The time it takes to blink an eye -- or less -- proved to be the difference between Mark McFarland and a third USAR Hooters Pro Cup stock car series win of the season Saturday evening. McFarland and his No. 81 Knights Companies/Greased Lightning...
The time it takes to blink an eye -- or less -- proved to be the difference between Mark McFarland and a third USAR Hooters Pro Cup stock car series win of the season Saturday evening.
McFarland and his No. 81 Knights Companies/Greased Lightning Chevrolet Monte Carlo were just .747-seconds behind winner Michael Ritch in the Naturally Fresh 250 USAR Southern Division event at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, NC. McFarland, who scored his first USAR Pro Cup victory at Southern National in 2005 and led a good portion of Saturday's race, was philosophical about his second-place finish.
"Michael got by and I just couldn't get back by him," said McFarland. "I was hoping to win. I love that track. I got my first Pro Cup win there and I sure wanted to win there again. We sure were close."
The 29-year-old Winchester, VA native was fast right off the truck as he steered his potent red and white Pete Knight Racing Chevy to the third-best time in practice and then backed it up with a third in the qualifying session turning in a lap of 14.509 seconds on the Southern National oval.
McFarlandlater established himself as one of the cars to beat leading a good portion of the race. In an event that featured 15 caution flags, McFarland also managed to steer clear of trouble.
On the restart after a Lap 188 caution that resulted in a red flag, McFarland and Ritch sped away from the field to decide the race among themselves. Contact between the two cars on Lap 195 allowed Ritch to slip by into the lead and try as he might, McFarland was not able to regain the top spot over the final 50 laps settling for a close second-place finish at the checkered flag.
"I thought we had the car to win before the red flag," said McFarland. "We took off after that and the car got real loose. Michael just got by me. I just couldn't hold him off."
While narrowly missing out on the win, thesolid runner-up effort jumped McFarland from seventh to second in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division season point standings.
[TWo%20Wide%20with%20Carl%20Long%20300.jpg] "I was very happy that we were able to gain in the points," said McFarland. "That's what we're really focused on. We've got two more races before the championship races start. Hopefully, we can close the gap on first in those two remaining races."
McFarland and his No. 81 Knights Companies/Greased Lightning Chevy will now take a week off before returning to USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division action at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 4. The event will take the green flag at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
Highlights of Saturday's Naturally Fresh 250 at Southern National Speedway can be seen this Wednesday, July 25, on The SPEED Channel. Airtime is 4 p.m. Eastern Time.