Brandon Ward Wins 1st USARacing Pro Cup Series Race This Season
South Boston, Va. (August 8, 2009) Brandon Ward inherited the lead with 50 laps remaining in Saturday's South Boston 250, then held off a hard charging Clay Rogers to claim his first victory this season and the second of his USARacing Pro Cup career at South Boston Speedway.
Ward was running second in his HessRacing Products Chevrolet Monte Carlo when leader Derek Kale collided with Brett Butler's lapped car on the front stretch on lap 200. Butler's LoanMax/HT&S Mulch Products Chevrolet smacked the inside wall, while Kale's Chevrolet Impala cut a tire in the collision. Kale had to pit and Ward assumed the lead.
It was then clear sailing for Ward, who was never challenged for the lead but had to keep an eye on his rear view mirror for the fast approaching Rogers. At the checkered flag, Ward inked out a 0.395-second victory over the standings leader.
We had a real good car and I knew that all night long, said Ward, who averaged 77.806 mph in the race that was slowed by four caution flags for 22 laps. We were charging hard to the front.
Rogers dominated the race, leading the first 178 laps in the 250-lap event, but it was pit strategy that made the difference. A four-tire stop for Rogers during the third caution period left him seventh on the lap 181 restart. Ward pitted for tires earlier in the event, then received only fuel during the third caution flag and won the race off pit road. That left Ward in second to Kale on the restart.
We actually changed our pit strategy and the caution fell our way, Ward commented.
Rogers was extremely disappointed following his loss. The Concord, N.C., driver dueled for second with Matt Lofton for several laps before finally diving under him in turn 3 and taking over the runner-up slot. However, the duel he had with Lofton, eventually cost him the victory.
I just wasn't able to find a way around him [Lofton] and when I did it was too late, a dejected Rogers said. He was doing a great job and racing hard. I still had to move him up the racetrack to get by him. I hated doing that, but when it's time to go, it's time to go. I guess I went about five laps too late.
Rounding out the top five, respectively, were: Bobby Gill, USGSheetrock/Building Specialties/Tidewater Int. Ford Fusion; Matt Lofton, Strutmasters.com Chevrolet Monte Carlo; and Drew Herring, BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors/Hogslat Ford. The top 12 finishers were on the lead lap.
Rogers maintained the lead in the standings with one more racing remaining before the four-race Championship Series begins at Sept. 5 at Concord [N.C.] Motor Speedway.
The USARacing Pro Cup Series [formerly Hooters Pro Cup] will take a week off before returning to Langley [Va.] Speedway on Aug. 22. For more information on the USARacing Pro Cup Series, go to www.usarprocup.com.
In South Boston Speedway's second event Saturday night, Joe Scarbrough won the Rolling Thunder Modified race. Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Alan Purser, Ronnie Davis, Johnny Petrozelle and Kyle Wood.