Gordon, Barnes Big Winners During American Freedom Spectacular
Caleb Holman, driving for the Abingdon, Va.-based Henderson Motorsports team, put up a valiant fight, but it was Benny Gordon taking his machine to victory in the USAR Pro Cup Series event during the American Freedom Spectacular at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday evening.
Holman, who was in command for much of the event, was dogged by Gordon through the middle of the race. Tire problems late in the going, however, took him out of contention.
After Holman fell out, the battle turned into a race between Gordon and Clay Rogers. Brandon Ward and A.J. Frank followed close behind, but Gordon and Rogers were able to run away and settle the race between them. Gordon lost the lead on lap 170 to Rogers, but raced his way back by the next lap.
Gordon said his dogfight with Holman is probably what helped seal the deal for him. Holman was forced to run his car much harder due to Gordon’s pressure, and his right front eventually gave up.
“You don’t know how good this is to win here,” Gordon said. “Caleb had a good car…I thought we were even. It is fun racing like that.
“If I hadn’t kept on him, the tire probably would have lasted.”
After dispensing with Holman, Rogers became the thorn in Gordon’s side. Rogers raced past Gordon, but was not ahead for long.
“Clay muscled his way by,” Gordon explained, “but I had a good car and lifted him up. Clay saved it and then I ran as hard as I could [to the finish].”
Gordon, who finished second to Holman during the series’ last visit to Bristol, said his car was good straight off the truck.
“I took five laps in practice and it was good,” he said. “When it started raining in practice, I said, ‘Good. I don’t know what else to do to the car.’”
“It is huge to win here. It is a great place. Bristol is the best place in the world as far as racing. The weekend couldn’t have been any better for us.”
Rogers finished second, with Ward third and Frank fourth. Chase Elliott, the son of 1988 Winston Cup Series champ Bill Elliott, rounded out the top five.
Chuck Barnes, from Louisville, Ky., survived a wild affair during the Frank Kimmel Street Stock series event held earlier in the afternoon. The event was marred by several accidents, including a massive 15-car melee on the opening lap.
Barnes, Todd Kempf and Brian Bayer were locked together for most of the race, but Barnes ended up in Victory Lane.
“I came here in 2008, and we ended up ninth,” he said. “We had a good idea of what to do to the car because of that. The set up we use at home in Salem helped.”
“There are a lot of good cars here. The number nine (Kempf) is a tough competitor. He must have been saving his stuff for the end.”
Kempf finished second, followed by Bayer, Frank Kimmel II and Wayne Locklair.
Kevin Wolfe earned the Charger Division win to round out the evening.