Benny Gordon cruised into Victory Lane after an exciting battle with hometown favorite Jeff Agnew in Saturday night’s Heritage Trucks 250 presented by Collision Plus Paint & Body/94.9 Star Country at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA. After a victory last year at Motor Mile Gordon was hungry for more and was able to edge out Agnew in his first appearance since the first race of the season at Concord Speedway.
“To be absent for that many races, I’m really happy that my team adapted to that. We worked hard to get the car right,” commented Gordon. “It took a couple days working on it and adjusting everything to the [radial] tire and then to be able to come out and hold these guys off and get a win is pretty special.”
Although Gordon started the race in the second position, he seemed to fall back into the pack as other racers made their way through it. However, Gordon managed to remain in the top ten all night long and a clever pit strategy put him back out front. Gordon managed to pick up the lead on Lap 150 and led a total of 101 of the remaining 250 laps.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to win,” admitted Gordon. “We just didn’t panic. We made adjustments to the car and figured if we got track position and made the right adjustments to the car, we could probably hold them off, and that is what we did.”
Agnew commented after the race: “I actually think we had a better car than [Gordon] did. He did a great job. I knocked him sideways twice and I let him gather it back up, but he really did a heck of a job. My guys on the team have worked really hard on this car, and we are so proud that we are finally running competitively. Now that we’ve finished a race and we have something to look forward to the rest of the year.”
Mark McFarland posted a fast time of 16.626 seconds in qualifying taking home the Strutmaster.com Pole Award. McFarland led the first 24 laps of the race before Caleb Holman and Jeff Agnew worked their way around him. He remained a strong contender throughout the night until Lap 199 when he slid up the track causing right front damage and ending the night two laps down in the 12th position.
The drama that began at Lanier National Speedway two weeks ago between Series point leader, Clay Rogers, and fellow driver, Caleb Holman, picked up right where it left off. Holman seemed to be the driver to beat after leading twice for a total of 118 laps but after a mid-race restart, Holman found himself running behind Rogers, and battling for position. Contact was made between the two yet again this time leaving Rogers spinning down the track and Holman restarting at the tail end of the pack. Rogers would go on to finish the night in third and Holman 17th.
“I was lucky that I kept it out of the fence. We roasted our rear tires pretty good when we spun and I just couldn’t get up off the corner the way I needed to after that,” said Rogers. “Right there at the end the car was pretty good. I really thought [Gordon and Agnew] were going to get together and give us a chance to slide up there and win it. Jeff is a good racer. He gave Benny one shot, got up underneath him, but couldn’t get the pass done. It was good racing there at the end.”
J.P. Morgan was awarded the Aaron's Do the Math Hard Charger Award after picking up 20 positions from his starting spot. Morgan broke his oil pump in practice and was forced to replace the motor, missing qualifying. He made his way rapidly through the field and was in ninth position by lap 75.
“It was a long way back up to the front and we didn’t know what to expect. Once we got going and the tires came up to pressure [the car] really started coming up to the front, we had a really good run I felt like,” explained Morgan after his fourth place finish. “There were a lot of late race cautions, which really hurt us because of our tire pressure but once they warmed up we got into a pretty good run. It made it a really interesting race there at the end. No one knew what you would have on each restart. It ended up coming out to be a good race; even the guys up in front of us were really having an awesome race too.”
Raybestos Rookie, Lucas Ransone, who won his first Pro Cup Series race two weeks earlier at Lanier National Speedway, brought out a caution flag on Lap 159 when he spun battling for position. He was able to pit and salvage an eighth place finish.
There were a total of 10 caution flags for 65 laps in the race, as well as one red flag that lasted 10 minutes 19 seconds. The total race time was 1:55:15.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series heads straight to Hickory Motor Speedway for the Hickory 250 this Saturday, July 25. Check www.usarprocup.com for the latest news and updates.