The Marietta, SC, resident started the fall classic in Jefferson from inside the fifth row of the 36-car starting field and stayed well within the top-10 for most of the 250 laps at the half-mile oval in the foothills of North Georgia. "It was...
The Marietta, SC, resident started the fall classic in Jefferson from inside the fifth row of the 36-car starting field and stayed well within the top-10 for most of the 250 laps at the half-mile oval in the foothills of North Georgia.
"It was just an awesome car all night long," said Ward. "We weren't quite as good this morning as we were the last time we were here, but I didn't want to make any changes to the car thinking that the track would come to us when the sun went down." "We just had an awfully good car. I can't complain really," continued Ward. "We have put in a lot of laps at Peach State over the years. I guess that helps."
In Ward's case experience paid off as he increased his winning percentage to fifty percent. The No. 97 Hooters Restaurants/W.J.Plemons Insurance driver has been serving as crew chief on the No. 7 Hooters Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Bill Plemons Jr., who finished a career best fourth in the Miller Lite 250.
"If being a crew chief full-time and a driver part-time is what it takes to win, maybe I need to go back and crew chief all year and let the car sit in the back room and then bring it out every once in a while."
Ward piloted the florescent orange Hooters Chevrolet past Plemonson lap 167 and remained at the helm for the last 94 laps, finishing with a 2-second lead over the No. 21 Discount Auto Parts Chevrolet of Derrick Kelley. The Miller Lite 250 slowed 13 times for 76 laps with just three lead changes among three drivers.
"We didn't get the win, but we really needed this good finish,"said Kelley. "We've had a string of bad luck lately so this is almost as good as a win. This week we'll take second but come St. Augustine in two weeks, we're going for the win."
Kelley did collect the W.J. Plemons Hard Charger Award with his runner-up finish after starting the race back in eighteenth.
Durham, North Carolina's Jay Fogleman has only two races remaining to make up the 220 points that separate him and the Series point leader Bobby Gill. Fogleman finished eighth in the Miller Lite 250 after a wild ride out of turn three and into the grass two weeks ago at Mobile International Speedway. "It's not a bad finish," said Fogleman. "We finished in the top-10 but every position that Bobby (Gill) finishes ahead of us on the track is farther behind we fall in the points.
"We had to replace the nose and some other things on the car after Mobile. We made some changes to the set up in the car that we thought would make it better. It didn't, so we'll change it all back before St.Augustine." The No. 5 Naturally Fresh Dressings and Dips Ford Taurus driven by Hooters ProCup Series points leader Gill started event 18 from outside the front row but took command of the race by the exit of turn two.
Gill led the event for the first 128 circuits around the half-mile oval and collected the $1,000 Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award. The 1997 Hooters ProCup Champion, Mario Gosselin, put the No.10 W.J. Plemons investments Chevrolet on the the Discount Auto Parts Polefor the seventh time this season but finished the race seventeenth. Gosselin was running second to Gill on lap 86 but on lap 90 he dropped off the pace and came down pit-road for a green flag stop. "Our bad luck continues,"said Gosselin. "We had some kind of problem in the fuel cell. We ran out of gas 90 laps into the race. We'll take it back to the shop and fix it for the next race."
Brian Sockwell tied his career best finish with a fifth place finish that earned him the $1,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Race, while Steve Christian remained ahead of Mardy Lindley in the points for the $10,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year honors. The Miller Lite 250 from Peach State Speedway will be televised on Speedvision Friday, October, 29 at 9 p.m. with a re-broadcast at midnight and again on Monday, November 1 at noon. The next stop for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series will be November 6 at 7 p.m. in St. Augustine Speedway for the Lucas Oil Products 250. For ticket information call 1-800-852-7223.
Top-20 Points Leaders Following the Miller Lite 250 Peach State Speedway October 23,1999
1. Bobby Gill 3040 2. Jay Fogleman 2820 3. Mario Gosselin 2554 4. Steve Christian 2363 5. Jeff Agnew 2276 6. Michael Ritch 2263 7. Derrick Kelley 2225 8. Johnny Rumley 2180 9. Mardy Lindley 2175 10. Andy Thurman 2072 11. Mike Laughlin, Jr. 2016 12. Scott Wimmer 1985 13. Tim Clayton 1907 14. Charlie Ford 1892 15. Trent Owens 1864 16. Bill Plemons Jr. 1800 17. Mart Nesbitt 1761 18. Jabe Jones 1758 19. Toby Porter 1592 20. Karen Schulz 1509
Results Fin Start Car Driver Hometown Sponsor Car Run Led 1 (9) 97 M. Ward Marietta, SC Hooters Restaurants Chevrolet 250 94Running 2 (18) 21 D. Kelley Auburndale, FL Discount Auto Parts Chevrolet250 0 Running 3 (2) 5 B. Gill Dalton, GA Naturally Fresh/PGT Industries Ford 250128 Running 4 (16) 7 B. Plemons Jr. Locust Grove, GA Hooters Restaurants Chevrolet250 28 Running 5 (10) 16 B. Sockwell Brown Summitt, NC IRMO Grading Chevrolet 2500 Running 6 (6) 05 M. Lindley Taylors, SC Aloe Lu-Ya Ford 250 0 Running 7 (20) 30 M. Nesbitt Asheville, NC State Fair Brand Corn DogsChevrolet 250 0 Running 8 (4) 4 J. Fogleman Durham, NC Premiere Motorsports Ford 250 0 Running 9 (13) 07 T. Clayton Inman, SC Budweiser Chevrolet 250 0 Running 10 (8) 0 S. Christian Sugar Hill, GA Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet 2490 Running 11 (14) 95 S. Vicars St. Paul, VA rapman.com Chevrolet 249 0 Running 12 (7) 47 A. Thurman Concord, NC Naturally Fresh Spring Water Ford249 0 Running 13 (19) 25 S. Wimmer Wausau, WI Jackaroo Gold Sauces Chevrolet 2490 Running 14 (11) 32 R. Porter Easley, SC Porter Motorsports Ford 249 0 Running 15 (3) 27 J. Rumley Winston Salem, NC Blue Ridge Color Corp Chevrolet249 0 Running 16 (21) 12 T. Edwards Arden, NC Edwards Racing Chevrolet 249 0 Running 17 (1) 10 M. Gosselin Lake Wales, FL W.J. Plemons Investments Chevrolet249 0 Running 18 (28) 62 J. Pate Pensacola, FL Pate Racing Enterprises Chevrolet249 0 Running 19 (12) 24 C. Dale Jefferson, GA WB/Robbins Lumber Chevrolet 249 0Running 20 (25) 89 K. Schulz Statesville, NC Jackaroo Sauces Pontiac 248 0Running 21 (31) 3 J. McClain Iron Station, NC J & J Motor Ventures Chevrolet248 0 Running 22 (15) 09 J. Jones Martin, GA Coors Light Chevrolet 248 0 Running 23 (23) 67 D. Gwynn Eden, NC Miller Lite Ford 248 0 Running 24 (22) 14 C. Ford Charles City, VA Sun Graphics Chevrolet 247 0 Running 25 (34) 85 C. Redwine Mantee, MS Redwine Motorsports Chevrolet 2470 Running 26 (32) 08 R. Davidson Lenoir, NC Ekamant Chevrolet 247 0 Running 27 (29) 36 T. Owens Harrisburg, NC 1-800 BE PETTY Pontiac 246 0 Running 28 (35) 9 J. Brown Sarasota, FL US Tank & Cryogenic Chevrolet 2450 Running 29 (26) 52 J. Bowser Clearwater, FL Eagles Nest Racing Chevrolet 2450 Running 30 (30) 39 E. Beahr Mechanicsville, VA Fidelity Printing, Inc. Ford242 0 Running 31 (5) 73 J. Agnew Copper Hill, VA Twin City Motor ExchangeChevrolet 242 0 Running 32 (17) 42 B. Vickers Thomasville, NC 2 Quick Performance Shocks Chevrolet238 0 Running 33 (24) 54 R. Carnes Anderson, SC Lil'Joes Transportation Chevrolet203 0 Engine 34 (36) 48 J. Mann Greenville, SC Sterling Silver Racing Team Ford98 0 Accident 35 (27) 37 D. Sprouse Greenville, SC Brad Norris Auto Sales Ford 420 Ignition 36 (33) 1 D. Satterfield Spartanburg, SC Hawk Saw Blades/COFAB SteelChevrolet 18 0 Accident
# of cautions - 13 total, Laps under caution - 76, Total time of race - 2:07:42, Margin of victory - 2 seconds Lap Leaders - 1-128 Bobby Gill, 129-156 Bill Plemons, Jr., 157-250 Marty Ward Discount Auto Parts Pole - $1,000 - Mario Gosselin Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader - $1,000 - Bobby Gill W.J. Plemons Hard Charger - $500 - Derrick Kelley Miller Lite Rookie of the Race - $1,000 - Brian Sockwell