It may not have played out the way that Paul White had diagrammed for his Pro Challenge National Points event at Auburndale Speedway Saturday night, but he will certainly take the winner’s laurels from the 35-lap feature in the Sunshine Region regardless. White battled with Jarrett Snowden throughout the feature event, but eventually fell a few feet short at the checkered flag. However, because Snowden was not a registered PASCAR driver, White was declared the victor. White now sits on top of the Sunshine Region and National Points standings.
“That’s what it’s all about – winning,” said White. “The results are what they are, but I think I had the car to win on the track. The technical deal got me the win and that feels awesome.”
While White’s win came after the fall of the checkered flag, the veteran racer and his #25 Xcel Construction/All Phase Construction machine were right up front throughout the event at the tricky Auburndale Speedway.
“It’s a real tight track,” added White. “It’s one groove, so you really have to protect the bottom. That was the first time I had ever been there. I started fourth, but by lap two I was running second. Jarrett had about a half-straightaway lead, but I was able to run him down and we ran bumper-to-bumper. I thought I had the car to win, but the caution came out around lap eight or nine, which bunched the field back up. Personally I thought that was bad for me and it worked out in Jarrett’s favor. The longer the run, the better our car got and the more he started to push.
“When we went back to green; we were pulling away from third and fourth. I was better than him in one and two, but he was better in three and four. I caught back up to his bumper again and was getting ready to pass him, but I wasn’t quite able to make the pass before another caution came out with just a few laps ago. That was bad because we were battling pretty hard.”
The final caution set the stage for a two-lap duel for the victory.
“On the green-white-checkered restart, he got about a two-carlength lead on me, but I caught back up to him on the white flag lap. But, the caution flag again really sealed the deal for him.”
With a National Points win under his belt and the Pro Challenge Sunshine Region points lead to his credit, White is pumped up for a run at two big series titles for the remainder of 2009.
“It’s definitely on the radar screen (to win the championships). That was our fifth race in Florida, so we were able to leave on top of the points over Jarrett. Now I’m first in the National standings too. Obviously everybody wants to start out well in the first race and we were lucky enough to do that.”
Four events in each of the four Pro Challenge regional series will lead up to one double-points event at the conclusion of the season to declare the 2009 Pro Challenge National Champoin. The driver with the highest cumulative points in their four designated national events in their regions and the fifth double-point event will be declared the champion.
The date and location of the final double-points event, which will determine the 2009 Pro Challenge National Champion, will be announced at a later date.