JEFF AGNEW & EDDIE ASBURY: AN OLD SCHOOL GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT Concord, NC -- April 13, 2009 -- More than a decade ago, USARacing Pro Cup Series driver, Jeff Agnew, and Team 7 Motorsports owner, Eddie Asbury, shook hands to seal the commitment...
JEFF AGNEW & EDDIE ASBURY: AN OLD SCHOOL GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT
Concord, NC -- April 13, 2009 -- More than a decade ago, USARacing Pro Cup Series driver, Jeff Agnew, and Team 7 Motorsports owner, Eddie Asbury, shook hands to seal the commitment between them to compete in the Series. It was clearly an 'old school' gesture where a man's character was measured by his word. Unlike today's world, there were no lengthy negotiations, no contracts for legal review, no clauses or small print, just a simple handshake.
Agnew's racing career began at the age of 19 where he started out, like many others, in the Family Division at Franklin County Speedway in Callaway , VA. racing street cars. After two years, he transitioned to the Late Model Division and recorded an impressive eight Late Model Stocks Championships during his tenure in the series. In 1997, his prowess on the track captured the attention of a successful West Virginia coal operator, Eddie Asbury. After a race in Kingsport , TN , Asbury asked to meet with Agnew at his shop in Bluefield , WV to discuss a joint venture to the USAR Pro Cup Series.
"I didn't really know the man," recounts Agnew. "I met with him and found out he was in the coal business and electric motors...he's a unique individual, a super good guy...and we talked about a move to a different series. We looked into everything and decided that the Pro Cup Series was where we wanted to start our career together. We liked what it had to offer and we felt strongly that we could be very competitive in this Series, so we shook hands and went to work."
In 1998 and his first Pro Cup Series season with Team 7 Motorsports, Asbury - who likens his determined driving style to childhood hero Darrell Waltrip - didn't disappoint his new car owner. Admittedly surprising even himself, Agnew and team clinched both the Rookie of the Year honors and the Championship title.
So what would a second Pro Cup Series Championship mean to Agnew? "Well, it would mean the first one wasn't luck," Agnew laughs. "We really can't complain, we've finished in the Top Ten pretty much every season. I guess we want to look for the best spot and, in the Pro Cup Series, that's definitely first."
In the Series' season-opener at Concord (NC) Speedway on April 4th, Agnew qualified 15th and quickly muscled his way through the field. Running as high as second, he stayed in the hunt with an impressive run throughout most of the day until a late-race incident took him out of contention for the win. Agnew and team were relegated to a 12th place finish, but the ever-optimistic 43-year-old considers the glass half-full rather than half-empty.
"We worked on our Concord car during the winter," Agnew said. "We tried some things -- some different setups -- hoping to make gains on our competition in the season-opener. We found that we were off in several different areas -- nowhere close to where we should have been - but we were able to make adjustments which allowed us to have a decent run overall. I believe we could have finished in the top five if nothing had happened. To be as bad as we were and to run as competitively as we did in the top five, was actually very, very promising."
New challenges await Agnew and Team 7 Motorsports as they prepare for the second race on the Pro Cup Series schedule, the Sunoco 250 at South Georgia Motorsports Park . The team has not competed at SGMP since October 2007 where Agnew posted a 16th place finish.
Agnew says the team is getting geared up and ready for their return to the .5-mile track. "We've been working with Billy Hess on our South Georgia car," he said. "That track requires a totally different package than what I typically run so we'll give it a shot and see what happens."
With some of the hottest contenders in the Pro Cup Series slated to race at South Georgia -- Caleb Holman, Bobby Gill, Drew Herring, Clay Rogers, Brandon Ward, Matt Lofton, Brett Butler, John Gibson, Derek Kale, Billy Bigley Jr., and Ronnie Souders Jr., to name a few -- the team of Agnew and Asbury will certainly have their work cut out for them. Prepared for the challenge, the duo are confident they're just a handshake away from a victory celebration.
Catch all the action of the USARacing Pro Cup Series with the running of the Sunoco 250 at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil , GA on Saturday, April 25th at 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.racesgmp.com or call 229-896-7000.