| Rookie Robbins Tames Field in 4 Brothers 250
Sixteen-year-old driver joins distinct company
Hickory, N.C.—Not too many people in racing don't know who Brian Vickers and Joey Logano are these days. In the near future, Trevor Bayne, a DEI development driver, could join them in racing stardom.
But on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway, Hunter Robbins joined the trio in the Hooters Pro Cup record books by becoming just the fourth driver to win in a race before their 17 th birthday.
Robbins, a 16-year-old rookie, swept past Wade Day with 47 laps remaining in the 4 Brothers 250 presented by Galaxy Food Centers and checked out by 3.650 seconds to win his first Hooters Pro Cup event in just his seventh start.
“This car was so awesome tonight,” said Robbins, driver of the No. 6s Goodson Consulting Ford. “I could put it anywhere it needed to be. We had motor problems on Thursday in testing, so we took it over to Charlie Long's shop and worked on it until late Friday night. My crew hasn't been to sleep much in the last couple of days, but I couldn't have done it without them, my car owner, Tracy Goodson, the Longs, or the help Benny Gordon gave us with setups.”
He also couldn't have won without a little luck on pit strategy.
Robbins gambled on a short-pit strategy, finishing his mandatory stops by taking two left-side tires and fuel before lap 25. The decision looked to be a good one when he cycled into the lead on Lap 78. But just after the halfway mark, Clay Rogers, driver of the No. 54s C&C Boiler Chevrolet, blasted past on fresh rubber.
“I was worried when they caught us for the lead; we hadn't planned on coming back in,” said Robbins. “But we were able to pass pretty easy when we pitted earlier in the race, so we decided to come back in and basically have new tires for the final 100 laps. It really made a difference.”
Wade Day, driver of the No. 96s Lopez Wealth Management Ford, took the lead Rogers on Lap 157, but Robbins was nearly two tenths of a second quicker on fresh tires and claimed the top spot for good on Lap 202.
While Day was also searching for his first win, he wasn't too disappointed with finishing second.
“Of course you want to win, but we finally finished where we should have tonight,” said Day, whose second-place finish was his first top-five run Hooters Pro Cup competition. “To not have a top-five finish before tonight was embarrassing, because we've been a lot better than that. With the luck we've had, I'll settle for second.”
Billy Bigley Jr., driver of the No. 82s Peerless Woodworking Ford, tried to take second from Day in the final laps, but he had to settle for third place, which was his career-best finish.
“We made good pit decisions tonight, good chassis decisions and had good calls by my dad spotting tonight,” said Bigley. “And the driver actually did a pretty good job of being smart tonight. He didn't screw up. If you put all that together, you get a third-place run.”
Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 29s Chevy Racing Chevrolet, wasn't able to back up his win from a year ago, but he did pick up his fifth top-five of the season by coming home fourth.
James Buescher, driver of the No. 84s Mercedes Homes Chevrolet, completed the top five.
Point leader Mark McFarland had an off night, finishing 12 th , but Michael Ritch only gained a few points with his ninth-place effort.