SHENANDOAH, Va. (May 9) — Two-time world champion Gary St. Amant drove the wheels off his No. 7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Thursday at Shenandoah Speedway, coming from a 29th-place provisional start to finish a lofty third at the Farmer’s Foods 250. The extraordinary effort earned him the “Hard Charger” award and lifted him into a tie with Clay Rogers for the Northern Division points lead.

“We had a bad day that ended up pretty, darn good,” St. Amant said from his Powell, Ohio, home. “We had a big problem with the shifter in the car just before qualifying and by the time we got it fixed and got out there I was only able to run one lap. I had to use a provisional just to make the field.

“Considering that kind of start, for us to leave town with a third-place finish and a tie for the points lead just tickles me to no end. I feel very lucky, and I’m extremely proud of this race team.”

St. Amant has run the first two races of this year’s USAR (United Speed Alliance Racing) Hooters Pro Cup Series in last year’s car, something he had worried might keep him down. Instead, he’s running well, as his points standing indicates, and he should only get better when he unveils a new Laughlin chassis May 26 at the Sears Auto Center 200 presented by BFGoodrich Tires at Madision International Speedway in Madison, Wis.

“This is the first time in a long time that I feel like we have the equipment we need to win the championship,” said St. Amant, who won world titles on the American Speed Association circuit in 1998 and 2000. “Plus, I have a great team and some of the best sponsors in auto racing with and Speedco Truck Lube.

“It’s getting exciting around here.”

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