KENLY, N.C. – A little bit of practice never hurt anyone. For 18-year-old Gus Dean, a little bit of practice could be the difference between winning and second place this Saturday night during the Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series event at Southern National Motorsports Park.
The South Carolina native and Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender got a head start on his competition last Sunday by racing in a pair of 75-lap late-model events at the four-tenths-mile asphalt oval.
Dean finished second in the first 75-lap race, but finished eighth in the second race after being forced to replace a cut tire from the first race with a practice tire between events. Still, the extra 150 laps around Southern National could pay huge dividends this Saturday night.
“We learned a lot and I learned a lot, especially as a driver, about some of the lines and some of the tricks to get around there,” Dean said. “A.J. (Frank, crew chief) I think learned a little bit about the track setup wise, what little bit he can transfer between a super (late model) and a Pro Cup car.”
Currently third in the Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series Championship Series standings and 85 points behind leader J.P. Morgan, Dean knows a strong run Saturday will be critical if he has any chance of winning the series championship.
“I’m excited for this weekend. I think we’re going to do good,” Dean said. “I feel like this track is a lot more tricky then it seems to be when you first arrive. I think my competitors won’t be as well prepared as we will be and I think we’re going to be a late-race car. I think we’ll pull out a podium and maybe pull out a win.”
Entering Saturday’s 250-lap event at Southern National, Morgan holds a 74-point lead over Tyler Young in the Championship Series standings. Dean is third, followed closely by fellow rookies Dalton Hopkins and Nathan Russell. All five will be in attendance Saturday at Southern National.
Others expected to make the trip to Kenly, N.C., on Saturday include Allen Purkhiser, Rusty Skewes, Joey Jones, Stacy Puryear, Jeb Burton, J.J. Pack and Andrew Gordon.