Garvey Dominates Rick Hendrick 250 Odessa, MO, May 23, 1997 - Leading all but two laps, including surviving a late race charge from Jeff Fultz, Suwanee, GA's Mike Garvey picked up a dominating win in the $55,920 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Rick Hendrick 250 on Friday night at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, MO. The win was Garvey's first of 1997 and ninth of his career and moved him into sole possession of fourth place on the series' career win list, breaking a tie formerly held with Toby Porter. "This car was absolutely perfect tonite," Garvey exclaimed in victory lane, adding further, "Jeff (Fultz) gave us quite a scare when he passed me on the outside but, once again, because the car was so good, we were able to get back by and earn the win. I want to thank Metro Milwaukee Auto Auction for sponsoring our effort tonite as well as the All Star Racing Team for bringing me on board a few weeks ago, it's been a great ride so far!" Garvey led the field to the green flag for the start of the 250 lap event by virtue of winning the Busch Pole Award with a time of 16.556 seconds equating to 118.072 mph on the 0.543 mile high banked oval. Garvey earned his seventh career Busch Pole by besting 34 other drivers during the afternoon qualifying session. Shortly after the 32 car field took the green flag, just as the field made its way into turn four to complete the first lap, Bobby Hamilton, Jr. slid up out of the groove, while Sean Studer spun on the low side of the track. Their actions resulted in a pileup as cars dodged to miss Studer's spinning Chevrolet. Collected in the incident were Steven Christian, Derrick Gilchrist, Ken Alexander, Joe Walsh, Sean Monroe and Jeff Klem. Christian's badly damaged BellSouth Chevrolet was the only car unable to continue. Gilchrist, Alexander and Walsh returned after many laps of repairs while
Monroe's and Klem's damages were superficial. Action settled down after the restart and Garvey exerted his power early by moving out to a sizable lead. By lap 92 there were only eight cars left on the lead lap as Garvey maintained the top spot and was able to put cars one or more laps down either through lapping on the race track or through attrition. Maintaining their lead lap status at that point were Fultz, Klem, Mike Harmon, Chad Nolting, Nipper Alsup, points leader Hal Goodson and leading Port City Racing Rookie candidate David Reutimann. While Garvey had his Pontiac on auto pilot, the remainder of the lead lap cars swapped positions throughout the balance of the event. These drivers managed to swap positions on various occasions with only Alsup and Nolting unable to maintain their lead lap status until the end of the 250 lap grind. An incident in turn one that sent Larry Raines and Josh Clemons into the grass on the low side of turn one on lap 161 proved to be the opportunity that Garvey needed . Garvey and the rest of the lead lap cars pitted for gas and tires during the resultant caution period, with Garvey getting out first and holding on to the top spot. When green flag racing resumed on lap 166 Garvey was followed by Goodson, Harmon, Klem and Fultz. Fultz began to make his charge through the lead lap cars when he swept by Klem on the high side on lap 172 then wedged himself into a battle with Goodson and Harmon at the 200 lap mark. Harmon squeezed by Goodson on lap 214 with Fultz following suit one lap later. With 25 laps to go Fultz got by Harmon and then set his sights on leader Garvey. He was able to get a close up look at Garvey's rear bumper, as a result of the caution being displayed on lap 227 that came about as a result of a spin by Raleigh, NC's Steve Mendenhall. When the green flag was again displayed, Fultz blasted by Garvey, overtaking him with an outside pass in turns three and four on lap 235. Garvey's mount was simply too strong as he only gave up the lead for that one lap then got back by Fultz to cruise on to the victory. Fultz settled for second ahead of Harmon, Reutimann And Goodson. Klem was the final car on the lead lap in sixth, with Raines, Hamilton, Jr., Steven Howard and Nolting rounding out the top 10. After the completion of the Rick Hendrick 250, points leader Goodson holds on to the top spot by seven points over Fultz, who is only six ahead of Harmon. Continuing in fourth is Alsup while Reutimann jumps two spots into the fifth position. Reutimann grew his lead in the Port City Racing Rookie competition to nine points over Mendenhall, who is six ahead of the ever-improving Hamilton, Jr. After earning his first career top five finish, Reutimann earned his third Rookie of the Race honors in 1997. Rookie of the Race runner-up laurels went to Hamilton, Jr. after he battled back to an eighth place finish. After directing his team's dominant effort to victory lane, Garvey's Crew Chief Jeff Vandermoss earned $300 from Jasper Engines and Transmissions as well as the distinction of Crew Chief of the Race. Jimmy King, who heads up Fultz's effort, moved into the lead in the Crew Chief Challenge points standings with a narrow two point lead over Larry Rapp and Daryle Bush, who manage the efforts of Ron Young and Harmon, respectively. The next race for the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series drivers is the 7 Up/Slim Jim All Pro 250 at Myrtle Beach Speedway on Saturday night, June 14.
For further information contact NASCAR Public Relations at (770) 486-3591. 5/25/97-jn