DILLON, S.C. – In the midst of a duel for the CARS Pro Cup Series championship, J.P. Morgan and Allen Purkhiser are both looking for an advantage heading into this Saturday’s Black’s Tire & Auto Service 250 at Dillon Motor Speedway.
Statistically speaking, Morgan and Purkhiser have had nearly identical seasons thus far. Both drivers haven’t finished outside the top 10 in five events this year, with Morgan earning a 2.2 average finish and Purkhiser notching a 2.6 average finish.
The difference, so far anyway, has been victory lane. Morgan has two victories this year, while Purkhiser only has one. As a result, Morgan enters Saturday’s 250-lap event with a 45-point lead over Purkhiser.
“They’ve got a great car and a great team and Allen is a great driver,” Morgan said. “I feel like we bring a great car and we’ve got a great team and, I’m not going to toot my own horn, but I feel like I’m a pretty good driver.
“We’re two of the top teams,” Morgan said. “There is so much quality there in the top-10 cars. All of us are just fighting at the tooth to get out there and just run 250-lap sprint races.”
Purkhiser, who is embarking on his first full season with the series, laughed when asked what it would take for him to beat Morgan for the championship.
“It would take him wrecking in every race just about,” joked Purkhiser. “He keeps gaining about five points on me every race because he leads at half way. He’ll usually finish right behind me or I’m right behind him. You just can’t really gain anything that way.”
Neither driver is likely to have a big advantage this weekend at Dillon where the CARS Pro Cup Series has only raced once before in 2011, when Brad Rogers went to victory lane. Purkhiser wasn’t in the field, while Morgan retired from the race after 166 laps and finished 11th in the 19-car field.
One driver who may have an advantage this weekend is newcomer Ryan Glenski, who will be making his debut in the CARS Pro Cup Series driving Wes Gonder Racing’s No. 36 Chevrolet.
Glenski, a 19-year-old native of New York, has raced at Dillon several times before and is expecting to make a quick impact with the series. He is a veteran of several classes of racing, including bandoleros, the Allison Legacy Series, ARCA and various late-model divisions.
“I am really excited to have the chance to run my first Pro Cup race with Brian Lear as my crew chief at Wes Gonder Racing,” Glenski said. “I think going to Dillon for my first races gives me some advantage. I’ve raced there in the past and love the track.
“I think with the level of the performance WGR brings to the track every weekend, we will have a solid shot at a good finish. I am very thankful to Jack McNelly for keeping this great series going and finally getting a chance to race one, thanks to Wes Gonder Racing,” Glenski said.
Gates for Saturday’s Black’s Tire & Auto Service 250 open at 5 p.m. with qualifying scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. An on-track driver autograph session is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. The Black’s Tire & Auto Service 250, featuring 250 laps of intense racing action, will go green at approximately 7:30 p.m.