USAR: Peach State II: Race report

Bobby Gill Wins Pep Boys 250 Jefferson, GA - Lamb and Robinson Motorsports put Bobby Gill behind the wheel of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Ford this week to see where the team stood. At the end of the Pep Boys 250 presented by Lucas Oil ...

Bobby Gill Wins Pep Boys 250

Jefferson, GA - Lamb and Robinson Motorsports put Bobby Gill behind the wheel of the No. 06 USG Sheetrock Ford this week to see where the team stood.

At the end of the Pep Boys 250 presented by Lucas Oil Products at Peach State Speedway on Saturday night, they stood in victory lane.

Gill made his way past Derrick Kelley, driver of the No. 00 Adesa Impact Auto Auction Chevrolet, on Lap 149, survived a green-white-checkered finish and beat David Pletcher to the checkered flag by .262 sec.

"I had a good feeling when we left [Virginia] that we might win," said team owner and crew chief Jamie Mosley. "We still got some work to do, but the crew and Bobby worked out real well this weekend."

Actually, it was the work by the crew that allowed Gill to showcase his talents in the second half of the event.

Gill was the first of the lead-lap cars to come to pit lane on Lap 130, and the first car off of pit lane. After Danny O'Quinn Jr. and Clay Rogers came to pit road on Lap 143, Gill cycled in behind Kelley and Mike Laughlin Jr., who both pitted earlier.

With fresher tires, Gill needed just five laps to make his way to the point and set sail en route to his fourth win of the year.

"We've got a bunch of good guys on this team, and they pulled off a heck of a pit stop," said Gill, who was making his first start for Lamb and Robinson Motorsports, which previously fielded a car for Joe Gaita. "We had to back up to get out of the pits, and we still beat everybody out. I think once we get together and go through the cars that we'll get even better."

While Gill's pit stop helped him to victory, several other drivers' pit stops-or lack thereof-may have cost them a shot at the win.

Clay Rogers, who pitted on Lap 143, restarted 19th after making his stop and could only make it back to sixth at the finish.

O'Quinn Jr., driver of the No. 02 Homesteader Trailer Chevrolet, took the lead away from pole sitter Shane Huffman, driver of the No. 84 Elm Hill Ford, on the sixth lap and checked out on the field for much of the first half of the event, building comfortable leads over Clay Rogers, driver of the No. 44 Johnny Suzuki Ford, and Gill in the first 50 laps. O'Quinn Jr. was able to hold the lead until he pitted on Lap 143. But after his stop, O'Quinn Jr. was never a factor.

"I don't know what happened to the car," said O'Quinn Jr., who finished 10th. "All we did was change tires, but our car just wasn't the same. We'll have to go back to the shop and see if we broke anything in the car. It shouldn't have gone from that good to that bad. If the car had of been as good in the second half, I felt like we had enough time to make it back to the front."

Huffman didn't have enough time.

The 2003 Hooters ProCup champion opted to pit under a late caution to take on four tires. But by the time the caution waved at Lap 226, Huffman was a lap down.

"Hindsight being 20/20, we should have stayed up front all night, come in and got our four tires like everyone else did and go on and win the race," said Huffman. "We had the best car by far, but who would have thought we would have gone that long without a caution."

After making his stop, Huffman charged back in the lead lap and finished fifth.

Although the late caution allowed Huffman to make his mandatory stop, the yellow flag wasn't what Mike Laughlin Jr. wanted to see.

"I felt like I had a car that could win here tonight," said Laughlin Jr., driver of the No. 7 Tucson Ford. "If we had a long green-flag run, we could have chased [Pletcher and Gill] down. But the way our luck has been, we'll take third and get out of here."

Laughlin's third-place finish was his best finish of the season.

Pletcher also notched his best result of the year with his second-place finish and picked up $500 for being the Hard Charger.

"Starting where we did tonight, I'm real happy to finish second," said Pletcher, who started 24th. "To finish second to Bobby Gill is almost like a win anyway. A lot of good cars were still on the race track, and we proved that we could be a contender."

After struggling through the first 25 laps, Brad Rogers, driver of the No. 29 KellyCo Heavy Hauling Ford, pitted on Lap 34 to make a chassis adjustment. Rogers was able to stay on the lead lap until coming to pit road on Lap 130. Rogers made up six spots in the pits and went on to finish fourth. Rogers picked up $1,000 for being the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race.

Clay Rogers, Billy Bigley Jr., Jay Fogleman, Daniel Johnson and O'Quinn Jr. rounded out the top 10.

The race was slowed 12 times for 74 laps of caution.

There were four lead changes among four drivers.

Pep Boys 250 Notebook

Johnson Grabs Top 10

In just his third race in the No. 16 Naturally Fresh Ford, Johnson picked up his first top-10 finish of the season. Johnson started 11th and finished ninth. Before joining forces with Haskell Willingham, Johnson's previous best finish was 13th at Peach State on April 3.

Gentry Shows Strength

Although his finish position didn't show it, Randy Gentry, driver of the No. 19 Chevrolet, was a force to be reckoned with in the Pep Boys 250.

Gentry qualified a season-best eighth and was running as high as third during the race. Unfortunately, Gentry suffered a stop-and-go penalty for a pitting infraction and lost a lap. While battling Bobby Gill to get back on the lead lap, Gentry spun and lost another lap. Gentry finish 20th.

Collins Posts Best Finish

Brandon Collins, driver of the No. 43 Collins Chevrolet, notched his best finish of the season by finishing 17th. Collins previous best finish was a 20th at Southern National Speedway on July 24.

Role Reversal

David Pletcher picked up his Series-high fifth Hard Charger Award of the season in the Pep Boys 250.

"I'll take the money, but I don't want to make this a habit," said Pletcher, who picked up $500 for advancing the most positions during the race. Pletcher started 24th and finished second.

At the start of the season, Billy Bigley Jr. was often the recipient of the award, but Bigley Jr. has qualified third and sixth in the last two races.

First Timers

The Pep Boys 250 featured five drivers making their first start of 2004. Michael Burton, Larry Goolsby, Jimmy Nowell, Chad Dokken and Paul Kelley competed for the first time this season at PSS.

Kelley, a regular at Georgia short tracks, recorded the best finish of the quintet, posting a 21st-place finish in his first start.


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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Clay Rogers , Billy Bigley , Danny O'Quinn , Shane Huffman