Craig Goess, Jr. Wheels His Way To PRI Legends Car Victory
North Carolina Racer Caps Off Season With Win In The Florida Invitation-Only Event
The racing industry turns their heads to Florida every year in December for the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, where exhibitors show off their goods and services to others in the industry. Coupled with this year’s 20th anniversary of the PRI show was the third-annual Mopar Sprint & Midget Classic 2007 at Orlando Speedworld (FL), which also featured Legends Car racing action. Close to 30 Legends drivers attended the invite-only event, and when the checkered flag flew, it was North Carolina’s Craig Goess, Jr. holding off a late charge to claim the special honors.
Goess started his weekend off by timing in fourth during qualifying. In his heat race, he stormed to the top spot to take the win, putting him on the pole position for the 20-lap feature. When the green flag dropped to start off the main, Goess dropped back a few positions while patiently waiting for his tires to grip the ground.
“It took a few laps to get heat in the tires,” said Goess. “I didn’t want to spin them so the first few laps I let those guys go by so I could just settle in and get the car back down in the race track. After a few laps it would come in.”
Kory Abbott, a track regular at Orlando, took over the lead but had to watch his mirrors as Goess put pressure on his back bumper until the move was made just past the halfway mark to put Goess’ #81 Greenville Toyota Legends Car back into the lead.
“That is just a little strategy,” said Goess. “Four or five times over four or five laps we would go in there trying to make him think I was going to dive under him, trying to make him drive in extra hard. I was trying to make him abuse his car. The first position is not always the best position to be in, of course, until the end. When I got to the lead, it was just a matter of not making any big mistakes because there is a lot of good drivers here and a lot of cars that were close.”
Goess was able to hold off a late charge by Abbott to hold onto the lead, giving him the win in front of a packed house of fans as well as Television media.
Craig Gooes, Jr. (51 Photo)
“I didn’t know who or what was there on the last lap,” explained Goess. “I was not looking whatsoever at what was happening behind me. I focused on my car, getting it exactly where I wanted it to be, hit my marks and went on. If he passed me, he passed me, but I wasn’t going to be watching my mirror and watch him do it.”
The victory caps off an incredible run Goess has had in Legends Car racing over the years. Now as he continues his progression up the ranks in the racing industry, Goess took time to reflect on the third-annual PRI Legends event, including the extra exposure it provided to the Legends community.
“It was a good thing to be invited and I appreciate that just like last year. It is pretty neat seeing these Sprint Cars and be around an environment we normally do not get to be around. At a normal Legends race we do not get to race in front of so many people. That makes it real nice to have the driver introductions and the fireworks. The little things like that make it even more special to come here.”
Stay tuned for more information on Craig Goess, Jr.’s 2008 season announcement, coming soon.