USAR: Southern: Southern Division race report

Gill Survives Night at Southern National. Kenly, NC (June 30, 2002)-- Most of the time you have to have a great car to win in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series. Sometimes you need a little luck to go with the car. Saturday night Bobby Gill had both.

Gill Survives Night at Southern National.

Kenly, NC (June 30, 2002)-- Most of the time you have to have a great car to win in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series. Sometimes you need a little luck to go with the car. Saturday night Bobby Gill had both. Gill survived an on-track incident to win the Lennox 250 presented by Capital Ford of Goldsboro at Southern National Speedway.

Gill, who won for the eighth time in nine races this season, took the lead for the final time from Shane Wallace on lap 168 and remained out front for the remainder of the race-- including lap 234. Shane Huffman, in second, had his best finish of the season and Wallace finished third. Local favorite Jamey Caudill finished third in his first career race in the Series and Hal Goodson completed the top-five.

Gill was leading on lap 234 when Joe Harrison, Jr. and Rodney Childers got together in turn one spinning Harrison. Gill was just behind the drivers when he collected Harrison with the left front of his Ford. Although the hood of his car was dented up Gill was able to remain out front.

"I want to thank the crew for giving me a great car tonight," Gill said."The car was really hooked up in the corners. Some of the guys out here still do not know how to get out of the way. We got lucky tonight."

The race marked the return of the Series to Southern National Speedway for the first time since 1997 and featured five lead changes among four drivers.

Toby Robertson won his second career pole during qualifying for the Buffalo Nickel Buffalo Burgers Pole Award and quickly surrendered the lead to Jason Sarvis who jumped ahead on the first lap. Sarvis remained out front until lap 71 when Gill took the top spot.

Gill stayed out front until Robertson and Mike Laughlin, Jr. got togther on lap 149 to bring out the caution and give the leaders a chance to pit under caution. Goodson, who had pitted earlier in the race, assumed the top spot, followed by Wallace, Joe Gaita, Michael Ritch and Childers in the top five.

Goodson and Wallace gave the standing room only crowd several laps of side-by-side racing for the lead before Wallace was able to move in front and lead on lap 166. That was short lived as Gill passed for the lead on lap 168.

"This was an uplift for the entire team and the car is in one piece," said an ecstatic Wallace after the race."It is hard to beat Bobby (Gill) but we were able to finish in the top-five and the car is in one piece for Peach State in a couple of weeks."

Gill enjoyed leads of as much as 10 car lengths before a late caution set up a green, white, checkered finish for the second consecutive race in the Southern Division.

Billy Mowery and Huffman were racing hard for second place and the pair had made contact several times before Huffman got Mowery loose in turn three. Mowery was able to recover and keep moving before he and Ritch got together in turn one, sending Mowery for a spin.

"Congratulations to Bobby for his win tonight," said Huffman."Everything finally stayed together on the car and we got a good finish tonight. I told Billy (Mowery) after the race I didn't like racing like that but he got into me three times before we got together down there in (turn) three. Everybody kept their heads though and we all finished the race."

While the crowd enjoyed the Series many were cheering Caudill for his impressive run.

"That was some great side-by-side racing and I enjoyed that a lot," said Caudill."I tried to stay in the top-three. I couldn't hold him (Wallace) off there at the end but we are very happy with a top-five. I appreciate all the fans coming out tonight to support us."

Gill won the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award and the Southern Pride Lap Leader Award to give him total winnings for the race at $11,500. Gill has collected $90,000 so far this season in eight races. Stuart Ricks advanced 17 positions during the race to win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award.

Gill leads Goodson by 325 points in the chase for the number one seeding from the Southern Division for the Four Champions Championship Series to determine the 2002 USAR Hooters ProCup Series National Champion later this year.

-usar-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Shane Huffman