USAR: Southern CS: Mark McFarland race report

McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Finish Fourth In USAR Southern National Championship Event Mooresville, NC (October 20, 2008) --Mark McFarland had the winning set-up for Saturday night's USAR Hooters Pro cup championship race at Southern ...

McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Finish Fourth In USAR Southern National Championship Event

Mooresville, NC (October 20, 2008) --Mark McFarland had the winning set-up for Saturday night's USAR Hooters Pro cup championship race at Southern National Raceway Park. Unfortunately for the driver of the No. 81s Sears Auto Center Chevy, the race was run Sunday afternoon.

"We tested in the evening both Thursday and Friday and our car was almost perfect for night-time racing conditions," said McFarland, who finished fourth in the 250-lap event. "We got rained out Saturday and the race was run Sunday afternoon. We were in trouble from the start. I'm amazed we finished fourth as much as we struggled trying to get the car to handle in the daytime conditions."

McFarland, second in the USAR points chase heading into the race, was the fastest iron in the log topping practice with a lap of 14.945 seconds (96.353 average miles per hour) on the ultra-fast Southern National four-tenths mile oval. When rains Saturday afternoon drenched qualifying and the race, the field was set by points putting McFarland on the outside of the front row with championship leader Benny Gordon.

It didn't take long for sparks to fly.

"I don't know what happened to Benny going into the first corner," said McFarland. "We were side by side and he slid way up the track. That carried me way up in the loose stuff. Fortunately, we had a restart because somebody spun behind us. I was able to getby Bennyon that one and we led most of the early part of the race."

McFarland and his Pete Knight Racing entry held the top spot until pitting after another caution on Lap 83. Now back in the pack, McFarland tried to race his way back to the front only to have a balky race car slow his progress.

"We were real tight the whole race," said McFarland. "Usually, Southern National gets real loose at night. That's not the way it was Sunday afternoon. The car was incredibly different and wetried getting it right all afternoon."

McFarland wheeled his Chevy back into the top-10 by the halfway mark and was in the top-five when a late caution and a green, white, checkered flag finish closed out the race.

"It was tough to pass, especially the way the car was handling," said McFarland. "We were lucky to have the green, white, checkered flag finish because I was able to pass and get fourth place. If anything good came out of it, it was that Benny (Gordon) was even tighter than we were and he finished eighth. We cut his point's lead in half."

McFarland now trails Gordon in the USAR Championship Series by 27 points (672-645) with one race remaining in the title chase.

"We'll just go to Rockingham and try to lead the most laps, lead at halfway, and win the race," stated McFarland. "We've got a chance. Anything can happen."

McFarland and his No. 81s Sears Auto Center/Knight's Racing Chevy will take the green flag in the final USAR Hooters Pro Cup championship event at Rockingham Speedway on Saturday, November 1. Race time is to be determined.

-credit: pkr

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland