Five months after rebirthing the former Hooters Pro Cup Series under the USARacing banner, the Series will mark its midway point of the season this Saturday at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA with the Heritage Trucks 250 presented by Collision Plus Paint & Body/94.9 Star Country.
Much has happened in the months between the January 16 acquisition of the Series by Interstate Investment Group. A new, much improved television package debuted on Fox Sports Net (FSN) on Sunday, July fifth. That began a 10-week, regular season of 30-minute broadcasts of the Series races. It will be followed by a series of four, one-hour broadcast of the Series Championship races. Increased car counts, tremendous door to door racing and renewed sponsor partnerships have been the norm as the Series has re-established itself as one of the most vibrant stock car-racing series in America.
A four-wide dash to the checkered on Langley Speedways two-groove track by two of the Series past champions, its current rookie contender and the local track champion set the tone early for the level of excitement fans have come to expect this year. Said Series competitor J.P. Morgan, “The Series is back and better than ever.”
“The past five months have been some of the most exciting in the history of the Pro Cup Series,” said Managing Partner Larry Camp. “We have seen the commitment of our stakeholders, from sponsors, and tracks to drivers and teams. They’ve all pulled together to demonstrate the strength of the Series. Everything we’ve experienced points to an even more exciting 2010 and beyond.”
“In that respect, we are finalizing additional sponsorship and support programs which will be announced in the near future,” he added. “We are also encouraged by the level of interest in additional drivers and teams to the Series. We’re going to have some great ‘names’ in the Series later this year and into next,” he said.
The season kicked off at Concord Speedway in Concord, NC on April fourth and had some of Pro Cup’s most recognizable faces ready to get racing. Although Clay Rogers and Brandon Ward led for over half of the race between the two of them, it was Trevor Bayne who won the Concord 250.
Drew Herring, the 2008 USAR Pro Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, earned his first career series victory at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil, GA, back on April 25th. Herring’s victory in the Sunoco 250 moved him to the point lead, which would be short-lived due to several weeks of bad luck in the following events.
And as already noted, one of the most wild and crazy finishes in the Series history took place in just the third event of the season at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA. Two-time series champion, Clay Rogers, leading Raybestos Rookie, Lucas Ransone, four-time Series Champ, Bobby Gill and hometown favorite, Woody Howard, ran four-wide coming off turn four on the last lap of the HAMPTON VA 250, giving fans a show that left them standing on their feet and screaming for more. On a flat, two-groove, short track, no one would have thought a four-wide finish was possible. But the foursome pulled it off and Rogers came away with his first win of the season by just 0.058 of a second ahead of Ransone.
The Langley Speedway victory would be the first of three consecutive wins for Clay Rogers and his JCR3 team. Rogers proved to be the class of the field when he showed up at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, IN on June sixth, and dominated the Lucas Oil 250. He led all but six laps of the 250 lapper event and took the point lead for the first time in 2009.
The Series was then headed south to the heat of Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway June 20th. But Rogers didn’t let the temperature or the heat of the competition get to him that night. The Grand Strand 250 presented by Black’s Tire Service was by far the hottest event of the season so far, but Rogers was hotter as he took his third career and season win at the track.
Rising star and Raybestos Rookie Lucas Ransone became a first time winner in the Series in another exciting finish just a week later, at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, GA. Ransone was running in the fourth position when a late race caution came out after Clay Rogers caught up with the race leader, Caleb Holman. Rogers was looking to take the lead from Holman when contact was made, leaving Holman backed into the wall and Rogers facing a restart at the tail-end of the longest line. The green-white-checkered restart had A.J. Frank leading the field to the green with Ransone directly behind. Ransone was able to get around Frank coming to the checkered flag, which earned him his first career Pro Cup win.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series will be at Motor Mile Speedway this weekend after a well deserved two weekends off. For a complete schedule or for the latest news and updated on the USARacing Pro Cup Series, log on to www.usarprocup.com.
You can see each of these exciting races every Sunday at 11:00am on your local FSN station. Log on to www.usarprocup.com for the listing in your area. Next up is the HAMPTON VIRGINIA 250 presented by Racing Electronics which will air on Sunday, June 19.