HUDSON, N.C. – J.P. Morgan continued his recent string of good luck by collecting his third-straight victory in CARS Pro Cup Series competition Friday night at Tri-County Motor Speedway.
Morgan started from the pole and led early on before Stacy Puryear, making his first CARS Pro Cup Series start since 2006, tracked him down near the end of the first half. Puryear was able to overtake Morgan and was scored at the leader at the halfway break.
During the halfway break the top seven drivers were inverted, putting Nathan Russell on the point for the start of the second half. Contact between Dalton Hopkins and Bill Plemons, Jr. on the restart brought out a caution flag and further jumbled the running order.
Following one more caution for debris, Russell continued to lead the field over Gus Dean, Morgan and Puryear. During the restart Morgan made his move, first dispatching of Dean before chasing down and passing Russell for the lead.
From there it was smooth sailing for the CARS Pro Cup Series championship leader, who notched his fourth victory of the year and seventh of his career.
“We didn’t win the first half, Stacy had a really good car,” said Morgan. “The second half we made the changes we needed to make and the car came alive. We knew that this track wore tires out. We needed to make sure that we saved tires and basically do track management. That’s what we did and it worked out for us.”
Dean closed the gap on Morgan late in Friday’s event, but he ran out of time and finished second for the second-straight race.
“Our car was a little free all night long,” said Dean. “J.P. Morgan is a very respected, highly respected veteran in this series. To be able to run with these guys competitively like we’re doing, that just feels good. We’re going to keep trying and eventually we’ll get one and it’ll be a good day when we do.”
Puryear, wheeling the No. 36 for Wes Gonder Racing, finished third in his first Pro Cup event in six years.
“We just went too far with our adjustments at the break,” said Puryear. “Not being in these cars for six years and not being on this Goodyear tire I just didn’t know how far to tell them to go with the adjustments. I knew we were pretty good, but I know J.P. is the man in the series right now. I was just afraid that we weren’t going to be able to run with him in the second half. I just went too far, it’s my fault.”
Allen Purkhiser finished fourth aboard the No. 68 Premiere Motorsports Ford, with Russell completing the top five in the No. 26 Chevrolet.
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