MORGAN CAPTURES ELUSIVE MMS X-1R PRO CUP SERIES VICTORY
Abingdon, Va., native Holman relegated to second in green-white-checkered finish – JW Martin
The only thing that could beat Benny Gordon Saturday night was bad luck.
The winningest driver in the X-1R Pro Cup Series at Motor Mile Speedway was coasting to an unprecedented sixth win in the New River Valley 250 when a tie rod failed two circuits from the finish.
After leading a race-high 218 laps, Gordon surrendered the point on lap 248, unfurling the event’s fourth and final yellow flag of the contest.
The caution staged a green-white-checkered finish, with J.P. Morgan in first alongside pole-sitter Caleb Holman for the restart.
After an unfortunate fifth-place starting spot handicapped the no. 75 Food Country Chevrolet to fifth following the halfway inversion, Holman began methodically working his way back into contention, with Morgan in tow.
Snake bit at his home track in eight prior starts, it appeared as if Holman, a Motor Mile Speedway veteran and local favorite, was poised to capitalize on Gordon’s late-race misfortune.
On the restart, the top duo plunged into turn one inches apart, with Morgan’s no. 23 occupying the preferred lane on the inside. Exiting the corner, Morgan muscled into the lead.
“When we got to that first corner, I maybe could have run in harder and hit him, but I would’ve killed my drive off. Heck, then you have another whole lap,” explained Holman. “That’s the thing about the bump-and-run. You gotta have the ‘run’ part down before you can do that.”
Despite a spirited battle for the top spot, Holman failed to mount a successful maneuver on Morgan’s lead machine in the waning laps, falling at the checkers to post a runner-up effort.
“J.P. [Morgan] was better than we were,” acknowledged Holman. “It’s tough; we’ve been up here and we’ve had a car that can lap the field, and can’t finish. Tonight, I’m beating my head against the wall with this thing trying to make it go.”
The win marked Morgan’s first triumph at Motor Mile Speedway in seven attempts.
“Any time you finally get in victory lane at any track is awesome, but Motor Mile is such an [awesome] place. I love this track. It’s such an awesome facility; it’s one of those tracks you want to win at,” a jubilant Morgan stated. “We’ve worked hard here, and we’ve come so close. It’s just unbelievable.”
Matt Craig placed third, with Dalton Hopkins and Codie Rohrbaugh rounding out the top five.