- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Jeff Agnew had run 17 of 20 USARacing Procup races at South Boston Speedway before Saturday night’s USARacing Pro Cup Series 250 presented by Strutmasters.com., and the veteran driver from Floyd, Va., used that experience to win for the second time at the famed four-tenths mile track. Agnew now has 17 wins in the Pro Cup Series, the most of any active driver.
J.P. Morgan of Charlotte, N.C., finished second, with Brad Rogers of Mooresville, N.C., Tyler Young of Midland, TX, and Matt Lofton of Roxboro, N.C., rounding out the top five.
Caleb Holman, who won the last Pro Cup race run at South Boston last November, came home sixth after taking the pole Saturday with a fast lap of 15.842 seconds.
Qualifying fifth in a field of 17 cars, Agnew passed Holman for the lead on lap 65, and he led 18 laps before pitting for fuel on the restart after a one-hour rain delay.
Young led for 32 laps following the restart before taking on tires, with Morgan staying on the track and leading for another 32 laps.
Agnew slipped past Morgan for the lead on lap 147 and finished ahead of the most recent Procup race winner by 1.522 seconds in a race that was delayed by five cautions for 48 laps, not including a red flag stoppage for wet track conditions.
The rain delay actually helped him, Agnew said afterwards.
“Before it started raining we were tight. It started raining and allowed me to get Caleb right before they red-flagged it,” Agnew explained.
“We put our fuel in, that freed the car up a little more, and everything kind of went our way.
“Anytime you win is nice. We’ve worked so hard trying to make the cars go fast, and we’ve had a good car all year, but we broke in three out of the six races, and we got wrecked in one.
“I think we’ve had a car good enough to win races, so it’s just an awesome feeling to finally win one.”
Several cars with fresher tires were behind him during the last green flag run, and Agnew admitted to being a little concerned.
“The car really got to shoving the nose worse and worse towards the end, and if anybody had come up and put much pressure on us, it wasn’t much I could do, because I was running as hard as I could run,” Agnew said.
“It held on and we’re tickled to death.”
Morgan, a winner in two of the six Pro Cup Series races run so far this season, said he had to take on tires earlier than planned, and that may have played a part in his inability to catch Agnew in the waning laps.
“I had that flat on the rain delay… but I think I took everything as easy as I could and saved everything I possibly could,” Morgan commented.
“I got three good laps where I could pull up to him and after that we equaled out with him, and that was the end of it.”
Morgan had to fend off Rogers for his second-place finish.
“Brad was right there, it was good, hard racing, and it’s tough, when you get up behind somebody in cars like these you take air off the nose,” Morgan pointed out.
“Even on a short track like this, it seemed to lose the nose a little bit.
“I knew he was right there, I couldn’t even see him in my rear view mirror he was so close sometimes.”
Rogers, one of five different winners thus far in the Pro Cup season, said pit strategy didn’t play a big role for him, personally.
“The No. 7 car (Agnew) was the class of the field,” Rogers admitted.
“The rain changed the racetrack a little bit, but with about 50 to go it came back, and I couldn’t get back to the gas.
“I have to find a little bit more. I was thinking we were going to have another caution at the end, but I don’t know, from caution to caution the car just changes a bit too much.
“All in all another good night and another good night for the points, but second and third is getting kind of old.”
“The guys have worked super hard, and we went through some bad spells, but maybe the tide’s turned now,” Agnew concluded.
“We chose not to pit early, and it ended up working out. We put ourselves behind and have to do a little better there, but we did enough to where we could drive back up, get the lead and hang onto it.”
Stirewalt wins Legacy Series race
Salisbury, N.C., driver Jantzen Stirewalt led all 50 laps in winning the Allison Legacy Series race at South Boston on Saturday.
Stirewalt fended off a race-long challenge from second-place finisher John Hunter Nemechek, of Mooresville, N.C.
Nemechek is the 14-year-old son of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joe Nemechek.
Dale Ogburn of Mooresville, N.C., came home in third-place, followed by and Ryan Mackintosh of Nova Scotia, Canada, in a race halted by caution flags two times.