SES LEFTOVERS: CARAWAY by Jeremy Troiano
Anderson, Darnell, Prince, Norris, Richardson, Faulk, Pope & More
LONG NIGHT FOR HOGAN
After a disappointing 18th-place finish at his hometrack of Lanier just six days before, Jason Hogan had nowhere to go but up at Caraway. While Hogan's eventual sixth-place finish was a definite improvement over his run at Lanier, it didn't come without quite an adventure during the 150-lap race.
Hogan qualified fourth and started third after the inversion. He quickly worked his way into third and raced in the top-five much of the night. That's when all the real fun started.
“We were just sitting there and riding,” said Hogan. “Wayne (Anderson) kind of knocked into me and got me out of the way, which was fine because he was faster than us. I just kept riding and riding and riding. I knew we had a top-five car.
“Then, we ended up getting under a lapped car (the #66 of Eddie Stivers) and got run over. I was pretty upset but I guess I am going to start taking it like 'what happens
happens.' I am just going to have to deal with it and go on to next week.
“It is just a back marker that is just learning. What do you say? I'll let NASCAR handle it and we'll see if it gets handled. I've seen that he was over at the (NASCAR) trailer so we'll see if they take care of it. It is one of those things. People have to learn somewhere. I am looking forward to everything now. I am not looking backwards. I am going to run my own race and take what I can get from now on.”
“I don't know what happened. I wish I could answer that,” said Eddie Stivers of the incident. “We moved down and I tried to stay down, but we just got together and went around. Things like that happen. I feel like he got a little impatient. He gave me a shot and another shot and then he really gave me a whack, I guess to tell me he was not pleased.
“It certainly was not intentional. I was trying to get out of his way.”
“We didn't get called to the (NASCAR) Trailer for anything to do with the 92 car. In fact, that didn't come up once.”
The adventure wasn't over yet, though, for Hogan.
“After the spin, we decided that was a good time to come in and try to make some changes to the car,” said Hogan. “When we were sitting in the pits, for some unexplained reason, the fire extinguisher in the car just went off. It really shocked and surprised me at first, and then it made it hard to breathe.
“Then I remembered that if I put my shield down, it would give me fresh air," joked Hogan. "So it really wasn't a big deal until I got out of the car at the end of the night. Then, I just had a little trouble catching my breath.”
Jason Hogan's #92 gets a little loose while running in front of Wayne Anderson (#72), JR Norris (#5) and Jeff Fultz (#54). (51 Photos)
If not already enough of an adventure, Hogan had to work his way back up toward the front of the pack from deep in the field. Hogan was eighth as the white flag flew, but made a daring move as the cars in front of him got bunched up and worked his way up to sixth when the checkers flew.
“That last lap was crazy,” said Hogan. “I saw everyone stacking up on the bottom, so I let it roll on the outside and I almost got up to (fifth-place Jeff) Fultz. This is a tough place to get by on the outside. We had a good race with Steven Howard to the line. He raced me clean to the line. It was fun.
“If we would have been running fourth or fifth on that last restart, we probably could have gotten second with the way those guys were racing up in front of us. I know we were better than Fultz. I think I was better than JR (Norris) too. But that is fine. I'll take what I can get.”
DEAD BATTERY SLOWS ANOTHER GOOD RUN FOR POPE
Greg Pope was looking for his third-straight, top-10 finish and appeared to easily be on the way until he got caught up in the aftermath of the Jason Hogan – Eddie Stivers spin. Pope's car came to a stop just after nudging Stivers' stopped car, but wouldn’t refire, causing him to go a couple of laps down.
“The 92 (Hogan) spun low, so I was going high to go around them and the 66 (Stivers) backed up the track. So I tried to stop and couldn't stop. I just barely did hit him. It didn't mess the car up bad, but it wouldn't crank. I guess I killed the battery because when it shut off, I couldn't crank it.”
Greg Pope's #63 was a solid car until getting caught up in someone else's mess.
Then, on the following restart, Pope was black-flagged by NASCAR.
“I thought they black flagged me because of when I passed a lapped car heading into turn one off the restart when I was trying to get my lap back. But they black flagged me because another car was stopped near the middle of the track. There was nowhere to go and I was trying to get caught up with the field so I could go to the front. I had no room to go to the right so I passed him to the left and they black flagged me. It is one of those deals. I can't get mad. They tell you these things. But in some circumstances, you think you have to do it.”
ANOTHER ENGINE PROBLEM
Michael Faulk has had a typical rookie year, full of ups and downs, good runs and bad runs. Wednesday night at Caraway Speedway was a down night.
“The car was pretty good. We could run with the lead pack,” said Faulk, the rookie from Florida. “We could hang with them. We needed more green flag laps. We had a good car. Then only 20 laps into the race, I noticed everyone started pulling away from me and I was matted to the floor and I couldn't figure out what was going on. About two laps after that, it dropped a cylinder. So I made another couple of more laps and coming down the front straightaway, it dropped the cylinder.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE ONE WEEK MAKES
Just under one week after collecting a career-best, third-place run after overcoming all kinds of odds at Lanier National Speedway, Justin Wakefield had about the exact opposite kind of luck at Caraway on Wednesday night.
“Yeah. What a difference a few days makes. That is the ups and downs of racing,” said Wakefield. “We had a flat tire right as the green flag came out. So we had to come in and lost a couple laps. Then we went back out there and got black flagged for not using the access road. Then the right front tire went flat.”
How do you deal with something like that?
Justin Wakefield (left) and Michael Faulk (right) both had big time problems at Caraway.
“You just ride around. You get mad at first. But there is nothing you can do about it. You just ride around, smile and laugh about it.”
Wakefield finished 16th, 10 laps off of the pace.
LONG, HOGAN COME TOGETHER LATE
Donald Long returned to the series last week at Lanier and came away with a second-place finish. His luck wasn't quite as good at Caraway.
“We were tight. We just couldn't get the car to where we wanted it,” said Long. “We eventually made it up to seventh. Then I think the 92 car (Jason Hogan) wanted that spot more than I did with about six laps to go and spun me out. I think he got a little impatient. That is part of it. We are going to run Myrtle Beach.
“It messed our night up a little bit. Thankfully, he didn't tear the car up.”
“I got up under him two or three times,” said Hogan of the incident. “When I got into the corner there, I didn't really think I got into him that hard. It looked like he'd be getting in a little slower than me. I may have touched him just enough to get him around, but it was just one of them racing incidents.
FULTZ FINISHES FIFTH ON SEVEN
Jeff Fultz, the Southeast Series point leader, had a solid run at Caraway on Wednesday night, but it could have been far worse.
“It just seemed like (the car) was on seven cylinders,” said Fultz. “The handling was decent. But I was holding the guys behind me up, though. I held the 5 car (JR Norris) up for a while. We'll get it fixed.
“JR (Norris) ran me clean. I have to thank him for that. That made it fun.
“We would have had a shot at getting around them all right there near the end. We didn't have a second- place car. We had a 10th-place car and we got a fifth, so we got out of hear with some decent points. We lost a little to the 7 (Erik Darnell) and the 5, but overall, were decent.”
As for Fultz's thoughts on Wayne Anderson returning to the series to possibly keep him from taking over the all-time lead in SES wins: “I'm not worried. Wayne is a great
Jeff Fultz (#54) waged a great battle here with Wayne Anderson (#72).
racer. He would probably have 30 of these things if he were here every week. Maybe he and Eddie (Mercer, Anderson's car owner) don't want me to get (the record) but we will get it. They don't run enough races to stop us. I've raced with him for years. Anyone that races for a living like he does is a great racer. And I like him being here. It makes the competition that much greater.”
WILD RIDE FOR BOWEN
The wildest ride of the night went to Wayne Bowen. The Concord (NC) driver was making his way through the pack when he took a sharp right and slammed into the outside wall on the front stretch.
The car got airborne, slid on its side for a few feet before coming down and slamming into the wall yet again.
“It took a hard right into the fence,” said a puzzled Bowen
Bowen's #23 sits against the wall after a hard impact.
after the race. “I just think something broke on the car. We are trying to figure it out. I just had a talk with the guy I was beside and he said the same thing; it looked like something broke on the car and it just went right.
“It is a front and rear clip for sure.”
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