Gill clinches USAR Hooters ProCup Championship with a victory in Lucas Oil Products 250 at St. Augustine Speedway ST. AUGUSTINE, FL. When Bobby Gill took the checkered flag in the Lucas Oil Products 250 at St. Augustine Speedway for his...
Gill clinches USAR Hooters ProCup Championship with a victory in Lucas Oil Products 250 at St. Augustine Speedway
ST. AUGUSTINE, FL.
When Bobby Gill took the checkered flag in the Lucas Oil Products 250 at St. Augustine Speedway for his fifth win of the season, the 40-year old Dalton, GA, resident claimed the 1999 USAR Hooters ProCup Series Championship.
Gill's payday for his victory Saturday night was more than $9,000 of the $81,750 in posted awards as well as more than $200,000 for the Series Championship. Gill's official coronation will come on November 27 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL.
"We really had a great race," said Gill. "We didn't qualify the Naturally Fresh Foods/PGT Ford Taurus as good as we would have liked to but we were just patient and made our way to the front. There at the end it was everything I could do to stay in front of Derrick (Kelley). He had a really good car and ours wasn't quite as good on the second set of tires as we were on the first. Derrick was able to get me sideways a couple times but we were able to hold on. It was a really fun race."
Gill started the the Lucas Oil Products 250 from inside the third row and took the lead from pole-sitter Mardy Lindley on lap 24.
"I'm glad that we were able to clinch the championship with a win,"continued Gill. "We could have just started both races and clinched but like I've said before -- I want to win races and the points will take care of themselves. As long as we keep winning and I can continue to make a living at racing I'll keep it up."
The Lucas Oil Products 250 had eight lead changes among five drivers with Gill leading 102 laps of the event with .267-second margin of victory over runner-up Derrick Kelley. The pace of the race slowed nine times for 63 yellow flag laps. The ninth caution was brought out when the No. 08 CT Classics/Ekament Chevrolet of Ronnie Davidson blew a motor down the front-stretch -- setting up a green, white and checkered finish.
For the second straight race, Kelley brought the No. 21 Discount Auto Parts Chevrolet home runner-up to the race winner, but not for the lack of trying. The Auburndale, FL, resident led for 25 laps of the event and in the closing stages raged a fiercely competitive battle for the lead with Gill that had Gill sideways coming out of four.
"Peach State's second place finish actually felt like a win for us," said Kelley. "This week I felt like the first loser in a winning car. We didn't need that caution with around 50 laps to go. We had a pretty good lead on Bobby at the time and the caution bunched us back up together."
"Derrick drove a great race," said Dell Burns crew chief for the No.21 Discount Auto Parts Chevrolet. "It was a good race for Burns Shocks. We finished one and two in the race and sat on the pole with Mardy. You know I love Gill like a brother, but I really hate that he outran me and beat me with my own stuff."
Mardy Lindley put the No. 05 Aloe Lu-Ya Ford Taurus on the point for the second time this year and picked up the $1,000 Discount Auto Parts Pole Award and stayed in the top-10 throughout the grueling event in an attempt to keep himself in the hunt for the $10,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. But with just 10 laps to go and Steven Christian in his sights, the Taylors, SC, driver slowed down on the race track with a mechanical failure.
Christian, driver of the Lucas Oil Products Monte Carlo, finished third after leading for 32 circuits around the half-mile banked oval and went on to collect the $1,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award and the $10,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year title.
"We had a good car," said Christian. "We really wanted to make a good showing in front of all the Lucas Oil Products people. The car was a little loose early in the race and we pitted early to make adjustments and gain position on the race track. The guys did a great job now we just have to get ready for Lakeland and see if we can't win one of these races before the end of the season."
Rookie driver Mark Whitaker of Greensboro, NC, started the race 33rd of 35 cars but improved his performance 18 positions during the course of 250 laps to finish fifteenth, earning him the W.J. Plemons Insurance Hard Charger Award.
Jay Fogleman, who is currently second in the Series points, started the Lucas Oil Products 250 fifteenth and charged up into the top-10 and finished sixth.
"We were running fourth with 50 laps to go," said Fogleman. "I didn't think we could win. Bobby and Derrick were on a rail. We came in and put some tires on and ended up finishing sixth. I don't know I think maybe we're trying too hard."
"Bobby may have won the Championship tonight but there is still one more race to win and a lot of other point battles to worry about now."
Mario Gosselin posted another top-10 finish in his No. 10 W.J. Plemons Risk Management Chevrolet, but was disqualified to last place after post-race inspection revealed a carburetor that did not meet USAR specifications. Don't miss the Lucas Oil Products 250 from St. Augustine, FL, on Speedvision Sunday, November 14 at 8 p.m. with rebroadcasts at midnight and Monday, November 15 at noon.
The final stop for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series in 1999 will be at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL, Saturday, November 27 for the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Hooters 300. The AK Memorial will also be the last opportunity for Gosselin, Kelley and Toby Porter to collect the $25,000 bonus by winning two of the four "Four Champions Challenge" races.
Even though Gill and Christian have wrapped up the Points Championship and Miller Lite Rookie of the Year races, battles are raging throughout the top-20 points positions as other drivers jockey for positions closest to the head table at the end of season banquet. Currently, there is a 209-point spread between Gosselin in third, Christian in fourth, Jeff Agnew in fifth and Kelley in sixth while seventh place Johnny Rumley and eighth place Lindley are separated by a mere 37 points. The contention for points position continues to eleventh place Scott Wimmer, who leads Tim Clayton by a scant 11 points and Charlie Ford by 31 points. Mart Nesbitt, sixteenth overall, will try to prevent Bill Plemons, Jr., who trails by 12 points, and Jabe Jones, who is just 41 back, from closing the gap and overtaking him.
Yogi Berra said "it ain't over til it's over" and there is still one event remaining in the 1999 USAR Hooter ProCup Series Series and a lot of turkey left on the table to be gobbled up in Lakeland, FL, November 27 at 7 p.m. For ticket information call 1-800-852-7223.
Results Fin St Car Driver Hometown Sponsor Car Run Led 1 (5) 5 B. Gill Dalton, GA Naturally Fresh/PGT Industries Ford 254 102 Running 2 (12) 21 D. Kelley Auburndale, FL Discount Auto Parts Chevrolet 254 25 Running 3 (14) 0 S. Christian Sugar Hill, GA Lucas Oil Products Chevrolet 254 32 Running 4 (11) 73 J. Agnew Copper Hill, VA Twin City Motor Exchange Chevrolet 254 0 Running 5 (2) 16 B. Sockwell Brown Summitt, NC IRMO Grading Chevrolet 254 0 Running 6 (15) 4 J. Fogleman Durham, NC Premiere Motorsports Ford 254 0 Running 7 (18) 07 T. Clayton Inman, SC Budweiser Chevrolet 254 0 Running 8 (25) 14 C. Ford Charles City, VA Sun Graphics Chevrolet 254 0 Running 9 (7) 27 J. Rumley Winston Salem, NC Blue Ridge Color Corp Chevrolet 253 0 Running 10 (26) 128 R. Elliott Hampton, SC Elliott Sawmilling Chevrolet 253 0 Running 11 (6) 00 K. Davis Blacksburg, SC No Sponsor Pontiac 253 0 Running 12 (8) 30 M. Nesbitt Asheville, NC State Fair Brand Corn Dogs Chevrolet 252 0 Running 13 (17) 36 T. Owens Harrisburg, NC 1-800 BE PETTY Pontiac 249 0 Running 14 (21) 37 D. Sprouse Greenville, SC Brad Norris Auto Sales Ford 247 0 Running 15 (33) 31 M. Whitaker Greensboro, NC Glaze Toothpaste Chevrolet 244 0 Running 16 (29) 62 J. Pate Pensacola, FL Pate Racing Enterprises Chevrolet 243 0 Running 17 (20) 08 R. Davidson Lenoir, NC Ekamant Chevrolet 241 0 Mechanical 18 (1) 05 M. Lindley Taylors, SC Aloe Lu-Ya Ford 237 24 Mechanical 19 (27) 57 J. Harrison, Jr. Renick, WV Harrison's Automotive Chevrolet 226 0 Running 20 (22) 84 B. Means Forest City, NC Upstate Helicopter Ford 198 0 Accident 21 (9) 96 M. Cope Weeki Wachee, FL Manheim's Chevrolet 183 0 Mechanical 22 (35) 09 J. Jones Martin, GA Coors Light Chevrolet 168 0 Running 23 (34) 71 A.J. Henriksen Mooresville, NC Engineered Components Chevrolet 140 0 Mechanical 24 (13) 25 S. Wimmer Wausau, WI Jackaroo Gold Sauces Chevrolet 129 0 Mechanical 25 (24) 89 K. Schulz Statesville, NC Jackaroo Sauces Pontiac 102 0 Mechanical 26 (19) 47 A. Thurman Concord, NC Naturally Fresh Spring Water Ford 78 0 Accident 27 (31) 90 B. Barkis Fort Meyers, FL Fast Equipment Chevrolet 75 0 Accident 28 (4) 7 B. Plemons Jr. Locust Grove, GA Hooters Restaurants Chevrolet 64 0 Accident 29 (23) 98 M. Ward Marietta, SC Thackson Garage Ford 64 0 Mechanical 30 (16) 42 B. Vickers Thomasville, NC 2 Quick Performance Shocks Chevrolet 63 0 Mechanical 31 (28) 49 R. Renfrow Fequay, NC Geochem Chevrolet 58 0 Mechanical 32 (10) 51 D. Pletcher Pinellas Park, FL Mulbire Motorsports Chevrolet 45 0 Mechanical 33 (32) 61 J. O'Neil Mooresville, NC Skippers Marine Chevrolet 18 0 Mechanical 34 (30) 75 B. Schacht Mooresville, NC Engineered Components Ford 4 0 Accident DQ (3) 10 M. Gosselin Lake Wales, FL W.J. Plemons Investments Chevrolet 254 71 Running
# of cautions - 9 total, Laps under caution - 63, Total time of race - 1:56:23, Margin of victory - .267 seconds
Lap Leaders - 1-24 Mardy Lindley, 25-48 Bobby Gill, 49-87 Mario Gosselin, 88-125 Bobby Gill, 126-157 Steven Christian, 158-189 Mario Gosselin, 190-214 Derrick Kelley, 215-254 Bobby Gill
Discount Auto Parts Pole - $1,000 - Mardy Lindley Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader - $1,000 - Bobby Gill W.J. Plemons Hard Charger - $500 - Mark Whitaker Miller Lite Rookie of the Race - $1,000 - Steven Christian
Top-20 Points Leaders Following the Lucas Oil Products 250 St. Augustine Speedway November 6, 1999
1. Bobby Gill 3240 2. Jay Fogleman 2970 3. Mario Gosselin 2609 4. Steve Christian 2533 5. Jeff Agnew 2436 6. Derrick Kelley 2400 7. Johnny Rumley 2315 8. Mardy Lindley 2278 9. Michael Ritch 2263 10. Andy Thurman 2144 11. Scott Wimmer 2063 12. Tim Clayton 2052 13. Charlie Ford 2032 14. Mike Laughlin, Jr. 2016 15. Trent Owens 1982 16. Mart Nesbitt 1883 17. Bill Plemons Jr. 1871 18. Jabe Jones 1842 19. Toby Porter 1593 20. Karen Schulz 1584