Gill Delivers the Goods in Pensacola PENSACOLA, FL - While the talk of the weekend at Five Flags Speedway was tire management, a late caution flag provided the opportunity Bobby Gill needed to hold off a hard-charging Derrick Kelley to win the...
Gill Delivers the Goods in Pensacola
PENSACOLA, FL - While the talk of the weekend at Five Flags Speedway was tire management, a late caution flag provided the opportunity Bobby Gill needed to hold off a hard-charging Derrick Kelley to win the Lucas Oil 250 presented by Food World Saturday night in front of a standing-room only crowd at the historic western Florida short track.
Gill took the lead from Kelley on lap 228 and held off Kelley during the final restart on lap 246 for his second win of the season. "We all knew tire management was going to be the key here tonight," said Gill. "We were able to save enough there at the end to get the advantage we needed to hold off Derrick." For Kelley, the finish was somewhat disappointing but good for his team and their efforts. "We had a great car tonight, especially on longer runs," said Kelley. "We hated to see that caution near the end of the race because it allowed everyone to line up close for the restart. We had an awesome motor in this car and we'll take this (second-place) and try and get the win next time." Jay Fogleman, Hooters ProCup Series race winner two weeks ago at St. Augustine Speedway, finished third and Steven Christian and Kertus Davis finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Seven cars finished on the lead lap with John Kinder and Stacy Puryear following Davis in the finishing order. While Fogleman collected a solid finish the Durham, North Carolina veteran felt the plan set by his team didn't work out as planned. "We had a strategy set up for this race," said Fogleman. "We saved a set of tires for the end of the race and the way the cautions worked out we couldn't use them to our advantage. We'll take a top three finish and go on to Ace in two weeks. Our team is really confident right now that we have cars capable of challenging for the win each week and that is a credit to everyone on this team." Shane Huffman won the Lance Snacks Pole Award with a qualifying time 18.420 seconds (97.720 mph) and led the first 45 laps and remained in the top five for the first half of the race before battery problems forced him into the pits which put him a lap down and out of contention for the win. Davis and Kinder both enjoyed solid finishes with Davis reaching as high as fourth during the race and Kinder rebounding after brake problems at St. Augustine to move up from his starting position of 22 to finish sixth. "The car was good throughout the race," said Davis. "With the track surface like it was you had to be consistant and take car of the car. This team sure is pumped up right now with our finish. Hopefully we can remain in the top ten each week and maybe get a one or two this year." Kinder enjoyed his best finish of the young season and was the only driver to qualify out of the top 20 and still finish on the lead lap. "We paced ourselves at the beginning of the race and we felt the car was going to be good on long runs," said Kinder. "The track really wore the right side tires but we worked hard all night and the crew did a great job for us tonight." For a while it looked as if Stacy Puryear might have the car to beat as the Cerro Gordo, NC driver led two times for nine laps. "We had a really good car tonight," said Puryear. "We moved up from eighth to third. We pitted during the race and it made the car real tight and we couldn't go when we needed to but this was a good run for us. It was another top ten finish and that puts us in the top ten in the points." The race was slowed nine times for caution with one red flag thrown when Toby Robertson made hard contact in the middle of turns three and four after a blown tire. After making contact with the wall his Chevrolet caught fire after an oil line ruptured. Robertson escaped uninjured and finished 28th. Gill led at lap 125 to collect the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award while Kinder used his strong finish to garnish the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award. After leading a race for the first time two weeks ago at St. Augustine, Daniel Johnson collected his first top ten of the season to win the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award. The USAR Hooters ProCup Series returns to action in two weeks when Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina hosts the Jackaroo Sauces 250. Gill is the defending champion at the track. For more information please visit the official USAR website, www.usarprocup.com.