SES: Homestead race story

Parker, Goodson Big Winners at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. - November 8, 1997 - Denver, N.C.'s Hank Parker, Jr. powered to his second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series win of 1997 as he earned a $13,975 payday by winning the $89,900...

Parker, Goodson Big Winners at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. - November 8, 1997 - Denver, N.C.'s Hank Parker, Jr. powered to his second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series win of 1997 as he earned a $13,975 payday by winning the $89,900 Greased Lightning Cleaner 150 at Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on Saturday afternoon, November 8. Also at stake was the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series points championship and the outcome was not settled until the checkered flag waved. Hal Goodson, who hails from Darlington, S.C., earned the '97 title by just two points over Milford, Oh.'s Jeff Fultz, as the race played out before a live television audience on WTBS. Concord, N.C.'s Sean Studer, battling for the runner-up spot in the Port City Racing Rookie of the Year chase, surprised everyone including himself as he picked up his first career Busch Pole Award during Friday afternoon's qualifying session. Wheeling his Old El Paso Mexican Style Foods/Food Lion Chevrolet, Studer, along with the entire starting field, broke the track record on the reconfigured 1.5 mile superspeedway. He earned the opportunity to lead the 40 car field to the green flag with a lap of 37.572 seconds equaling a speed of 143.724 mph. Studer became the only rookie to win a pole in 1997, and the 14th different polesitter of the year as well. The 20-year-old got a good start to lead the first lap but outside front row starter Mike Garvey took over on the second circuit and paced the field until the first caution waved on lap 14, which occurred as a result of a spin by Kevin Prince. Prince was able to regroup and keep going but the field was bunched up for the lap 18 restart. Just five laps later Parker outmuscled Garvey for the top spot and it was apparent that his Delco Voyager Batteries/Duragloss/NGK Chevrolet was strong and would figure into the final outcome of the 150 mile event. Parker led from lap 23 to lap 71, giving up the top spot when he pitted for right side tires and fuel. Lake Wales, Fla.'s Mario Gosselin, who was having a solid run in his W.J. Plemons Insurance Chevrolet in his first ever run at Homestead, assumed the lead until he pitted during the event's second caution period. The slow go period came about as a result of a broken camshaft on Carl Long's mount, which precluded him from getting back to the pit area. Parker narrowly escaped going a lap down to Gosselin, being saved by the caution flag but several others who had pitted were not so fortunate. When green flag racing resumed on lap 83 Gosselin regained the lead over then leader Robert Burroughs but Parker retook command for good on lap 84. Green flag conditions continued until the third and final caution waved on lap 91, brought out as a result of debris on the track. Several drivers that were gambling on fuel mileage were forced to pit prior to the caution and ended up a lap down as the caution occurred. When the green flag waved on lap 96 a four lap dash ensued, with only Parker, Gosselin and Bobby Hamilton, Sr. being lead lap cars racing for the win. Parker was simply too strong and edged away to a 1.814 second win. Gosselin had a tire going down allowing Hamilton to move his Pontiac into the second position, with Gosselin settling for a third place finish as the last car on the lead lap. "We had that caution with five laps to go, my heart was in my throat, I didn't know what was going to happen. Mario got beside me in three and four and I thought oh no but once we got through three and four I knew I was ok," stated Parker after the event. "The new configuration is awesome, it's so smooth, and you can race others better now," the winner added. Scot Walters and Derrick Gilchrist rounded out the top five while Brian Sockwell, Larry Raines, Billy Bigley, Jr., Ron Young and Steven Christian filled out the top 10, all having completed 99 laps. Goodson and Fultz waged their own private midpack war for the points championship as each experienced difficulties during the event to finish 16th and 17th respectively. Goodson appeared to lose any shot at his second series championship when he cut down a left rear tire on lap eight. For the better part of the event he ran one lap down after a tire change, while Fultz was executing a consistent top 15 run. All that changed on lap 72 when Fultz entered the pits too quickly during a green flag pit stop on lap 72. The JaniKing Chevrolet driver was assessed a 15 second penalty, causing him to lose a lap to the leaders. With the caution waving just five laps later, the two points leaders were then on the same lap. Through the balance of the event Goodson scratched and clawed to close on Fultz, ultimately finishing one position behind him. This produced a two point victory margin for the driver of the Greased Lightning Cleaner/Black's Tire Chevrolet, and earned the Citadel graduate a second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Championship in three years. Ironically, when Goodson won the championship in 1995 he also cut down a tire during the last race and had to battle back in a similar fashion during that event. "In '95 we cut a tire down, lost two laps but had a bigger (points) lead then, I managed to hold on for the championship," Goodson stated. Goodson also noted, "At the first of the year we had a local car dealer, Burdette Chevrolet, helping me out some. Along about July Greased Lightning came along to help us out. I'm glad we stuck with it, it was a lot of fun all year, racin' with Jeff (Fultz) for the championship." Ron Young wound up third in the points standings while Parker and 1997 Port City Racing Rookie of the Year David Reutimann secured the fourth and fifth points positions. The sixth through 10th points positions went to Christian, Gilchrist, Mike Harmon, Nipper Alsup and Raines. Steve Mendenhall and Bobby Hamilton, Jr. earned the Port City Rookie of the Race and Race Runner-up honors after notching 11th and 12th place finishes respectively. Reutimann had already locked up the rookie title but the runner-up position was undecided until the checkered flag waved. Studer secured the runner-up spot over Steven Howard and Long. Ronnie Carrier earned his second Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge award of 1997 as he guided Parker's journey to victory lane. Young's Crew Chief Larry Rapp earned the season long championship over Goodson's head wrench Delbert Ray. A final celebration will take place on Friday evening, January 2, 1998, at the Atlanta Airport Hilton, the new site of the annual awards banquet. -30- For further information contact NASCAR Public Relations at (770) 486-3591. jn

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