The 2010 USARacing Pro Cup Series season is only two races old, but this year's championship battle is already taking shape, as the circuit heads to Hickory Motor Speedway for Saturday's WIX Filters 250.
Virginia's Caleb Holman and defending series champion Clay Rogers have already emerged as the favorites in the title chase with John Gibson, rookie David Wilson, Jeff Agnew and Benny Gordon poised as the spoilers.
Holman, from Abingdon, Va., earned the pole in the season opener at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson Ga., but Rogers claimed his 24th career victory that night. Three weeks later at New Smyrna [Fla.] Speedway the two drivers' success record was reversed. Rogers, a Troutman, N.C., resident, walked off with the pole and a track qualifying record, while Holman enjoyed victory lane for only the second time in his USAR Pro Cup career. It was the first time Holman had tasted victory champagne since Bristol, Tenn., in 2008. The 26-year-old Holman also realized if he's to achieve his championship goal this season he must out-perform Rogers at every event on the series 16-race schedule.
“You have to win races and if not win, you have to be in the top two or three every single week,” Holman said.
That's why Gibson, of Statesville, N.C., is poised to be one of the spoilers in the championship chase. His third- and second-place finishes, respectively, have him second in the standings, just 25 points behind leader Rogers. Holman is third, 37 points in arrears. Sarasota, Fla.'s, Wilson, the Hickory race's defending champion and leader in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, trails Rogers by 63 points. Other drivers poised to spoil Rogers' and Holman's championship battle are veterans Agnew, from Floyd, Va., and Gordon, of DuBois, Pa. Agnew, who drove Gordon's second car at New Smyrna after the engine in his car expired during practice, trails Rogers by 64 points. Gordon is 78 points out of the lead.
In addition to a race victory, the USAR Pro Cup drivers are vying for the WIX Challenge, a $3,000 bonus that goes to the competitor who earns the pole and then wins the race. The bonus is $1,000 for each race, but rolls over to the next event until it's won.
Qualifying for Saturday's WIX Filters 250 on the 0.363-mile Hickory track is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Races by USAC, the Allison Legacy Series and the Rolling Thunder Modifieds follow with the USAR Pro Cup Series 250-lap race set for 8 p.m. A race for the ISCARS will follow the USAR Pro Cup event.