Suffolk’s Florian motors to fifth UCAR win

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2009

HAMPTON – Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem, N.C., moved out front on lap 206 and sped to his second consecutive victory in Sunday afternoon’s Hampton Virginia/Honor Flight 250 for the USARacing Pro Cup Series.

With qualifying washed out on Saturday, the starting lineup was set by the current car owner standings, putting Clay Rogers on the pole.

As the event got under way, Rogers jumped into the lead. After an early yellow flag, at lap 7, he set sail, extending his advantage to nearly half a straightaway, while second-place Bobby Gill tussled with Lucas Ransone and Drew Herring.

Gill gave way on lap 20 when he slid up the track in Turns 1 and 2. Herring slipped past Ransone for second on lap 26.

A caution flag, then a red flag, were needed on lap 79 when a logjam in Turns 3 and 4 ended with Jeff Agnew’s machine resting on top of Herring’s. The delay lasted a little over 20 minutes.

Rogers showed the way until lap 151 when he pitted under the race’s seventh yellow flag. Returning to green, Matt Lofton, who started 16th, was the new leader.

While Lofton continued to lead, signs of trouble began to appear as the event neared the 200-lap mark. Entering the turns, white smoke began to belch from the exhaust of Lofton’s No. 07 car.

Ward moved past Lofton for the lead on lap 206, getting the better of him as they raced down the backstretch. Within a handful of laps, Ward had pulled away by half a straightaway.

At the finish, Ward was the winner by nearly a full straightaway over Woody Howard. Gill was third to the line, while J.P. Morgan and Clay Rogers completed the top five.

Ryan Nester started on the pole and led all the way to maintain his unbeaten streak in the 40-lap Atlantic Power Sweeping Super Street feature. The victory was his ninth of the season

Steve Dill was third on the starting grid and moved up to second on the opening lap. He held down the runner-up spot throughout the event, fighting off Jeff Shannon.

At the checkers, Nester was the winner by a little more than two lengths over Dill.

Starting near the tail of a 25-car field, Adam Florian worked his way into the lead in the closing laps and scored his fifth victory in the 40-lap EZ Auto of Newport News UCAR race.

Florian had been due to start on the pole, but mechanical problems during Saturday’s practice rounds forced him to take his car home for repairs and meant he’d have to start at the back of the pack.

Florian’s bad break moved points leader Randy Prillaman to the pole and he led the first 30 laps. Florian made short work of the rest of the field. He took over second place on lap 16.

After riding Prillaman’s bumper for about 10 laps, Florian grabbed the lead on lap 31. Prillaman returned the favor on lap 32, but Florian wasn’t through, nosing ahead at the end of lap 33.

On the final lap, Prillaman tried to muscle Florian aside as they headed into Turn 3 for the last time. Florian held firm, though, rocketing off the fourth corner and winning by two lengths.