Veterans Battle in NSJAPS Owens Corning 250 Salem, IN - May 18, 1997 - Conyers, GA's Ron Young held off the furious charges of Birmingport, AL's Mike Harmon and Darlington, SC's Hal Goodson to win the $54,450 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Owens Corning 250 at Salem Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Driving his Wegner Automotive Research Chevrolet, Young pocketed $9,975 for his fifth career win and first of 1997. "This is a tough track and I had a mirror full of tough customers," an exhausted Young stated in victory lane, "we didn't enter the top 5 until around lap 150, and I had to keep the car under me, I had to respect the track, but I also had to hold off Mike (Harmon), Hal (Goodson) and Jeff (Fultz)," he added. "I'm really happy for the team, we needed this win. As you can see the quarter panels are bare, maybe this win will help us get some sponsorship," he said in closing. For the second time this season, Denver, NC's Hank Parker, Jr. led the field to the green flag by virtue of earning his second Busch Pole award of the season. Parker bested 35 other drivers with a time of 19.163 seconds at 116.413 mph to earn the top starting position in the 30 car field. Parker led the first 26 circuits until BellSouth Chevrolet driver Steven Christian wrestled the top spot away on a restart after the race's first caution, brought out by an accident between Spanks Overbeck and Ken Alexander. Christian, who earned his first series win in this event last year, stayed out front until lap 60 when Milford, OH's Jeff Fultz took command in his King Motorsports Chevrolet. Fultz maintained the lead until the race's halfway mark when Raleigh, NC's Derrick Gilchrist powered his Fairfield Inns Chevrolet into the lead. Gilchrist maintained the top spot until lap 146 when Port City Racing Rookie candidate Bobby Hamilton, Jr. took the lead for the first time in 1997. While Hamilton
paced the field Goodson was able to make up a lap that he lost when he changed tires during a green flag pit stop. Hamilton held the lead until lap 185 when Young, who came back from being a lap down as a result of a turn two spin, took the lead for the first time since the season opening event at Homestead, FL. Young maintained the top spot until the checkered flag waved on lap 250 but he had his hands full with Fultz all over his back bumper, who looked low several times, but was unable to make the pass as Young held the preferred line on the race track. From lap 219 until Fultz and Goodson got together on lap 234, the leading trio raced nose to tail, with both Fultz and Goodson looking for any way to get by Young. Goodson dove low on lap 234 and made contact with Fultz, sending both drivers into lazy spins between turns three and four. Both were able to continue and maintained their lead lap status for the event's final restart. Young held off the final challenges of Harmon, who wound up second, while Goodson and Fultz recovered to finish third and fourth. Rounding out the top five was Conrad Burr. Completing the top 10 were Keith White and Hamilton, who both earned their best finishes of the season and were the final cars on the lead lap, as well as area drivers Keith Gardner and Joe Williamson who picked up the eighth and ninth spots respectively. Dan Matthews finished 10th. After the completion of the Owens Corning 250, points leader Nipper Alsup surrendered his tenuous 10 point lead to Goodson, who has maintained a perfect 100 percent laps completed percentage after five events. Goodson now leads Fultz by 22 points and Harmon is one point behind Fultz in the third spot. Alsup dropped to fourth in points, now 28 behind Goodson while Young, by virtue of a second place finish last week and a win here today, has moved into the fifth spot. David Reutimann continues to lead the Port City Racing Rookie competition, with Steve Mendenhall trailing by five points. Hamilton earned the Rookie of the Race honors as a result of his seventh place finish and is now tied for fourth in the rookie standings with the Rookie of the Race runner-up Steven Howard. After directing his team's effort to victory lane, Young's Crew Chief Larry Rapp has emerged from this event with a six point lead in the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge points. Rapp has a six point lead over Jimmy King and Daryle Bush, who lead similar efforts for Fultz and Harmon respectively. The next race for the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series drivers is the Rick Hendrick 250 at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, MO on Friday night, May 23.
For further information contact NASCAR Public Relations at (770) 486-3591. 5/19/97-jn