ROUGEMONT, N.C. – Well, that drought didn’t last long.
One week after having a four-race winning streak snapped at Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway, J.P. Morgan picked up his sixth Rev-Oil Pro Cup Series triumph of the season Saturday night at Orange County Speedway during the Revolution Oil 250 presented by Puryear Race Parts.
Morgan and the No. 23 J&R Racing team were non-factors in the first 125 laps of the event. Tyler Young and rookie Gus Dean swapped the lead multiple times during the first 125 laps, with Dean was scored the leader at the halfway break after bypassing Young on lap 113.
At that point Morgan was running fourth and was struggling just to keep up with the lead cars.
“I think we might have had a valve stem or a valve core going bad (in the first half),” Morgan said post-race. “We were losing pressure back there and it made the car tight and I used up the tires trying to drive it.”
Morgan and his crew discovered the problem during the halfway break. Once they changed the faulty tire, Morgan found his groove. He grabbed the lead at the start of the second half and despite pressure from both Dean and Young, he led the final 125 laps en route to victory.
“It felt great in the second half,” Morgan said. “I couldn’t be happier; we’re back in victory lane again. This is number six on the season. Maybe we can start a little streak again.”
Dean and Young spent the last half of the race battling for second, making contact a handful of times. The pair made contact one final time coming out of turn four on the final lap, crossing the finish line in a dead heat for second.
Young ended up getting credit for finishing second, his best finish since winning his first Rev-Oil Pro Cup event earlier this year at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
“We needed about 25 more laps and it would have been real good,” Young said. “Gus Dean is a great kid. He is a hard racer and they’re here to win just like we are. He didn’t give us any room and we didn’t give him any room at the end. He knew when to go. It’s just real fun to race with guys like that.”
Dean settled for third in the No. 56 Dean Racing Chevrolet after being scored the leader at the halfway break.
“Our car was a good bit free in the second half. It felt really good at the very beginning of the second half, which normally means it’s going to change near the end,” Dean said. “Big thanks to Tyler Young for running us clean. I loved the battle there on the last lap.”
Rusty Skewes and Bill Plemons, Jr. completed the top five.
Stacy Puryear, a former late-model stock track champion at Orange County, started from the pole but suffered through a series of misfortunes during the event and finished sixth.