Trackside Now:  USAR Hooters Pro Cup at Myrtle Beach Speedway
Michael Ritch Finally Breaks Into Pro Cup Victory Lane
Saturday, 12:00pm ET - The traffic headed into Myrtle Beach, SC is backed up for miles as families and beach bums of all kinds head to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the South on a gorgeous Saturday.  Sure most of them are hitting the sand and surf during the day, but tonight many of the beachgoers will pack the stands at Myrtle Beach Speedway for tonight's USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division Greased Lightning 200.

Practice is currently under way here at "the Beach," for tonight's 200-lap main event.  There are 42 cars in the pit area today, down two from the pre-entry list.  Lucas Ransone and Derek Kale both intended on attending the Myrtle Beach event, but neither made the trip.
That leaves 42 cars vying for the 36-car starting lineup.  Practice goes until 1:30pm, followed by a Driver's Meeting at 2pm, qualifying at 4:30pm and green flag at 7:30.  The Allison Legacy Series is also here at the track as they frequently are wherever the Pro Cuppers go. 

Some news we're chasing down here at "the Beach," include the unofficial start to Pro Cup "Silly Season."  Most of the news revolves around Trevor Bayne and Woody Howard. Bayne is in his usual #29s, but the sponsors on the sides are new.  Bowen Family Homes adorn the sides of Bayne's car, the sponsors that are affiliated with Northern Division competitor Clay Rogers and Southern Division driver Buckshot Jones.  Jones is scheduled to undergo surgery in the coming weeks, leaving the Southern end of the Bowen team open.  We're hearing that Bayne's operation will be merging operations in some form with the Bowen team for the remainder of the season.  Bayne's crew chief this weekend is the Bowen team's usual crew chief, Keith Hinkein.
Pro Cup drivers line up to hit the half-mile tri-oval for practice.  (51 Photos)
Blake Bainbridge, who led Clay Rogers to the Southern Division championship last season, had been the crew chief for Bayne's efforts, but he is in the pit area here at Myrtle Beach as the head wrench for Woody HowardSteve Bird, who was Howard's crew chief, is not here at the track. 

On a driver's side, Clay Rogers, winner of the last two Pro Cup events here at Myrtle Beach, is not in attendance, as he now considers the Northern Division his home.  Brett Butler's #99 machine will be pitted by Eddie Sharp Racing's ARCA team here today. 

We'll be chasing down more on these stories and others from around the pit area all day long here on Trackside Now, plus more coverage later in the week with the race story and Leftovers.
Saturday, 12:39pm ET - The first hour of practice is in the books and Pro Cup Rookie Brian Scott has the fast time so far.  Trevor Bayne was second-quick, followed by Derek Kelley, Dusty Williams and Bobby Gill
1.Brian Scott 21.033
2.Trevor Bayne 21.143
3.Derek Kelley 21.185
4.Dusty Williams 21.189
5.Bobby Gill 21.265
6.Dange Hanniford 21.284
7.Richard Boswell 21.284
8.Mark McFarland 21.289
9.Shelby Howard 21.290
10.Chase Pistone 21.296
11.Clay Jones 21.338
12.Frank Deiny Jr. 21.358
13.Caleb Holman 21.414
14.Wade Day 21.433
15.Woody Howard 21.450
16.Mart Nesbitt 21.494
17.Mike Herman 21.518
18.JP Morgan 21.557
19.Don Satterfield 21.558
20.Matt Hawkins 21.567
21.Kirk Leone 21.610
22.James Buescher 21.639
23.Jody Lavender 21.635
24.Benny Gordon 21.668
25.Mike Garvey 21.703
26.Cody Pruitt 21.776
27.Tom Hessert 21.779
28.Randy Gentry 21.820
29.Michael Ritch 21.876
30.Bill Plemons Jr. 21.908
31.Billy Bigley Jr. 21.927
32.Josh Andrew 21.939
33.Jay Fogelman 21.991
34.Carl Long 22.003
35.Brett Butler 22.077
36.Daniel Johnson 22.130
37.Ryan Duff 22.188
38.Gary Helton 22.256
39.Justin Wakefield 22.265
40.Joey Coulter 22.595
41.Larry Barrett 23.129
42.Randy Hawkins – no time

Saturday, 1:50pm ET - Brian Scott's quick time in the first hour of practice was so fast, no one was able to top it in the second and final hour.  In fact, all top-12 times in the first hour stayed put through the remainder of practice. 

The track is now down until Allison Legacy Series practice from 2:30-3pm
1.Brian Scott 21.033
2.Trevor Bayne 21.143
3.Derek Kelley 21.185
4.Dusty Williams 21.189
5.Bobby Gill 21.265
6.Dange Hanniford 21.284
7.Richard Boswell 21.284
8.Mark McFarland 21.289
9.Shelby Howard 21.290
10.Chase Pistone 21.296
11.Clay Jones 21.338
12.Frank Deiny Jr. 21.358
13.Michael Ritch 21.404
14.Caleb Holman 21.414
15.Wade Day 21.433
16.Randy Gentry 21.448
17.Woody Howard 21.450
18.Mike Herman 21.458
19.Benny Gordon 21.469
20.Gary Helton 21.480
21.Mart Nesbitt 21.494
22.Mike Garvey 21.495
23.Billy Bigley Jr. 21.519
24.Jay Fogelman 21.520
25.Kirk Leone 21.521
26.Ryan Duff 21.522
27.JP Morgan 21.557
28.Don Satterfield 21.558
29.Matt Hawkins 21.567
30.Jody Lavender 21.586
31.Cody Pruitt 21.588
32.Justin Wakefield 21.618
33.James Buescher 21.630
34.Bill Plemons Jr. 21.642
35.Daniel Johnson 21.714
36.Randy Hawkins 21.734
37.Brett Butler 21.740
38.Tom Hessert 21.779
39.Josh Andrew 21.939
40.Carl Long 21.960
41.Larry Barrett 22.541
42.Joey Coulter 22.595

Brian Scott was quickest throughout practice.
Trevor Bayne's Bowen-sponsored #29
Saturday, 5:15pm ET - Caleb Holman has scored the pole for toinght's USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division event.   Michael Ritch will start on the outside pole, Billy Bigley, Jr., Clay Jones and Mark McFarland round out the top-five.  The field was expanded to 37 cars because Daniel Johnson, who did not make the field on time, got in because he is a past Pro Cup Southern Division Rookie of the Year.  The points provisional that would have gone to Johnson went to Brett Butler as the last driver to make the show tonight.
PRO CUP QUALIFYING
1.  Caleb Holman 20.798
2. Michael Ritch 20.871
3. Billy Bigley Jr. 20.887
4. Clay Jones 20.897
5. Mark McFarland 20.900
6. Wade Day 20.941
7. Gary Helton 20.942
8. Frank Deiny Jr. 20.981
9. Richard Boswell 20.992
10. Mike Garvey 21.001
11. Justin Wakefield 21.002
12. Jody Lavender 21.018
13. Trevor Bayne 21.020
14. Shelby Howard 21.027
15. Mike Herman 21.028
16. Woody Howard 21.042
17. Brian Scott 21.058
18. Kirk Leone 21.060
19. Chase Pistone 21.077
20. Randy Gentry 21.078
21. Benny Gordon 21.093
22. James Buescher 21.132
23. Bobby Gill 21.137
24. Derek Kelley 21.189
25. Dange Hanniford 21.196
26. Matt Hawkins 21.216
27. Dusty Williams 21.223
28. Mart Nesbitt 21.231
29. Tom Hessert 21.231
30. Don Satterfield 21.233
31. Bill Plemons Jr. 21.241
32. JP Morgan 21.261
33. Daniel Johnson 21.267
34. Randy Hawkins 21.270
35. Cody Pruitt 21.283
36. Jay Fogelman 21.291
37. Carl Long 21.320
38. Brett Butler 21.326
39. Ryan Duff 21.359
40. Joey Coulter 21.637
41. Larry Barrett 21.950
42. Josh Andrew 22.011
Saturday, 3:15pm ET - Ed Robertson, guitarist and vocalist for the popular rock band Barenaked Ladies, is here at Myrtle Beach Speedway as a special guest pit crew member on Jody Lavender's #4n team.  Robertson's visit and pit crew experience will be taped for the performer's new television show on OLN called "Ed's Up!"

Saturday, 2:25pm ET - On Friday night, defending USAR Hooters Pro Cup Northern Division Champion Benny Gordon competed well in his first-ever NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at The Milwaukee Mile.  Gordon, in an Xpress Motorsports entry, qualified 20th and finished an impressive 15th.  Shortly after the race, Gordon hopped on a flight to Myrtle Beach, where he landed around 4am.  After setting the 19th-fastest time in practice today, Gordon told Speed51.com that he is well rested and ready for tonight's Pro Cup Southern Division tilt at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Regularly a Barenaked Lady, Ed Robertson is a fully-clothed man in Myrtle Beach.
STARTING LINEUP
1. Caleb Holman 20.798
2. Michael Ritch 20.871
3. Billy Bigley Jr. 20.887
4. Clay Jones 20.897
5. Mark McFarland 20.9
6. Wade Day 20.941
7. Gary Helton 20.942
8. Frank Deiny Jr. 20.981
9. Richard Boswell 20.992
10. Mike Garvey 21.001
11. Justin Wakefield 21.002
12. Jody Lavender 21.018
13. Trevor Bayne 21.02
14. Shelby Howard 21.027
15. Mike Herman Jr. 21.028
16. Woody Howard 21.042
17. Brian Scott 21.058
18. Kirk Leone 21.06
19. Chase Pistone 21.077
20. Randy Gentry 21.078
21. Benny Gordon 21.093
22. James Buescher 21.132
23. Bobby Gill 21.137
24. Derrick Kelley 21.189
25. Dange Hanniford 21.198
26. Matt Hawkins 21.216
27. Dusty Williams 21.223
28. Tom Hessert 21.231
29. Mart Nesbitt 21.231
30. Don Satterfield 21.233
31. Bill Plemons 21.241
32. J.P. Morgan 21.261
33. Jay Fogleman PROV
34. Cody Pruitt PROV
35. Carl Long PROV
36. Brett Butler PROV
37. Daniel Johnson PROV

Failed To Qualify
38. Randy Hawkins 21.27
39. Ryan Duff 21.359
40. Joey Coulter 21.637
41. Larry Barrett 21.95
42. Josh Andrew 22.011
40. Joey Coulter 21.637
41. Larry Barrett 21.950
42. Josh Andrew 22.011

Caleb Holman scored his first Pro Cup Pole
Saturday, 7:00pm ET - Driver introductions are underway.  Drivers are riding around in pickup trucks to the cheers of the packed house here at Myrtle Beach.  Fans have filled the grandstands and the trackside parking areas down the backstretch and in turns three and four.  Green flag coming soon.

Saturday, 6:50pm ET - The pre-race autograph session is wrapping up and the green flag will soon wave over the USAR Hooters Pro Cup 200-lap event.  The buzz among the drivers pre-race is all about strategy, as Myrtle Beach Speedway is notorious for chewing up tires.  Tonight's race is a 12-tire event, meaning the car is allowed the four tires that are bolted on at the start plus eight in the pit box for the race.  Tire conservation will be a huge key, as will when teams pit for the new rubber.

Another other main topic among the drivers was the heat.  At just before 7pm, the temperatures are still in the low 90's.  Drivers have been chugging plenty of Gatorade and water in between signing autographs for the fans pre-race.

Saturday, 5:55pm ET - Justin Allison, grandson of racing legend Donnie Allison, won the time-shortened Allison Legacy Series feature event.  The Pro Cup teams are assembling their racecars ont he frontstretch for the pre-race autograph session before the green flag drops at 7:30pm.
Benny Gordon hydrates before strapping into his #66 machine on a hot summer evening.
Saturday, 9:30pm ET - Michael Ritch has won the Greased Lightning 200.  Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, 9:15pm ET - Under caution on lap 169 for Richard Boswell's crash in turn three.  Just a few laps earlier, JP Morgan brought out the yellow again in turn two.  On the restart from Morgan's spin, Trevor Bayne was black flagged for passing to the left before the start-finish line.  Top-10: Ritch, Jones, Butler, McFarland, Gordon, Shelby Howard, Scott, Bigley, Leone, Holman

Saturday, 9:06pm ET - Lap 150, 50 to go and we're under caution for the spun car of JP Morgan was spun by the leader Michael Ritch.  Lead Lap cars headed for pit road in their running order: Ritch, McFarland, Howard, Garvey, Bayne, Bigley, Scott, Plemons the top-10 and all pit.  .Only Lead Lappers staying out: Clay Jones and Brett Butler

Everyone changes four tires...McFarland falls off jack.  Order off pit road: Howard, Ritch, McFarland, Bayne, Kelley, Gordon, Scott, Bigley, Day, Leone, Boswell, Holman. 

New top-10: Clay Jones, Brett Butler, Shelby Howard, Michael Ritch, Mark McFarland, Trevor Bayne, Derek Kelley, Benny Gordon, Brian Scott, Billy Bigley.  Green flag lap 155.

Saturday, 8:40pm ET - Southern Division Points Leader Chase Pistone has gone behind the wall in smoke under caution on lap 106 after a crash that started when Frank Deiny, Jr. tapped fellow LMSC graduate Richard BoswellGary Helton was also involved.

Saturday, 8:36pm ET - Halfway at Myrtle Beach: Michael Ritch took the lead from Billy Bigley on lap 98 and still shows the way.  it's Ritch, Bigley, Leone, Shelby Howard, Day, Holman, Bayne, McFarland, Garvey, Scott, Pistone, Woody Howard, Butler top-13.

Saturday, 8:28pm ET - Jay Fogelman brought out the yellow again on lap 77, and this time the rest of the lead-lap cars that hadn't pitted on earlier cautions are headed in, including leaders Mike Garvey, Mark McFarland and Benny Gordon.  This leaves Brett Butler, who pitted on an earlier yellow, in the lead, followed by Kirk Leone, Bily Bigley, Wade Day, Caleb Holman and Richard Boswell.

Saturday, 8:13pm ET - We're working caution number three for car #4, Jay Fogelman, who hit the wall in turn four.  The second caution came out on lap 26 for Mart Nesbitt's blown motor.  Pitstops are under way, as many lead lap cars are hitting pit road for either tires or fuel, as Pro Cup rules do not allow both services to occur on the same stop.  Teams must come back in to take the other service if the teams choose to do so.  Top five after pit stops:  Mark McFarland, Mike Garvey, Frank Deiny, Jr., Randy Gentry and Benny Gordon, and all of those drivers chose not to pit at all.

Saturday, 7:51pm ET - The first caution of the race has come out on lap 10 when Mike Herman spun off the fourth turn.  Top five currently are Caleb Holman, Billy Bigley, Mark McFarland, Michael Ritch and Wade Day.

Saturday, 7:44pm ET - After Barenaked Ladies front man Ed Robertson wrapped up the National Anthem, engines have fired and we're green here at Myrtle Beach.  The race got a little later start than scheduled due to the still-long line of cars trying to make it into the already packed parking lots at the track.  Every seat is full and all eyes are on Caleb Holman and Michael Ritch up front.  Ritch has the advantage on lap one.
Saturday, 10:23pm ET - Michael Ritch has been ever-so-close to victory on the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division this season.  He has had a car to beat at races such as Concord, Peachstate and South Georgia, but luck was never on his side.

That all changed on Saturday night at Myrtle Beach, however.  Ritch drove away from Mark McFarland in a final sprint to the finish to score his first Pro Cup victory since Mansfield (OH) in 2005.  McFarland held off polesitter Caleb Holman for second, followed by Benny Gordon and Mike Garvey and Brian Scott with his best career Pro Cup finish.
UNOFFICIAL FINISH
1. Michael Ritch
2. Mark McFarland
3. Caleb Holman
4. Benny Gordon
5. Mike Garvey
6. Brian Scott
7. Kirk Leone
8. Shelby Howard
9. Wade Day
10. Jody Lavender
11. Dange Hanniford
12. Woody Howard
13. Bill Plemons Jr.
14. Trevor Bayne
15. Billy Bigley Jr.
16. Justin Wakefield
17. Bobby Gill
18. Frank Deiny Jr.
19. Clay Jones
20. Daniel Johnson
21. Cody Pruitt
22. Carl Long
23. Mike Herman
24. Brett Butler
25. Derrick Kelley
26. Randy Gentry
27. Tom Hessert
28. Richard Boswell
29. Randy Hawkins
30. J.P. Morgan
31. Don Satterfield
32. Jay Fogleman
33. Gary Helton
34. Chase Pistone
35. James Buescher
36. Dusty Williams
37. Mart Nesbitt

It's been a while, but Michael Ritch is finally back in Pro Cup victory lane.