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Thursday, January 29, 2015 @ 03:13 AM EST

USARacing Driver Spotlight: Jeff Agnew

By Erica Kron, USARacing Public Relations

Many people adhere to the famous statement — “You can’t go home again” — found in Thomas Wolfe’s novel “Look Homeward Angel”, but veteran USAR Pro Cup veteran Jeff Agnew hopes to prove the remark a mere fallacy when he returns home to Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., this weekend.

At age 43, the 1998 Pro Cup champion is struggling with one of the worst seasons in the luck department that he has experienced in a dozen years. In six starts, he has suffered three DNFs and produced only two top-10s. It’s been a frustrating season that he hopes will take a different direction when he returns to his home track where in 13 starts he’s posted three poles, seven top-5s and 10 top-10s.

“I like running that race track because I was there for seven or eight years in a Late Model; that makes it more comfortable going there,” said Agnew, who owns 14 career victories, 77 top-5s and 128 top-10s. “We’re looking forward to racing there, and getting to sleep in our own beds at night.

“We haven’t finished but two races this year and that is where we need to improve. We have had a decent car, but we just haven’t been able to finish the end of the race. The biggest thing is that we have been working hard to get things back up to date to try and make it where we can get to the end,”

For Agnew, this weekend’s Motor Mile Speedway visit is a return to his racing roots. At age 18, when his father owned a junkyard, Agnew decided to throw an old car together for a racing adventure at Franklin County.

“They called it a Family Division then,” Agnew recalled. “It was where you more or less got a car off the street, put a roll cage in it, and went racing. I thought racing was going to be pretty simple, but the longer I stay in it, the less simple it gets.”

This year has been anything but simple for Agnew, as he’s dealt with mechanical failures on his No. 73 Ford Fusion the last two races. Yet, he remains determined to turn around his season.

“I’ve really always been very competitive,” Agnew said. “Whether it was racing or some other kind of sport, whatever it is, I don’t like to lose.”

Having Doug Weddle as his crew chief also provides Agnew with added confidence since the two have worked on-and-off together since the Family Division at Franklin County.

“He’s kind of like myself — competitive, enjoys racing, and has been at it for a long time,” Agnew said about Weddle. “The majority of the guys on the team have been with me since I started. It’s a pretty neat family thing. We have been together a long time and it says a lot for the guys being patient. We have seen the good times and we have seen the bad times together.”

With the arrival of the season’s mid-point, Agnew hopes the July 18 trip to Radford, Va., for the Heritage Trucks 250 presented by Collision Plus Paint and Body/94.9 Star Country signals the end of his team’s problems. Saturday’s race is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.