Thompson, CT - Bill Plemons, Jr. held off hard-charging Brian Vickers to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 200 Sunday afternoon at Thompson International Speedway. The win was the first career win in the series for the 53 year-old driver...
Thompson, CT - Bill Plemons, Jr. held off hard-charging Brian Vickers to win the Naturally Fresh Foods 200 Sunday afternoon at Thompson International Speedway. The win was the first career win in the series for the 53 year-old driver in his 64 career starts.
"If you believe in something long enough, it can happen and it did today," said an ecstatic Plemons in victory lane. "We had a good car and a good setup today. I want to thank everyone."
Thompson Speedway regular Philip Rondeau finished third in his first Series start; Jeff Agnew and Jason McLellan completed the top-five. Mardy Lindley finished sixth with Charlie Ford seventh. Regan Smith started from the pole position and finished eighth, while Lonnie Rush and Mike Herman, Jr. completed the top-10.
Plemons took the lead on lap one from Smith and remained out front for the first 96 laps of the event before giving the lead over to Lindley when the Hooters Ford made a pit stop for tires under caution.
Lindley held the position until lap 114 when Agnew made a pass for the lead on lap 115. Agnew and Lindley raced each other hard and Lindley assumed the top spot for the second time during the race on lap 121. Lindley made his pit stop for tires under caution on lap 137, turning the lead over to Plemons. The veteran remained in front the rest of the way for the win.
The race ended with a five-lap sprint to the finish when Bobby Gegetskas spun in turn two to bring out the last of 12 caution flags during the race on lap 191. On the restart on lap 195, Plemons and Vickers took off in a two-car sprint. Vickers made contact with Plemons on lap 196 in turn four, however, Plemons was able to pull away the remaining four laps.
"I was going to race him clean but I wasn't going to give him the win either," said Vickers. "We had a good car today and believe me I wanted to win, but I am happy for Bill. He has always offered to help me since I first got here and I appreciated his support. We were glad to finish today after our last race."
Vickers was referencing to his early exit during the last northern division race at Jennerstown when he, Agnew, and Ford were all collected in an accident while running in the top three.
McLellan collected his second consecutive top-10 finish in as many starts in the series and looks forward to more races in 2001.
"We had a very difficult year last year," McLellan said. "This is a big boost for our team to be able to run up front with these great drivers. We just want to keep working hard and running well."
Lindley led at lap 100 to collect the Lucas Oil Products Halfway Leader Award and $1,000 check. Smith added $1,000 to his winnings with his Sunoco Pole Award and McLellan garnished $1,000 for winning the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award.
Richard Hampton battled mechanical problems all weekend to rebound and win the W.J. Plemons Investments Hard Charger Award for advancing from his 28th starting position to 16th.
The race was the first-ever held in Connecticut for the six-year old touring series, which now competes in Northern and Southern Divisions. The next race for the USAR Hooters ProCup Series Northern Division will be on May 19 when Louisville Motor Speedway hosts a 250-lap event.