USAR: Nashville Fair: Race report

NASHVILLE, TN - Shane Huffman passed Jason Sarvis on lap 184 and held off a hard-charging Clay Rogers to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 presented by Goodyear Gemini Dealers Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway. The win was Huffman's fourth of...

NASHVILLE, TN - Shane Huffman passed Jason Sarvis on lap 184 and held off a hard-charging Clay Rogers to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 presented by Goodyear Gemini Dealers Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway. The win was Huffman's fourth of the season and extended his points lead over Steven Christian to 236 points.

"It's been easy to drive these cars lately," Huffman said in Victory Lane. "I cost us the win at Kenly. I was driving hard to get one for the team tonight."

There was no doubt that Huffman was trying hard to get the win, but the Hickory native caught a break on lap 153.

Huffman, who led 109 of the first 137 laps, had fallen from the point to fourth as his tires--and fuel-- began to fade. Huffman trailed Jason Sarvis, Bobby Gill and Mardy Lindley and was going have to make a green-flag stop when the caution flew for the sixth and final time at the .590-mile track with 97 laps remaining. The timely caution allowed Huffman to make his stop under the yellow flag and stay on the lead lap.

"That's what happens when things are going your way,'' said Huffman. "I was going to have to make a stop within five laps. I was running about have throttle before the caution trying to save fuel."

The Jennie-O Turkey Store crew sent Huffman off pit road in the third spot, and the points leader did the rest.

Huffman made his way around Bobby Gill, who took only two tires on the final stop, on lap 177 and tracked down race leader Jason Sarvis seven laps later to retake the lead. Rogers, who took four tires on the final stop, bypassed Sarvis on lap 198 to take over the second. Huffman's sizable lead, however, was too much for Rogers to overcome in the last 52 laps and the Mooresville, NC native fell short at the stripe.

"The car was a piece of junk at the start of the race, but we got it better,'' said Rogers. "When we made our first stop, there were no holes left on the right-rear and -front tires. It says a lot about this team. You don't usually see guys go from that bad to that good.''

But Rogers wasn't the only driver to go from the front to the back and back to the front during the evening.

Mardy Lindley was running third when the teams hit pit road for the final stop of the night. Lindley left the pits in fourth spot, but received at stop-and-go penalty for running over his air hose. Lindley charged through the field over the last 86 laps to finish third.

"Sometimes the fastest car doesn't win,'' said Lindley. "We've been running in the top two all year, but we need to start winning.''

Sarvis and Gill finished fourth and fifth, respectively. In addition to picking up his fourth win of the season, Huffman also grabbed $1,000 for winning the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award and picked $1,000 more for winning Lucas Oil Products Half-Way Leader Award.

Rookie J.P. Morgan received $1,000 for winning the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award. Bruce Wilson was awarded $500 for winning the Hard Charger Award.

O'Reily Auto Parts 250 Notebook

Gordon's Streak Over: Benny Gordon's came into Nashville looking to keep his string of top-10 finishes alive. Gordon had finished in the top 10 in his previous five starts in Series action, but the South Carolina driver never got a chance to make it six top-10 finishes. After running the fifth fastest lap in practice, Gordon lost his engine late in final practice. Gordon didn't start the race.

Stout Power: Automotive Specialists won the CV Products Engine Builder of the race--and for good reason. The first seven cars to finish the race had Automotive Specialists' engines under the hood.

Dejà vu: Although they were a bit more spread out, the top five finished exactly were they started. The five, however, did take different routes to get the checkered. Clay Rogers dropped to the back early in the event. Bobby Gill and Jason Sarvis dropped outside the top 10 after making pit stops. Mardy Lindley fell to the rear after his stop-and-go penalty. Huffman was the only driver not to drop out of the top 5 all race.

Fairgrounds First: While Huffman won the inaugural O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, he wasn't the only driver in the field that has made a trip to the winners circle at the famed track. Bobby Gill won the All-American 400 in 1994.

Unlucky 100: Don Satterfield made his 100th start in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series on Saturday night, but the evening didn't go as planned for the longtime veteran. Satterfield completed just 12 laps before his engine expired, relegating him to 26th position at the finish.

Don't Look Now: Mardy Lindley and Jason Sarvis have competed in just eight of the nine USAR Hooters ProCup Series Southern Division events this season, but the duo has made the most of their track time. Lindley moved into third in points after finishing third at Nashville. Sarvis moved into fourth in the points after his fourth-place run at the .590-mile track.

Gaita Going: After experiencing mechanical problems for the second week in a row, Joe Gaita finished 19th. The poor finish dropped Gaita from third in the points to fifth.


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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Shane Huffman