USAR: South Boston: Race report

Good things come to those who wait SOUTH BOSTON, VA--Mart Nesbitt didn't win the Virginia Lottery, but it sure looked like it in Victory Lane at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway on Saturday night. Nesbitt took the lead from fellow ...

Good things come to those who wait

SOUTH BOSTON, VA--Mart Nesbitt didn't win the Virginia Lottery, but it sure looked like it in Victory Lane at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway on Saturday night.

Nesbitt took the lead from fellow Southern Division competitor Michael Ritch on lap 154 and led the remainder of the Lucas Oil 250 presented by Pepsi, prompting a long-awaited winners circle celebration. The win was the first for Nesbitt in 103 starts in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series, and it came in his sixth start at the .400-mile track in the Hooters ProCup Series.

``That just means we've been around for a long time,'' joked Nesbitt. ``We knew we could win, but you do it for so long that you begin to wonder.''

In the first half of the race, Martin must have wondered if the winless drought would continue.

Northern Division points leader Jeff Agnew appeared as he would be the driver to beat on the humid evening. Agnew started the race in the third spot, but the Copper Hill native quickly made his presence known at the tight bullring.

After making his way past Eric Corbett in the opening laps, Agnew quickly set his sights on pole sitter and race leader Kertus Davis. Agnew made his first bid for the top spot on lap 32, but Davis used the lapped car of Chad Beahr to hold him off. Davis would have no such luck on lap 62. After the lead duo made contact several times, Agnew pulled to the inside of Davis at the exit of turn four and beat the Silver City, N.C., driver back to the stripe at lap 62. Agnew continued to show his strength over the next 60 laps, holding a half-second lead over Jay Fogleman, who had moved into the second spot after starting the event in the sixth.

Allen Purkhiser and Danny Sammons brought out the fifth caution of the night on lap 125, sending all but one lead-lap car to pit lane for service. Agnew elected to stay on the track while the rest of the leaders took tires and fuel on lap 126.

Without fresh rubber, Agnew was no match for the charging field, and Brian Ross made his way past on lap 136. Ross would hold the lead for three laps before Michael Ritch took his turn at the point. Ritch, who started seventh, led 15 laps before Nesbitt made his way out front for good. Although Nesbitt led the final 97 laps, the outcome wasn't certain until the waning stages of the event.

Agnew, who had slipped to the tail end of the lead lap on old tires, caught a break on lap 192 when caution waved for the sixth time. The caution allowed Agnew to take on tires and rejoin the fight for the win. And he did just that.

Agnew rocketed through the field in pursuit of the leaders, slicing his way into third from 12th in just 28 green-flag laps. Agnew moved into second on lap 231 and was visibly the fastest car on the track. Agnew caught Nesbitt with a handful of laps remaining, but a broken lower A-arm dropped him to ninth at the finish, allowing Nesbitt to coast to his first win.

``I know you're not supposed to start celebrating until the race is over, but we started with two laps left,'' said Nesbitt. ``The only way we weren't going to win was if I broke, blew up or crashed, and I wasn't going to go fast enough to do any of that.''

Ritch finished the night in second. Kauffman took the checkered in third. After leading the event, Ross had to settle for fourth. Fogleman ended his night in fifth.

Davis finished the night in 12th position, but he did grab $1,000 for picking up the Advanced Auto Parts Pole Award.

Agnew finished ninth, but he did pocket $1,000 for being the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader.

Derrick Kelley picked up $500 for the Hard Charger award. Kelley finished sixth after starting 21st.

Kauffman's third-place finish was good enough for the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award, earning the Indiana driver an extra $1,000.

The race was slowed nine times for 54 laps of caution.

Lucas Oil 250 Notebook

Kauffman Coming

Northern Division ROTY candidate Joel Kauffman matched his best finish of the season on Saturday night, finishing third. Kauffman had averaged a 14th-place finish in his last four start in the Hooters ProCup Series before his top three.

``In the last three or four races, we've had a little bit of bad luck,'' said Kauffman. ``We kind of turned our momentum around a little tonight. I think it's going to turn around the rest of our season.''

Shark Attack

Jay Fogleman, known as the Short Track Shark, had an eventful evening at SOBO. After qualifying sixth, Fogleman jumped into second by lap 73. Fogleman's charge was quelled by a stop-and-go penalty for rough driving on lap 194. Fogleman, who won the last Northern Division race at New River Valley Speedway, rallied to finish fifth.

``Business wise it was a good run for us tonight. I gained points on almost everybody,'' said Fogleman. ``From personal satisfaction, it wasn't.''

Go South Young Man

Nesbitt's win was the first win for a Southern driver in the Northern division in 2003. Ritch, Stacy Puryear and Larry Barrett also crossed over for the event. The four drivers combined for an average finish of 3.5.

Good Sign

Perhaps the best sign that Stacy Puryear's woes are on the mend is the fact that a top-10 finish wasn't good enough. Puryear made his return to USAR Hooters ProCup action on Saturday night, finishing the night in the seventh spot.

``It's good to be back, but I'm still disappointed,'' said Puryear. ``I don't know what happened to the car.''

Puryear led final practice, but the former SBS champion never threatened for the win.


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Series Stock car
Drivers Brian Ross , Kertus Davis , Joel Kauffman , Jeff Agnew