DILLON, S.C. – J.P. Morgan was totally untouchable Saturday night at Dillon Motor Speedway as he rolled to his third CARS Pro Cup Series victory of the season during the Black’s Tire & Auto Service 250.
Wheeling the No. 23 J&R Racing Chevrolet from the outside pole, Morgan completely dominated throughout the 250-lap event. The only time he wasn’t out front was following an invert during mid-race intermission, but within 15 laps he’d made his way back to the front and led the rest of the way.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream for Morgan however as he had to hold off a hard charging Gus Dean in the closing stages of the event. Dean drove his family-owned No. 56 Chevrolet hard in the final 50 laps in an attempt to catch Morgan, but simply ran out of time and ended up a career-best second.
“I was trying to really feel out how he (Dean) was,” Morgan said post-race. “There at the end we kind of ran lap for lap, one lap I’d be faster and the next lap he’d be faster. He saved his stuff pretty good, I could tell.”
Morgan said he had a little extra in reserve, just in case Dean was able to track him down in the closing laps.
“I had a little bit more left, I’m sure he had a little bit more left. It is kind of a cat and mouse game,” Morgan said. “The car was a hell of a car. It was awesome. You love those nights when you have one like that.”
Dean, a series rookie, settled for second after an impressive performance at the four-tenths-mile asphalt oval.
“We saved our tires all night long. I feel like we had better tires then he did the last 10 laps,” Dean said. “J.P., he had a good car and got a good lead out there. I was trying everything I could. My crew did a heck of a job putting this car together all week long. They keep doing this and we’ll be in victory lane soon enough.”
Allen Purkhiser finished third aboard the No. 68 Premiere Motorsports Chevrolet to collect his fifth-straight top-five finish.
“The car just got tight, I couldn’t turn and I couldn’t keep up with J.P. He just had such a good car. He played with me the whole time,” Purkhiser said. “We kept coming in making adjustments and it kept getting worse and worse.”
Tyler Young collected his third pole of the season and finished fourth Saturday evening. Joey Jones was credited with finish-place despite exiting his car shortly before the half-way break because of heat exhaustion. Dalton Hopkins, who had crashed out of the event early on, completed the race in the No. 53 for Jones.