||J.P. Morgan Captures Palmetto State 250
Late Race Contact Ends Jeff Agnew’s Shot At Victory at Anderson Motor Speedway
...Anderson, S.C. — J.P. Morgan was the beneficiary of Jeff Agnew’s bad luck Saturday night at Anderson Motor Speedway, taking over the lead late after contact with a lap car ended Agnew’s shot at victory during the season opening CARS Pro Cup Series Palmetto State 250.
Jeff Agnew dominated much of Saturday’s event at the three-eighths-mile oval and looked to have the race well in hand as the laps wound down. That is, until lap 207 when he made contact with Allen Purkhiser, who was trying to make up a lap after issues early in the race.
Morgan, who was running second at the time of the contact between Agnew and Purkhiser, took over the lead as Agnew came down pit road to check for damage and get some new rubber. Try as Agnew might however, the tires he put on just weren’t enough to help him catch Morgan.
“I was pretty sure Allen was down a lap or two. I just let him go, I was trying to save tires,” Morgan said after his fourth series victory. “He got up with Jeff and Jeff was racing him pretty hard. I was trying to figure it out. I thought, ‘Well maybe he was on the lead lap.’
“I started to go but then as soon as I looked up I saw them beating and banging and the next thing you know Jeff was around,” Morgan said. “It was pretty exciting out there. I was wondering what all was going to happen.”
Rookie Nathan Russell avoided Agnew’s spinning No. 7 Ford and was able to come home an impressive second in just his third series start.
“I wanted to follow Jeff because of Jeff’s experience and I wanted to keep him in sight. Then I saw him spin so I went high. My spotter told me to go high so I went high and made it through,” Russell said. “It was a great run, the car is in one piece. This will help us out a lot as we run for points and rookie of the year this year.”
Agnew, the defending series champion, was able to recover from the spin to finish third. To say he wasn’t happy with Purkhiser after the contact would be an understatement.
“I don’t know, I guess he (Purkhiser) thought could make all those laps up,” Agnew said. “Coming down the straightaway he didn’t make the offer that he wanted the inside and then towards the end of the straightaway he dove it in there and I came down.”
Agnew said he knew he was out of contention shortly after the restart came on lap 218.
“After we put the first set of tires back on, I ran two laps and I knew we didn’t have a chance. They had absolutely no bite. Just didn’t have a shot,” Agnew said.
Bryan Silas and Harrison Rhodes completed the top five.
Purkhiser, who started third, was clearly the fastest car on the track all night. He led the race early on after starting third, but a tire issue forced him to come down pit road and he lost several laps as a result. He finished sixth.
Tyler Young earned his second career pole after a blistering 16.018-second qualifying lap. He led the first 12 laps but later retired from the race after transmission issues.
The race was slowed five times by the caution flag.
The CARS Pro Cup Series returns to action on April 21 at Hickory Motor Speedway. For more information, please contact Public Relations Director Adam Fenwick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-329-6050.
CARS Pro Cup Series Palmetto State 250 Results
Finish Start Car No. Driver Laps Complete
1. 5 23 J.P. Morgan 250
2. 7 26 Nathan Russell 250
3. 4 7 Jeff Agnew 250
4. 9 99 Bryan Silas 250
5. 6 33 Harrison Rhodes 250
6. 3 68 Allen Purkhiser 249
7. 10 73 Tom Finney 248
8. 8 08 Dalton Hopkins 247
9. 11 24 Mike Williams 244
10. 1 02 Tyler Young 109
11. 2 56 Gus Dean 77
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