Huffman returns to victory lane. PENSACOLA, FL -- Shane Huffman had conquered the rough surface of Five Flags Speedway during qualifying to win both Advance Auto Parts Pole Awards in 2001 & 2002 but this time his Jennie-O Turkey Store team...
Huffman returns to victory lane.
PENSACOLA, FL -- Shane Huffman had conquered the rough surface of Five Flags Speedway during qualifying to win both Advance Auto Parts Pole Awards in 2001 & 2002 but this time his Jennie-O Turkey Store team decided to try something different and it worked.
Huffman, 29, used a different strategy focusing on the set-up underneath his Ford to make his car better on long runs. It worked as the former Hickory Motor Speedway track champion used his plan to pull away for his fifth career victory in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series and first win since October 2001.
Stacy Puryear enjoyed his second consecutive top-five run in the Series finishing second to Huffman. Mike Laughlin, Jr. enjoyed his first top-five finish since 2001 finishing third. Toby Porter was fourth and Steve Christian completed the top five.
"We always talk every week wondering if this is the week we get back in victory lane," sand an ecstatic Huffman. "I can't thank the entire team and especially Jennie-O Turkey Store for sticking with us through last year and helping us get back here tonight."
Huffman passed Laughlin to collect the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award to make his total winnings to $11,000 with the win.
Mart Nesbitt, a two-time track champion from the now closed New Ashville Speedway, won his first career pole in his 94th career start in the Series. Nesbitt regained a lap to the field he lost when his tires went away midway through the race and rebounded for a solid eighth-place finish.
"I am more happy for the guys than anything else," said Nesbitt after winning the Advance Auto Parts Pole Award. "We went and tested at Peach State Speedway because it is a lot like this place on tires and Bill Boger helped us out and we found some things to try that worked for us here today."
A trio of drivers returned to the USAR Hooters ProCup Series after missing the season-opening race at USA International Speedway three weeks ago.
Defending 2002 Series champion Jason Sarvis returned to the track after switching rides in the offseason. Sarvis, who joined the team just three weeks ago and built a new car, finished a respectable 12th on the lead lap.
Three-time Series champion Bobby Gill also made his return to the Series after missing the season-opener due to rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder. Gill, who had won both previous Hooters ProCup Series races at Five Flags Speedway in 2001 & 2002, qualified fifth and was racing three-wide for the lead when his Triple Diamond Aviation Ford lost the rear end on lap 44 ending his night.
Andrew Medlin finished sixth and also collected the Hard Charger Award after advancing from his 19th-place starting position. Medlin, who has opened the season with two consecutive top-five finishes in his Lighting & Power Ford, passed Huffman on lap 184 and led in a Series event in just his sophomore season.
Danny O'Quinn used a solid 14th-place finish to win Miller Lite Rookie of the Race honors. O'Quinn, the 2002 UARA Late Model Series champion, was the first car one lap down.
The race was slowed 10 times by caution for 70 laps.
NEWS & NOTES FROM FIVE FLAGS SPEEDWAY
Old "New" Face -- Tim Edwards was a surprise entry as the veteran driver decided to start at Pensacola. Edwards suffered mechanical problems on lap 44 and finished 30th.
Familiar Top-Five Faces -- Stacy Puryear, Toby Porter, Steven Christian and Shane Huffman have all finished in the top-five the first two races of the season.
Rough Start -- Mikie Stafford suffered motor problems on the first lap of the race and lost fluid on the track ending his night before an official lap had been completed.
Leading Laps -- Huffman has led a total of 195 out of the possible 750 laps completed in three USAR Hooters ProCup Series race held at Five Flags Speedway.
Out of the Booth -- Scott Sutherland returned to driving duties this weekend at Five Flags Speedway. Sutherland, who served as crew chief for Steven Christian in 1999, works a color commentator with Rick Benjamin on USAR Hooters ProCup Series Northern Division broadcasts and plans to compete in selected Southern Division events this season.