Mooresville, NC – Caleb Holman made it look easy Saturday night at Southern National Motorsports Park (Lucama, NC) winning the Golden Leaf 200 in dominating fashion to kick off the 2014 X-1R Pro Cup Championship Series. The Abingdon, Virginia driver took the lead on lap fifty-one and never looked over his shoulder in route to sweeping both events at Southern National this season. The victory was Holman’s third of the season and should extend his points lead to seven points over fellow competitor JP Morgan heading into the Coastal Carolina 200 at Costal Plains Raceway in two weeks.
“We had a real good car all day. I could tell in the first practice I was going to have something I could really race with. We’ve had a little stretch of bad luck here lately, so we knew with the championship series coming up we had to be on our game and stay out of trouble. Tonight we did that and were able to get this Henderson Motorsports Food Country USA Chevrolet back in victory lane,” stated sweat drenched Holman in Edelbrock Victory Lane after the race.
Holman’s only real challenge came early on in the form of series newcomer Brian Keselowski who paced the field for the first fifty circuits after picking up his first career MAHLE pole award in qualifying. The Michigan native and older brother of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup winner Brad Keselowski, did all he could to keep his lead, but Holman clearly had the better ride after multiple taps to his bumper to signal so
After Keselowski’s brief time at the top position Holman took command of the field with several battles for position taking place behind him. The biggest of those battles came to a head on lap seventy-nine when Reid Wilson sent the #2 ride of Brady Boswell for a lazy spin off the exit of turn four. The result put Boswell down a lap when he could not get going in time to keep from going a lap down, and Wilson to the rear of the field via the series’ punishment for over aggressive driving.
That didn’t seem to be enough satisfaction for Boswell, who at the time was the only car in position for the lucky dog, took matters into his own hand on the ensuing restart intentionally hooking Wilson’s machine and sending it slamming driver’s side first into the turn three wall. The hit was hard enough it knocked out Wilson on impact. The series sophomore driver was transported to a local hospital and then later released. Boswell was parked by series officials for the night.
After winning the Roush Yates Performance Products Halfway Leader award Caleb Holman led the field back to green with fresh American Racer rubber and VP Racing fuel. The final 100 laps stayed clean and green with Holman out front the entire way despite Gus Dean’s efforts to mount a challenge for the position with twenty laps to go. The South Carolina driver, who knows his way around Southern National well, did all he could to close the gap to within a car length on Holman before eventually taking the checkered flag in the runner up position for the third time in his career.
Doug Barnes Jr. rounded out the podium with his best career finish of third despite a twenty plus lap side-by-side battle with series veteran JP Morgan. Barnes, led by owner and crew chief Bob Schact, keep getting better each race improving on their fourth place finish at Motor Mile last race out.
“It took us a race or two to get our feet wet running with the Pro Cup Series, but now we seem to be really headed in the right direction. Over the last two races we’ve improved at the track each time. That race with JP (Morgan) was a lot of work but it was worth it. We raced side-by-side for what seemed like forever and never touched each other; that’s good racing,” explained rookie Doug Barnes Jr with a smile at night’s end.
Next up for the X-1R Pro Cup Series is the Coastal Carolina 200 at Coastal Plains Raceway in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Saturday September 20th. For more information on this event and the entire X-1R Pro Cup Series visit www.carsprocup.com or contact the series directly at 704-662-9212.
CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series
Golden Leaf 200
Southern National Motorsports Park-Lucama, NC
- #75 Caleb Holman
- #56 Gus Dean
- #88 Doug Barnes Jr.
- #23 JP Morgan
- #21 Eric Gerchak
- #54 Matt Craig
- #05 Codie Rohrbaugh
- #6 Jeff Oakley
- #29 Brian Keselowski
- #66 Reid Wilson DQ #2 Brady Boswell