Fayetteville, GA (September 10, 2001) - As the 2001 USAR Hooters ProCup regular season came to a close Saturday night at Chemung Speedrome one driver ended his season on a high note. A season of frustration ended happily for David Pletcher as he...
Fayetteville, GA (September 10, 2001) - As the 2001 USAR Hooters ProCup regular season came to a close Saturday night at Chemung Speedrome one driver ended his season on a high note.
A season of frustration ended happily for David Pletcher as he captured his first career win in the Series, outlasting Mardy Lindley to win the Naturally Fresh Dressings 250. Pletcher, who lost to Derrick Kelley by .001 of a second last year at USA International Speedway, was obviously happy after scoring the win at the challenging track.
"I just wanted to race one more time this season and that's why we came to New York," said Pletcher. "I grew up racing on short tracks like this and it worked out really good for us. I just want to thank my car owner Mike Muhlbaier and everyone for all of their support this season. We will be back next year and probably run in the Southern Division."
Lindley clinched the number one position from the Northern Division and followed in second. Charlie Ford collected his second consecutive top-five finish and Dale Delozier finished fourth, for his second straight top-five finish at Chemung Speedrome. Lonnie Rush, Sr. rebounded from two spins during the race to finish fifth.
Pletcher survived a night that displayed the caution flag 17 times and ended the night for many of the front running drivers in the point standings.
Brian Vickers, who entered the race with a mathematical shot to pass Lindley, was collected in an accident on lap 100 in turn two. Vickers was forced to pit several times to repair damage and later returned to action before finally parking his car for the night and collecting a 22nd-place finish.
Jeff Agnew, winner of the previous Northern Division race at Cayuga Speedway two weeks ago, was running in the top-five when Brendt Metzel spun in front of him and caused serious damage to his Chevrolet and his chances for a second consecutive win. The accident ruptured a fuel line and created a trail of fire as he came to a stop.
Regan Smith and Mike Herman, Jr. tied for the Sunoco Pole Award and the award and pole position was given to Smith based on a tiebreaker. Smith finished the Northern Division regular season with four pole awards, more than any driver in the division.
Smith led the first four laps before Agnew passed for the lead and remained out front until lap 125 when he collected the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award and then pitted for tires and fuel. Pletcher stayed on the track and led until lap 136 when Lindley passed for the lead on lap 137.
The Lindley lead was short-lived as Ford passed for the top spot on lap 139. Delozier passed Lindley on lap 168 and led for the first time this season. Pletcher made a bold move to get by Delozier and Ford for the lead on lap 170 and remained out front the rest of the way.
"Yea, that was pretty exciting for the fans I bet," added Pletcher. "We wanted to get a win so bad and I saw a chance and took it. That is what short track racing is all about."
Danny Abold finished sixth to win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award after he advanced 17 positions during the race. Herman, Jr. followed in seventh and Tom Pistone returned to the Series with a solid eighth-place showing. John Gaunt collected his first career top-10 finish and Smith rounded out the lead lap cars.
Bill Plemons, Jr. was forced to pit early in the race with an oil leak and after repairs returned to action some 30 or so laps down. Ford was able to hold off Plemons by just two points for fifth place in the final regular season standings.
The top-25 finishers in the regular season for the Northern Division are now qualified to compete in the Four Champions Championship Series which will kick off this Saturday afternoon at Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
The five-race Series will award points for each race and the driver with the highest number of points after his entry points and points gained from the races will be awarded the 2001 USAR Hooters ProCup National Championship and $250,000 first place prize out of $1 million dollars in postseason awards.