SES: Myrtle Beach preview

MYRTLE BEACH, S. C. - The Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring returns to Myrtle Beach Speedway on July 14, after an absence of two years, for the Myrtle Beach 320 at the huge .538-mile oval. Two drivers looking forward to returning to this ...

MYRTLE BEACH, S. C. - The Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring returns to Myrtle Beach Speedway on July 14, after an absence of two years, for the Myrtle Beach 320 at the huge .538-mile oval. Two drivers looking forward to returning to this speedway in 2001 are series regulars Kevin Prince of Wilmington, N. C. and Benny Gordon of Ladson, S. C.

"We have something to prove in this race," commented Prince. "We have not done well at this track in the past four events. In 1996 we completed 133 laps before leaving the race with ignition problems. In 1997 we did not even make the field and in 1998 we were so discouraged we didn't even run the series because of a lack of sponsorship. We came back in 1999 and only completed 23 of 250 laps after the engine let go in our racecar. We have not done well at this track and the only way to go is up."

Gordon, a regular with the series since 1999, like Prince, has not faired well here either. He failed to qualify for the 1997 event and in 1999 he finished last when the timing chain broke on his car at the start of the race.

Myrtle Beach Speedway has been one of the stalwarts on the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring schedule since 1991 hosting 14 events with the 1999 event cancelled because of inclement weather and not rescheduled.

Wayne Anderson, the 1999 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion, won here in 1997 with defending Gatorade All Pro Series Champion Billy Bigley Jr. picking up his second career win in the 1995 event at Myrtle Beach Speedway. These two former series champions are having an outstanding racing year but the driver leading the points and setting the pace in 2001, through the first seven events, is South Carolinian, Randy Gentry of Easley, S. C. Gentry, yet to visit victory lane in 71 career starts, has been a series competitor since the 1998 campaign. 2001 is definitely his finest racing season being the only driver to complete 100% of laps run. Additionally he has recorded three top five and six top ten runs through the first seven events. Right on Gentry's heals for the points lead is 1999 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion Wayne Anderson who trails Gentry by only two points after seven races. Anderson started the season strong with three wins in the first four events including one Bud Pole start. Except for two events he has finished in the top five, five times and is the leading series money winner in posted awards with over $44,000.

Another driver making a strong charge to the top of the points is Jeff Fultz after his first win of 2001 came at Kentucky Speedway on June 15. After seven races Fultz is fourth in points, four behind Billy Bigley Jr., who is competing full-time on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2001. Bigley has managed to dovetail this series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedules in maintaining his points standing.

Prior to the Myrtle Beach 320 on July 14, the NASCAR Cafe located on Hwy 17-A By-Pass in Myrtle Beach will host Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring drivers with an autograph session from 5:00 - 7:00 pm on Friday, July 13. Drivers will have the same car racing at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday available for race fans to look at during the autograph session. Immediately after the autograph session, race fans will be able to test their driving skills against some of NASCAR's finest short track stars at the NASCAR SpeedPark adjacent to the NASCAR Cafe.

On Saturday, July 14, practice will get underway at 1:00 pm for Gatorade All Pro Series drivers with qualifying starting at 6:00 pm. The Myrtle Beach 320 is set for 8:30 pm when thirty-two 550 horsepower cars take the green flag.

-Bill Desmond

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Billy Bigley , Wayne Anderson