HUFFMAN WINS A PRO CUP RACE FOR THE AGES by Jayson Kaplan
Win Number Seven Comes After Hard Fought Battle With McFarland
As the famous Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray would say, “Holy Cow.”
That was just what was said after Saturday night’s USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series race at Peach State Speedway (GA).
the rest of the year, but couldn’t make the pass. Instead, Huffman collected win number seven this season.
“Man that was fun,” said Huffman. “Mark is an awesome guy and I wasn’t going to rough him up. I have a lot of respect for that whole team. Mark and I go way back. He did not rough me up when I got a little loose going into turn one and I got into him a little and let him recover.
“This was just a fun race to run. I am excited still and I would have been excited even if I finished second tonight. I think if I lost tonight there is no better guy to lose to than to Mark. I had nothing else to give Mark and we both gave the fans everything we had tonight.
The race came down to a battle between Huffman (#81) and Mark McFarland (#32).
This was one of the most exciting races of the year in the Pro Cup Series. In fact, it might have been one of the most exciting Pro Cup races ever.
Why? Try 18 leads changes among eight drivers. And the number of lead changes not at the start/finish line could have made that number jump even higher
In the end, it would be the battle between Shane Huffman and Mark McFarland that made for a spectacular ending to this already action-packed race. Both drivers were like two boxers going punch for punch. The two went side-by-side, battling for the lead with 15 laps to go.
Huffman took the lead from McFarland on lap 244 using a Sprint Car-like slide move. McFarland pressured Huffman
“That's the most fun I've had racing in a longtime; that's what racing is all about.”
An exhausted McFarland gave it everything he had at the end. He started the day on the pole, but fell back a little bit at the start of race. McFarland battled his way back to the front to finish second, one race after collecting his first-career victory.
“This was one of the best races I have ever been apart of,” said McFarland, getting out of his car after the race. “I hate it for the guys on my team. If I hadn’t hit the wall coming off turn four, then we could have been the team in Victory Lane.
“We started out a little slow in the race. The crew made the right adjustments on the car and made the right calls as to what tires to take. I thought we were on the right tire strategy with the two and then four later. Huffman just out powered us at the end. I probably could have held him off at the end if I had not made that mistake of hitting the wall.
Shane Huffman took win number seven on Saturday night in what was one of the best Pro Cup races in years. (51 Photos)
“There was nothing left in this car when we were done tonight. I gave it everything I had.”
Michael Ritch who was one of the top contenders all race long as well, but didn’t factor in the finish. Ritch was one of the many leaders in the race. He looked like he was going to be the man to beat early on and then made a strong run at the end, but came up short as he finished third.
Ritch tried the high side of McFarland, but the gap closed and Ritch finished third.
Michael Ritch drove his butt off... and his car showed at the end of the night.
"I'm glad there wasn't anymore room on the high side. If there would have been more asphalt, we'd both been in trouble," said Ritch. "[McFarland] was doing what he was supposed to. I thought the race was ours or Huffman's. I just didn't have time to get up there.
“The No. 81 (Huffman) and I put on a show early,” added Ritch. “Every car in the top 12 has their right side of car beat in on it where everyone hit the wall. You can not keep out of the wall on this race track.
“This was an awesome deal, but I am also disappointed.”
Jody Lavender, finished up with an impressive fourth place
finish and was one of the drivers to lead the race. Clay Rogers rounded out the top five.
Andrew Rogers, driver of the No. 18 Termidor Ford, finished 10th and picked up the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race Award.