Fultz wins ARCA RE/MAX thriller at Lowe's. CONCORD NC (5-18-02) - With a bold outside move, Jeff Fultz, in only his second ARCA RE/MAX Series start, passed series standout Frank Kimmel with less than ten laps remaining to win the thrilling ...
Fultz wins ARCA RE/MAX thriller at Lowe's.
CONCORD NC (5-18-02) - With a bold outside move, Jeff Fultz, in only his second ARCA RE/MAX Series start, passed series standout Frank Kimmel with less than ten laps remaining to win the thrilling EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Fultz, in Jim Craig's C&C Boiler Ford, swapped back and forth with Kimmel for nearly three laps before the Mooresville, North Carolina driver finally cleared the former leader for good five laps from the finish of the 67-lap race. Although Kimmel remained within striking distance, Fultz drove under the checkered flag just over a half-second ahead of Kimmel to earn his career-first RE/MAX Series win.
"I drove my heart out," said Fultz in victory lane. "I've seen Frank (Kimmel) race since I was a kid; and he drove about as clean a race as you could get. We were racing so close. I wasn't worried about him, but I was a little worried about me. This is only my second ARCA race. But I knew we could do this. We've had a good car since we unloaded. It's a Jasper car (#77 Winston Cup team). Penske gave us the motor." In addition to a part-time driving career, Fultz works as a full-time fabricator for the Jasper Engines #77 Winston Cup team.
The race, a prelude to NASCAR's All-Star event The Winston, served up its share of high-speed thrills and spills along the way featuring plenty of side-by-side racing as well as a frightening wreck off turn four involving drivers Tina Gordon, John Borneman, John Hayden and Robbie Cowart.
The accident occurred on lap 39 when Gordon and Hayden made contact in turns three and four. Both drivers spun resulting from the contact into the paths of oncoming traffic. While Cowart smashed into the side of Hayden, Borneman slammed into the side of Gordon.
Cowart and Hayden were treated and released from the infield care center; however, Gordon and Borneman were transported, conscious and alert, to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for further evaluation. Gordon was treated for a broken lower-left leg and broken right toe while Borneman was treated for a concussion. Gordon, listed in stable condition, was held overnight for further evaluation while Borneman was released late Saturday night.
The caution flag then waved for 19 laps to secure the accident area before the field was sent back to green flag racing for the final eight-lap shoot-out that brought the huge crowd to its feet while Fultz and Kimmel waged war inches apart.
"It's kind of disappointing when you lead that many laps and start on the pole and then lose it in the end," said Kimmel who finished second in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford. "He (Fultz) led the right lap at the right time and that's all there is to it."
Kimmel, who won the Old Milwaukee pole, his 23rd of his career, led the first 59 laps before he would give it up to Fultz who led the final eight.
While outside polesitter Chad Blount and front-runner Jason Jarrett pitted once during one of four caution periods, most of the other top-ten finishers, including Fultz and Kimmel, used the extended yellow flag laps to stretch their fuel mileage enough to go the entire 100-mile distance without pitting.
Damon Lusk, in the Dynatek-One Race America Chevrolet, charged from the 14th starting position to finish third earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors with local Charlotte driver Robby Benton finishing a career-best fourth in the MAC Tools Ford. Richard Mitchell, in the Coach USA-Mountaineer Gaming Pontiac, equaled his career-best finish in fifth.
Justin Labonte, the son of two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte, was in the hunt all afternoon racing in third position before his ignition failed as the pack came down for the final restart relegating the Trinity, North Carolina favorite to 32nd in the final running order.
Leading Rookie of the Year candidate Blount raced back to sixth with 18-year-old rookie Chase Montgomery, who started 36th, trailing in seventh at the finish. Jarrett wound up eighth with Robert Burroughs in ninth followed by Andy Belmont in tenth.
Kimmel, who picked up the Loctite Halfway Leader award, extended his point lead over Blount and Lusk who are tied for second ahead of Jarrett and Belmont in fourth and fifth respectively.
Next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the second annual BPU 200 at Kansas Speedway on June 1.
CURRENT TOP-10 POINTS after Lowe's:
1) Frank Kimmel 1555
2) Damon Lusk 1480
2) Chad Blount 1480
4) Jason Jarrett 1265
5) Andy Belmont 1185
6) Chase Montgomery 1175
6) Shelby Howard 1175
8) Mark Gibson 1135
9) Michael Vergers 1105
10) Mike Buckley 1080