USAR: Salem: Race report

Ross rolls through Salem. Salem, IN (May 19, 2002) -- Brian Ross continued his impressive early season run in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series, holding off a hard-charging Charlie Ford to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by NGA Hooters...

Ross rolls through Salem.

Salem, IN (May 19, 2002) -- Brian Ross continued his impressive early season run in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series, holding off a hard-charging Charlie Ford to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 250 presented by NGA Hooters Golf Tour Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway. With the win Ross became the first driver in the history of the Northern Division to win three consecutive races during the regular season.

"I can't believe the start we have had so far this year," said Ross.' It is a credit to the guys on the crew working so hard. We began the season with a goal of running well and finishing in the top-five. This is great."

Ross began the race winning the Sunoco Pole Award and led the first 47 laps before Mardy Lindley claimed the lead for the next 14 laps, then Ross passed and took the lead.

Lindley regained the lead and remained out front until he pitted under caution on lap 103. Forrest Urban remained on the track and took the top-spot under caution. After the caution, Lindley was collected on the back stretch when Justin Alsip and Lester Lesneski made contact and left Lindley with nowhere to go.

Ross was leading when he was penalized for failing to slow for the caution flag on lap 137, giving the lead to Charlie Ford. Ford took advantage and led the next 33 laps before Danny Sammons passed for the lead on lap 171. Ross remained in the top-five but was unable to move up in position.

"We only took on two tires during the first pit stop because we wanted to have four fresh tires for late in the race," Ross added."We wanted to be ready when the time came to go for the win."

After a Matt Parsons spin on lap 173, Ross pitted for tires along with all of the lead lap cars except Sammons and Urban. On the restart Ford was able to pass Sammons for the lead on lap 194. Ford led the next eight laps before Ross passed for the final time on lap 202.

Ford held on to match his career-best finish of second place. Glenn Gault collected his first top-three finish in the Series and Jason McLellan and Philip Rondeau completed the top-five.

McLellan collected a top-five finish and escaped injury after he lost a tire and hit the turn four wall on the final lap.

"That was the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car," McLellan added."I remember hitting the wall and then I remember taking my helmet off."

The race was slowed nine times by caution with one red flag given to the field on lap 74 when Jeff Oakley, Wayne Setterington, Lonnie Rush and Richard Hampton were all involved in a crash in turn one. Setterington was transported to the hospital for xrays and later returned to the track with bruises.

In addition to his winning the race Ross took home the Sunoco Pole Award, Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award and the Southern Pride most laps led bonuses for a total of $13,500 in winnings.

John Gaunt rebounded from losing a motor during Saturday practice to win the W.J. Plemons Hard Charger Award moving up 16 positions to collect a top-10 finish.

The USAR Hooters ProCup Series Northern Division will return to action on June 1 at Holland International Speedway.

-usar-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Brian Ross , John Gaunt