USAR: South Boston II: Mark McFarland race report

McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Roll To Fourth-Place Finish In South Boston USAR Northern Division Event Southern Division Points Leader Earns Third Pole Position Of 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Season Mooresville, NC (August 11, 2008) -- Mark...

McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Roll To Fourth-Place Finish In South Boston USAR Northern Division Event
Southern Division Points Leader Earns Third Pole Position Of 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Season

Mooresville, NC (August 11, 2008) -- Mark McFarland won his third USAR Hooters Pro Cup pole position this season en route to a solid fourth-place finish in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division Miller Lite 250 at South Boston (VA) Speedway Saturday night.

"We had a couple of poles at the start of the year and then we didn't get one for awhile," said McFarland (right), who now has 12 career USAR pole positions to his credit. "We finally got another one. We had a good car in practice and then we made some adjustments to it before qualifying to make it even better. It didn't hurt that we were the last ones to go out in qualifying, so that helped a little bit either."

McFarland was fast right off the truck posting a time of 15.809 seconds to take the top spot in qualifying on the .357-mile South Boston oval. At the drop of the green, however, the Winchester, VA native knew his No. 81s Sears Auto Center/Knight's Companies Chevrolet Monte Carlo was suffering from the same handling problems that saddled them with a 12th-place USAR finish the week before at Hickory Motor Speedway.

"When we started the race, the car acted the same way it did at Hickory," said McFarland. "It was tight and just wouldn't turn in the corners. You'd drive into the corner and the front end would just take off on you. That's one of last year's cars and we're just not going to run that any more this season. We'll park it and save our good cars for the upcoming championship series."

Unlike the Hickory event, however, McFarland was able to stay in contention for the win at South Boston thanks to the solid work of his Pete Knight Racing pit crew.

"We pitted three times," said McFarland. "We pitted early for tires on Lap 21 and then we came back for gas around Lap 40. We made our last pit stop with about 50 laps to go. We came out fifth and picked up one spot in the final laps. We made some changes that improved the car and we were decent at the end of the race, but really, the car just wasn't what it needed to be."

Also slowing McFarland's progress to the front was a slew of cautions -- 10 in all -- that made it even harder to pick up positions on the tight South Boston oval.

"It was tough to pass," said McFarland. "Track position meant everything because it's hard to pass there. Then there were a lot of wrecks and a lot of caution flags that slowed the race. Guys were racing crazy. I was just happy to get out of there in one piece."

McFarland will be looking to do the same, plus put the icing on a solid season, the next time the USAR stockers take the track at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 20.

The event will mark the end of the USAR regular season and determine the Southern Division champion. Currently, McFarland leads the Southern Division standings by 44 points over rival Michael Ritch.

"We're going there to win the race," said McFarland of the North-South Division combination event. "We're not going to put a lot of extra pressure on ourselves because we're racing for a championship. We're just going to do what we always do which is try to win the race. If we do that, the point's deal will take care of itself."

McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Auto Center/Knight's Racing Chevy will take to the .533-mile high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday, August 20 with a practice at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Qualifying for the regular season finale Food City 150 will be at 2:30 p.m. with the green flag falling on the race at 5:45 p.m.

The event is part of a twilight racing doubleheader as a lead in to the O'Reilly 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. General Admission tickets for this exciting twinbill are just $30 for adults.

-credit: pkr

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland