MCFARLAND CAPTURES FIRST CAREER CHECKERED FLAG AT MMS
Mark McFarland outpaces Rogers to net the trophy in the Heritage Truck Centers 250 – JW Martin
Clay Rogers was chasing a record Saturday night in the X-1R Pro Cup Series Heritage Truck Centers 250 at Motor Mile Speedway.
He was also chasing Mark McFarland.
The past champion entered the night on the cusp of history after sweeping the series’ opening three races. The two-time Motor Mile Speedway victor was the undeniable favorite for a record-setting fourth consecutive checkered flag.
“We were chasing a record, but we came up just a little bit short,” said Rogers. “With Johnny Rumley’s record here, Huff hauling the racecar here with the no. 8 on the side of it…you know it’s gonna be tough to beat.”
In what proved to be a homecoming affair, McFarland staved off Rogers through multiple late-race, white-knuckle restarts, showcasing some of the best action the X-1R Pro Cup Series has ever produced at Motor Mile Speedway.
Ten cautions littered the contest, with the second yellow flag unfurling for local fan favorite Caleb Holman. After starting the 250-lap marquee fourth, the engine under Holman’s no. 75 Food Country Chevrolet soured exiting turn two a mere ten laps after the drop of the green. Holman’s abrupt departure ushered in a flurry of cautions that kept the frontrunners close, and the racing tight.
The battle for the top spot reached a climax on lap 144 when the fray for first grew three-wide with Rogers, McFarland and home track veteran Rusty Skewes scrambling for supremacy. Skewes enjoyed a breakout evening in the no. 41, never fading outside the top five. Skewes notched a fourth place effort at the finish.
“I’ve went three-wide before, but generally, one of the guys lifts,” Rogers said of the maneuver. “With this being Huff’s home race track, and this being Rusty Skewes’ home track, I think I might have expected a little too much thinking either one of them was going to lift. But that’s what short track racing is.”
…And stellar short track racing followed, with Rogers in pursuit of McFarland through the remainder of the race. The tenth and final caution resulted in a three lap dash to the checkers on lap 247. Rogers failed to muster a surge on McFarland in the waning circuits, with McFarland snaring his first career victory at the .416-mile oval ahead of Rogers and Brady Boswell.
“We’ve been working hard trying to win here in the Pro Cup race,” a jovial McFarland stated. “Racing Clay, you never know [you’ve won] until the checkered flag, so when we took the checkered I eased off a little bit.”
Boswell nipped Skewes for third at the finish. Dalton Hopkins rounded out a stout top five.