USAR: Valdosta: Mark McFarland race report

Another Late-Race Crash Derails McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Run To Victory Mooresville, NC (March 30, 2008) -- After winning the pole position for the first two events of the 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division season, there can...

Another Late-Race Crash Derails McFarland, Sears Auto Center Chevy Run To Victory

Mooresville, NC (March 30, 2008) -- After winning the pole position for the first two events of the 2008 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division season, there can be no arguing that Mark McFarland and his No. 81 Sears Auto Center Chevrolet are among the fastest teams in the division.

Now all they have to do is finish the races.

McFarland and his Pete Knight Racing team came away empty again this weekend at South Georgia Motorsports Park when a late-race crash spoiled what could have been a winning effort. Running second at the time of the incident, McFarland saw his chances of heading to Victory Lane go up in a cloud of smoke when a crash on Lap 229 of Saturday's B.F. Goodrich.com 250 left the Winchester, VA driver with a 19th-place finish.

"It's pretty frustrating to everybody on the team," said McFarland after the event. "We had to rebuild a car after the first race at Lakeland race and now we'll have to rebuild this one too. The guys have been working extra hard and everyone is frustrated. We all got together after the race and told everyone to keep their heads up and keep working hard. We have a great group of guys and we have really fast cars. We just have to start finishing the races and scoring the finishes we've earned."

McFarland again proved he'd be the man to beat at SGMP when he captured his second-straight USAR pole in as many races with a lap of 18.571 seconds (96.925 miles per hour average) in qualifying Saturday.

"We definitely have our qualifying program right," said McFarland. "It takes a little bit different approach because they impound the cars after qualifying, so there isn't much you can do to the car because you have to race what you qualify with. There are a couple of things that you can do and we really have those things figured out. We definitely know what we need to do to be fast on fresh tires."

McFarland proved to be plenty stout at the drop of the green flag as he took the lead and stayed there until making his first pit stop just past Lap 60.

"We had a really good car at the start of the race," said McFarland. "We were having a bit of a brake problem, but it wasn't anything I couldn't deal with. Then we pitted and I made a mistake getting too close to the pit wall. That cost us three or four positions -- we restarted back in 18th place - but the car was so good that we were able to make those up and get back second place."

McFarland was closing in on race leader and eventual winner Michael Ritch when contact from behind by rookie driver Drew Herring on Lap 229 sent his No. 81 Chevy into a wild spin.

"We drove down into the first turn on a restart and I got spun out," said McFarland. "Fortunately, we missed the wall. I had everything cleared and it looked like we were only going to lose a position or two. Unfortunately, another car came through the smoke and clipped me. We had quite a bit of damage to the rear end of the car and we had to take some time to repair it. Since it was at the end of the race, that pretty much killed a good finish for us."

McFarland limped to the pit area after the incident where his Pete Knight Racing team repaired the damage as best they could.

"My guys never quit," said McFarland. "We had to reattach the rear bumper cover and straighten the frame before we came back out. We finished six laps down, but we were running at the finish."

While McFarland was disappointed with the final result, he was still upbeat about his team's chances this season.

"I know we're going to win races this year," McFarland stated. "Every team goes through some bumps in the road and the first two races this season have been that way for us. Wes Ward (McFarland's crew chief) is a great leader and motivator and I know that he is going to keep everyone going in the right direction. We have a few weeks off now, so we'll regroup and be ready to come back and try to win the next race at Concord."

McFarland and his No. 81 Sears Tire Center Chevy will be looking to do just that when the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division returns to action on Saturday, April 26 at Concord Motorsports Park in Concord, NC. The green flag is set to wave at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

-credit: pkr

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland , Drew Herring