Jeff Agnew finished the Brushy Mountain 250 Sunday afternoon at Historic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway exactly where he started: first.
Agnew rallied from a lap down and survived a green-white-checkered dash to score his second victory of the 2010 USARacing Pro Cup Series season, beating Clay Rogers to the finish line .775 seconds – about three car lengths.
The win was also a big payday for the Floyd, Va., native. He captured the WIX Filters Challenge, a $7,000 bonus for winning from the pole, pushing his total earnings for the event to $13,000. Agnew said the victory was “as good as any of ‘em” in his career and riding the elevator to victory lane accomplished longtime career goal.
“We’ve come here in a late model and finished second two or three times and I’ve always wanted to ride the elevator,” Agnew said. To finally get it in this series coming back here after its been shut down for so long, it’s just a wonderful feeling.”
That wasn’t the case when he fell a lap down just past the 100-lap mark.
“I thought we were sunked and flunked and everything else,” Agnew said. “I thought it was over. When the caution come out there a little bit later and we got to put our tires back on and we come back and passed everybody I was like, well, now we’ve got a shot because we’ve got a good enough car. We just about had to do that. We were making some adjustments there on that fuel stop at first that we really needed to make, which that probably allowed the car to be as good as it was at the end of the race. Sometimes a blind hawk will find an acorn every once in a while and we found one today [smiles].”
Unlike his driver, crew chief Doug Weddle, wasn’t anxious because he knew he could make up the lost distance.
“No, I didn’t think I was sunk because I kept telling myself when we get new tires on we’re going to drive right back by ‘em,” Weddle. “When that leader goes by you it’s a heartbreaking feeling but it worked out. We knew that new tires were going to be really important and we tried to keep that in mind. When that first caution fell it was within two laps of being within our fuel window and we made a call to go with fuel and try to keep two new sets of tires for the end. And gosh, man, it almost bit us.”
Agnew was comfortably ahead of Rogers on lap 244 when J.P. Morgan spun, bringing out final caution of the day and setting up a three-lap dash to the finish.
“We were out there 10, 12 car lengths, whatever it was, ahead and you never want to see a caution,” Agnew said. “But we knew it was coming because it’s just the way it works for us. You really got to pay attention on the restarts here after a few laps because you spin your tires so bad. I didn’t spin my tires too bad and I got a little bit of a cushion there and just able to hold on to it until the end.”
Agnew collected his second victory of the 2010 season and his 16th in 222 career starts. He grabbed his sixth top-10 in 11 starts this season and claimed his first pole. He led five times for 104 of the event’s 250 laps, the first time this season Agnew has led the most laps in a race.
Rogers placed second, his 11th top-five in 12 starts this season. Rounding out the top-five: Lucas Ransone, Caleb Holman and Stephen Nasse.
The USAR Pro Cup Series, formerly Hooters Pro Cup, is owned by Interstate Investment Group (IIG) and is based in Concord, N.C. For more information on USARacing, visit www.usarprocup.com.