Adam Fenwick is out Asphalt Editor. Check this page every week so see his thoughts and coverage of Asphalt racing.
What Went Down...with Adam Fenwick
Howdy short-track fans and welcome to this weeks edition of What Went Down. We’ve got a lot to cover this weekend, so why don’t we just dive on in? I knew you couldn’t say no.
COOL RAIN, HOT TEMPERS: There were many story lines leading into Saturday’s Pro Cup Series (previously USARacing Pro Cup Series) event at North Carolina’s Concord Speedway.
First, with all the questions about the future of the series, how many cars and fans would show up for the event? Fifteen teams showed up for the 200 lapper, but no more than 100-200 fans were in the stands.
Second, with this race serving as the first race in the five-race championship series, who would get off to the best start in the chase for the championship? As it turns out, Bradley Rogers was that man.
Rogers won the pole for Saturday’s race, but quickly lost the lead at the start to fellow front-row starter J.P. Morgan. Driving the No. 23 Chevrolet, Morgan dominated the first 100 laps while Bradley Rogers and his brother, teammate and four-time series champion Clay Rogers gave chase.
A caution flag shortly after the 100-lap mark changed things. Morgan opted not to pit for fresh tires, while many others including Clay Rogers came down pit road. On the restart Caleb Holman made quick work of Morgan, taking the lead for the first time.
Holman continued to lead as Clay Rogers made his way through the field on fresh rubber. The current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver was up to second and closing when a rain storm that had been threatening the track all day finally made good, halting the event after 141 laps with Holman in front.
With few fans in the stands and only 15 cars in the garage, no one would have blamed the series if it had pulled the plug on the race at this point. However, teams and drivers stuck it out and two and a half hours later the race was restarted.
It was during that caution period that Bradley Rogers made the race-winning move, coming down pit road for fresh tires. When the race returned to green-flag conditions he sliced his way through the field, eventually moving into second behind Holman. Bradley Rogers tried a few times to move past Holman before giving him a shot in the bumper that sent Holman spinning.
From there the younger of the two Rogers brothers pulled away to his second series victory of the season. His elder brother Clay Rogers was second ahead of Jeff Agnew, J.P. Morgan and A.J. Frank.
MORE CONCORD NOTES: Caleb Holman was none too pleased with Bradley Rogers after getting spun while in the lead Saturday night. He voiced his displeasure by pulling into victory lane after the race before Bradley Rogers could even get there.
Some words were shared and some ugly looks thrown across the pit area, but eventually Holman’s No. 75 Dodge Charger was moved out of victory lane so the race-winning No. 16 Ford of Bradley Rogers could roll into victory lane.
In other news, new series owner and director Jack McNelly confirmed in the drivers meeting that USARacing is officially dead. The Pro Cup Series, as it was called Saturday, is a totally new entity.
He also confirmed that he is currently in the beginning stages of setting up a new sanctioning body through the state of North Carolina, but he couldn’t reveal the new sanctioning body name. For now, the series will continue to be known as the Pro Cup Series.
Want more from Concord? Be sure to check out my photos from the Pro Cup Series 200 at Concord (N.C.) Speedway on the LuvRacin.com photo page at http://luvracinphotos.smugmug.com/AdamF/NC-8-13-11-Concord-Pro-Cup-250/18522202_qrkD5g
NEW HAMPSHIRE MAGIC: It had been nearly two years since Mike Stefanik, widely considered one of the best asphalt modified drivers of all time, had been to victory lane with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
On Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Stefanik put an end to that losing streak in dramatic fashion.
Aboard the No. 16 Pontiac, Stefanik found himself at the front of the field after pit stops in the middle of the appropriately named Granite State Classic. Chasing him were Woody Pitkat, who was looking for his first Tour victory, and championship leader Todd Szegedy.
The race ended in a three-wide brawl coming out of turn four, but it was the veteran Stefanik who held on to earn his 71st NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour triumph and first since Sept. 27, 2009 at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway.
Also at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday, Brian Hoar was the overall winner of the American-Canadian Tour All-Star Challenge. The two-segment race featured an overall point system, with the lowest number of points being declared the winner.
Eddie MacDonald sat on the pole and won the first 50-lap feature, but MacDonald fell out of the second 50-lap run on a lap 36 restart after having ignition issues. That gave Hoar, who finished second in the first segment, all the help he needed en route to winning the second segment and the event overall.
Other winners this weekend were...
Dylan Kwasniewski (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Montana Raceway Park)
Lee Tissot (UARA-STARS Late Model Series at Kingsport Speedway in Tennessee Saturday)
Jerry Marquis (Valenti Modified Racing Series at Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut Saturday)
Chase Elliott (Blizzard Series super late models at Five Flags Speedway in Florida Friday)
Keith Rocco (Valenti Modified Racing Series at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut Friday)
Jonathan Eilen (ASA Kwik Trip Midwest Tour at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Iowa Friday)
Kalamazoo Klash for outlaw late models at Kalamazoo Speedway in Michigan (Aug. 17)
CRA Super Series for super late models at Dixie Motor Speedway in Michigan (Aug. 19)
UARA-STARS Late Model Series at Anderson Motor Speedway in South Carolina (Aug. 19)
CRA Jegs All-Star Tour for crate late models at Winchester Speedway in Indiana (Aug. 20)
Valenti Modified Racing Series at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts (Aug. 20)
Pro All Stars Series South for super late models at South Boston Speedway in Virginia (Aug. 20)
ASA Kwik Trip Midwest Tour for super late models at Raceway Park in Minnesota (Aug. 21)