Howard makes history with USAR Hooters ProCup victory Saturday night at South Boston Speedway
SOUTH BOSTON, VA. — Woody Howard of Chesapeake, Va. stole the show Saturday night in the Lucas Oil 250 at South Boston Speedway and made a bit of history in the process.
Howard became the first rookie competitor in the USAR Hooters Pro-Cup Series to gain three victories in his initial campaign. And, he did so in impressive fashion.
Howard, who has won two consecutive USAR Hooters ProCup Series events, started from the pole position in the 32-car field with a qualifying lap of 16.063 seconds and 89.647 miles per hour. He then proceeded to lead 147 of the 256 laps run on the way to earning the victory.
"That's what we came here to do," Howard, who pocketed a total of $12,000 for the night, said. "The pit crew did a great job for me tonight. We went in first [during a pit stop] and they got us out first."
Due to a pair of late cautions and red-flag periods, the race was extended to 256 laps in order to have a green-flag finish. In all, the race was slowed by nine caution flag sessions.
Howard led the first 89 laps of the race before making a mandatory pit stop during a caution period. Despite pitting, Howard made it back out on the track in the third position after posting the quickest time among the cars that headed in for pit stops under the yellow flag.
Howard grabbed the second-place position on the track on lap 132 when Joe Gaita of Yorktown, Va. headed in for his pit stop, allowing Mardy Lindley of Greenville, S.C. to inherit the lead position.
Lindley held the first-place spot on the track until the 198th circuit when Howard used the high side of the track to motor into the lead, a position he held for the final 58 circuits. Prior to getting around Lindley, Howard had tested the waters several times on the high side of the four-tenths mile asphalt oval.
"I had talked to some of my buddies that race down here and I had read some of the write-ups about the races here this season," Howard said. "I knew that some people had won some races this year by running that high line.
"I knew I didn't have any other choice," Howard added. "I wasn't going to get by Mardy any other way. The car wouldn't turn on the bottom of the track when I was behind him. I found some grip up there on the high side and, I have to thank Mardy, he drove me clean."
Jay Fogleman of Durham, N.C. made a late surge to rally from a 13th starting position in the 32-car field and finish in third place, while L.W. Miller of Mooresville, N.C. finished fourth and Lonnie Rush, Jr. of Mooresville, N.C., who started 18th, rounded out the top five competitors.
Richard Landreth of Pine Hall, N.C. ran as high as third in the early stages of the races and posted a sixth-place finish, while Mart Nesbitt of Asheville, N.C. was seventh.
Rounding out the top 10 drivers in the event were Ohio driver Gary St. Amant in eighth place, A.J. Frank of Mooresville, N.C. in ninth and Johnny Rumley of Summerfield, N.C. in 10th. St. Amant battled through the field from a 25th starting position to gain his top 10 run.
Benny Gordon of DuBois, Pa., who started the race from the outside pole position, saw the comfortable 104-point advantage he owned in the Hooters ProCup Series standings at the start of the night dwindle when he had rear end problems and finished 24th for the night. Lindley entered the night as the series' second-place driver in the standings.