Gordon Makes The Right Moves to Score Home Track Victory From USAR Hooters Pro Cup PR
Second Pro Cup Victory in a Row Comes at Jennerstown
Fast cars don’t always win, and good pit strategy doesn’t always guarantee success. But when you put them together, they can add up to a dominating performance, which is exactly what Benny Gordon turned in on Saturday night at Jennerstown Speedway.
Gordon won the Awesome Awnings Pole, short-pitted on Lap 30 and retook the lead for good on Lap 115 en route to victory in the HOOTERS 250 presented by Eaton Electrical at Jennerstown Speedway.
“I couldn’t have had a better car tonight,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 66n Samuel Metals Ford. “The team was perfect. It was just a perfect weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a better place for it to happen.”
The win was Gordon’s third of the season, second in a row and second at his home track.
“You see so many stories when people win in their hometown when the momentum is behind them,” said Gordon, who extended his point lead to 146 over Gary St. Amant with the win. “That’s just the way it seems to happen. Since I won my first race here [in 2003], this track has always been good to me, and it seemed liked we were destined to win tonight.”
Though Gordon won from the pole and led the most laps (166), St. Amant was intent on derailing Gordon’s destiny late in the event. As Gordon brought the field up to speed on the final restart with 20 laps remaining, St. Amant pounced on the race leader, swinging to the high side and pulling alongside Gordon.
The two raced side-by-side for two circuits before Gordon finally cleared St. Amant’s machine.
“He definitely got my attention,” said Gordon, who took home $13,700. “It was a pretty cool move by Gary. He probably thinks I ran him up the track in [Turns] 1 and 2, but really I didn’t. I went in there and the air off his car made my car not turn and it just went right up the track. I’m kind of glad it did, because it could’ve been trouble if he got by me.”
St. Amant’s move ended up costing him second position to Derek Kale, but that wasn’t on his mind after the race.
“We came here for one reason: Win this race for Randy Birk,” said St. Amant, driver of the No. 7n JEGS.com/Speedco Chevrolet. “He sponsored our racecar for a lot of years, and he passed away a few months ago. Second wasn’t going to be good enough; I was going to drive it into the wall before I finished second.
“On the next to the last restart, I saw Benny was loose on the restarts. I knew my only chance was to get up on the outside of him on a restart. That was the only way I was going to get by him. We got up there, but I just couldn’t make it work.”
St. Amant’s banzai move on Gordon allowed Kale to slip to the inside and take over second place. Kale, who led 40 laps in the early stages of the event, gradually closed in on Gordon in the final 10 laps. But when the checkered flag waved, Kale finished .374 seconds behind Gordon.
“I felt like if we had 10 more laps, we could have got to Benny,” said Kale, driver of the No. 22n Heritage Equipment Chevrolet. “We had something for him, at least.”
With his runner-up finish, Kale jumped two positions in points to third.
“It was a great race for us,” said Kale, the 2006 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year. “The whole organization has stepped up this year. We’ve had the same group of guys working in the shop from day one this year, and we never really had that before. We’re really organized. We’ve got checklists for everything on the car, in the trailer and at the shop. It’s been a total overhaul, and organization has been the key for us this season.”
Derrick Kelley, driver of the No. 21n NGA Hooters Golf Tour Ford, posted his best run of the season by coming home fourth.
Jeff Agnew, driver of the No. 73n Team 7 Chevrolet, completed the top five and moved into fifth in the point standings with his second consecutive top-five finish.
Mikey Kile, driver of the No. 65n VisViva Energy Drink Chevrolet, picked up the Miller Lite Rookie of the Race and $1,000 for his sixth-place finish.
Jay Fogleman, driver of the No. 4n Speedco/The Works Ford, finished seventh in the HOOTERS 250. Fogleman also moved up one spot in points to sixth.
Mike Hampton, driver of the No. 31n Eaton Electrical Chevrolet, picked up his third top-10 of the season by coming home eighth.
Brett Butler, driver of the No. 99n Verve Energy Drink Ford, was the only other leader in the race. Butler led 44 laps in the middle stages of the event before being overtaken by Gordon. After pitting late, Butler charged back to finish ninth.
Ray Love Jr., driver of the No. 08n Love Concrete Chevrolet, completed the top 10.
The HOOTERS 250 was slowed 10 times for 52 laps of caution and featured three lead changes among three drivers.
Benny Gordon enjoyed winning close to home this weekend. (Kathy Bond/USAR Photo)