Daytona Beach, Fla. - August 8, 2000 - One thing is certain as the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring heads to Greenville-Pickens Speedway this Saturday night. The certainty is that nothing is certain in any of the points races as teams ...
Daytona Beach, Fla. - August 8, 2000 - One thing is certain as the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring heads to Greenville-Pickens Speedway this Saturday night. The certainty is that nothing is certain in any of the points races as teams prepare for the tricky 0.500-mile oval in Greenville, S.C. When the checkered flag waves on Saturday night's running of the $48,350 Cintas 200, some of the uncertainty may disappear, or the points races could grow even tighter. In the overall points chase for the coveted Slim Jim All Pro Series Championship Cincinnati, Oh. native Jeff Fultz holds down the top spot. But his lead over his closest pursuer, Naples, Fla.'s Billy Bigley, Jr., is a tenuous 24 points. Just behind Bigley is another Floridian, David Reutimann. Zephyrhills, Fla.'s Reutimann trails Bigley by 26 points. Arden, N.C.'s Lee Tissot, coming off of a second place finish at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway on July 29, trails Reutimann by 32 points and Mooresville, N.C.'s Brian Smith has returned to the top five, closing to within 34 points of Tissot.
Rounding out the top 10 are A.J. Frank, Benny Gordon, Gary Terry, Ken Weaver and rookie Casey Yunick. These five drivers are separated by a mere 69 points. Thus looms the potential for significant changes in the standings, not only after Saturday night's race, but from now through the end of the 2000 season.
In the battle for the $3,500 that goes to the driver who earns the most Gatorade Front Runner Award points, Bigley holds an eight point lead over Wildwood, Fla.'s Wayne Anderson. But Anderson has been surging of late, appearing to have regained his form that propelled him to the 1999 Slim Jim All Pro Series championship, and could very well catch Bigley in a hurry. Smith is just one point behind Anderson and has shown significant improvement in his sophomore season. These three drivers will likely battle down to the wire for this award.
After 10 races, eight different drivers have earned Bud Pole awards. Leading this category in the pursuit of earning the most Bud Poles in 2000, and the $3,500 that goes with the honor, are Smith and Anderson. Each driver has earned two poles, while Scott Hansen, Frank, Bigley, Gordon, Terry and Fultz have each earned one. With such balance after 10 races, this category's honors will likely not be determined until the final Bud Pole qualifying session of 2000 takes place at Nashville Speedway, U.S.A. on November 3.
By virtue of his driver bolting to four wins so far this year, Bigley's crew chief Adam Heckelman is the current leader in the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge. Should Heckelman hold onto his lead he will earn $2,500 at the season-ending awards banquet, scheduled for November 18 at the Atlanta Airport Hilton in Atlanta, Ga. Taking up the chase though is Fultz's crew chief Jon Craig. Davidson, N.C.'s Craig trails Heckelman by just eight points while Smith's crew chief Gary Crooks and Tissot's head wrench Jim Brinkley, Jr. are both just two points behind Craig. Yet another battle that will likely go down to the wire.
The Moroso Performance Products Rookie-of-the-Year sweepstakes has turned into a three driver battle between Holly Hills, Fla.'s Casey Yunick, Monroe, N.C.'s Greg Pope and Pendergrass, Ga.'s Ryan Crane. Yunick currently holds an eight point lead over Pope, while Crane trails Pope by just two points. The top rookie in this category will earn $1,000 at the end of the year.
With all that said, and with a good run at Greenville this Saturday night, many drivers can strengthen their current position, enhance a lagging position, or perhaps fall further behind as the season heads into the homestretch. No matter what happens, just as has occurred in all 19 previous series races held at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, the racing action will be fast and furious, and the winner won't be decided until the checkered flag waves. When the season is over, perhaps some will look back on Saturday night's race as the race that turned their season around, for better or for worse.
Bud Pole Qualifying gets underway at 6:00 p.m. The green flag will wave on the Cintas 200 racing program at 8:00 p.m.