped oval.

Gordon out-dueled local ace Stuart Ricks to become the first Northern Division competitor to win a Southern Division race. Gordon, interloping from the Northern Division, took the lead from rookie driver Stuart Ricks with 38 laps remaining and cruised to an 11.786-second win over Brad Rogers, driver of the No. 29 KellyCo. Heavy Hauling Ford, at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday, June 26, 2004.

Proving that his win wasn't a fluke, Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, completed the MBS sweep last year by edging out Michael Ritch in the Mark Brooks Memorial 250 during the Championship Series. In the process, Gordon believes he's come up with an answer for the asphalt enigma.

Debunking local wisdom, Gordon believes the best way to get around Myrtle Beach Speedway is to drive every lap like it's the last one.

"The hammer-down philosophy seems to be the only strategy that works for me here," said Gordon, who has won three times in a row at MBS. "We set our car up for the 50-lap runs, and that's the way the cautions fell for us during the Championship race."

That may work for Gordon, but Shane Huffman, driver of the No. 81 Knight's Companies Ford, has a different philosophy which took him victory in his 2003 Championship season.

"You've just got to take it nice and easy," said Huffman, who is the last driver besides Gordon to win at MBS. "You really can't get aggressive here because it will definitely hurt you on the long runs. [MBS] is just a tough old place. The guy that falls off the least is going to be the guy that wins."

The Groucho's Deli 250 presented by Black's Tire Service is scheduled to take the green flag at 7:30 p.m. on June 25.

Front gates will open for the general public at 3 p.m. Pro Cup qualifying will start at 4:30 p.m. and be followed by a 50-lap Allison Legacy Series event. The Pro Cup on-track autograph session will start at 6:15 p.m.

-usar-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Shane Huffman