NORTH EAST, Pa. (July 25) — When two-time ASA world champion Gary St. Amant made the switch to the USAR Hooter’s Pro Cup Series, his first win on the new circuit came at Lake Erie Speedway. If the seasoned veteran can repeat that feat at this Saturday’s 250 — or even finish near the top of the ladder at lake Erie Speedway — he’ll all but clinch the Northern Division title for the first time.

“I want to go out there and win it, not just race for points,” said St. Amant, a 23-time winner on the ASA tour. “But there’s a part of me that says I need to be sensible, at least for the first 200 laps or so, and not get into any trouble. If I can do that, and feel confident that I can finish in the top 10 or top five, I’ll probably allow myself to have some fun for those last 50 laps.”

Driving his No. 7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a win, two third-place finishes, and a fifth-place result (plus a 10th and 12th place ending) in the first six races of the season has St. Amant comfortably in the Northern Division lead. He currently has a 91-point advantage over rookie Brandon Ward, who in turn is nine points ahead of three-time Northern Division champ Benny Gordon.

“I don’t know exactly how many points ahead I need to be after this race,” St. Amant said from his Delaware, Ohio, race shop, “but there’s only one more Northern Division race after this weekend before we join up with the Southern Division guys and race for the USAR Championship. I think if I’m still up by 90 points or so, it’ll be impossible for anyone to pass us.

“It’s important for this team. First of all, it will be a great accomplishment to say we won the North. Secondly, it’s worth a 25-point bonus going into the championship series. Every point is so hard to come by so to earn that bonus would be huge.”

Gates open at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, with qualifying slated for 5 p.m. The traditional autograph session takes place at 6:15 p.m., which will lead into prerace ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. The green flag drops at 7:30 p.m.

“If you want to know how serious we are about this weekend then consider the fact we used our off-weekend to test like crazy at Lorain Speedway up near Amherst, Ohio,” St. Amant said. “Obviously, coming off our recent win, the Chevy is running great already. But there is always room for improvement and I think we found some things that will make us even quicker and more consistent.

“The Northern Division title is the first thing on our to-do list but we’re prepping for the championship series also. We want to win it all this year and I think we have the team, the car, and the sponsors to get it done.”

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