Elizabethton's Day runs strong early

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
BRISTOL -- Cam Strader left Bristol Motor Speedway Wednesday night the winner of the Pabst Blue Ribbon 150 for the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series.
Elizabethton's Wade Day was left wondering what might have been.
Strader driving the No. 6 Food City Mercury passed former Bristol winner Robert Huffman on lap 113 and bolted out to a six car length lead, which he maintained to the end of the race.
"It shows the dedication of the people on this team," said Strader, who scored a second win in only three Dash Series starts this season. "Our race car was really hooked up.
"After we made a couple of adjustments it really was on fire. It's a dream of mine to win here."
Second place finisher Huffman all but wrapped up a fifth Dash Series title. All he has to do is start his Toyota at the season finale in Atlanta and the championship will be his.
"I don't know what happened," said Huffman. "I think the car vapor locked and Cam got around me. I don't know what would have happened if I got to him, but I know Bristol has been a good race track to me."
Day, driving the No. 52 Refrigeration Services/Food Country USA Toyota, qualified third for the event and ran second until his car stalled on the frontstretch on lap 34.
The car quit as a result of oil pressure dropping and shutting off the engine coming out of a caution. After losing eight laps in the garage area, Day kept running a fast pace until finally parking the car on lap 109.
"What happened is the motor has an oil pressure shutoff on it," explained Day. "We were going slow on the banking, the oil pressure dropped and the motor quit.
"I come back (in the pits) but by the time we figured it out, it was too late. We bypassed the switch, but at the end, the oil pressure was low again and it seized up the motor."
Day's qualification speed was faster than all five of the race's top finishers and he was confident if not for the problems, he could have stayed with the front runners.
"We were really good," said Day. "The car got a little loose at the end. I don't know if we could have won, but we would have definitely been amongst them. It was frustrating.
"I felt if I would have been up front I wouldn't have got the right rear so hot. We will get them next time I guess."
As bad as that was for Day, it was worse for pole sitter Justin Hobgood. The No. 65 Hobgood was driving hit the turn one wall on lap 106 and crushed the right rear quarter panel.
The same could be said for early leader Brandon Ward, who passed Hobgood on the 16th lap and held the number position over the next 70 circuits before being overtaken by Huffman. Ward ended up 21st after a lap 122 crash.
Top finishers in the race besides Strader and Huffman were Pontiac drivers Johnny Chapman and Scott Weaver in third and fourth. Keith Roggan rounded out the top five in a Chevrolet.
For Day, his hometown area event ended with a 24th place finish out of 32 cars after completing a total of 99 laps.