SES: 1998 season preview

Goodson Set to Defend 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Championship Peachtree City, GA - In 1997 Hal Goodson managed to earn his second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series championship, running the 20-race campaign out of his own shop with only one...

Goodson Set to Defend 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Championship Peachtree City, GA - In 1997 Hal Goodson managed to earn his second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series championship, running the 20-race campaign out of his own shop with only one car, one engine, and the help of a volunteer crew. For the 1998 season he will start the season in a markedly different fashion. Goodson will be a hired gun in 1998 and will drive a Fain Enterprises owned Chevrolet Monte Carlo with sponsorship from telecommunications giant Nortel/Northern Telecom. In addition Goodson's car will also carry the number 50, to commemorate NASCAR's 50th Anniversary.

"I'm really looking forward to returning to the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series in 1998, and I'm going to give it my best shot to earn a third championship," the Darlington, S.C. native stated. "I'm honored to be able to represent Nortel/Northern Telecom this coming year and I'm very excited that the car will carry the number 50. NASCAR's 50th Anniversary is a huge event and I'm happy to be a part of the celebration," he added further.

On Sunday evening, February 8, the 1998 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series season opener gets the green flag at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. Most notable is the fact that this race will be run on the newly paved 0.375 mile oval. Over the off-season the 0.500 mile asphalt oval was converted to a dirt track while the former 0.375 mile dirt oval now sports an asphalt racing surface. And although series drivers have raced at Volusia numerous times, this will actually be the first time that they will compete on the 0.375 mile paved configuration.

Overflow fields were the norm rather than the exception in 1997, and as the teams prepare for NASCAR's 50th Anniversary year a trend appears to be emerging as large car counts are once again expected. Anchored by series veterans, as well as a strong group of second and third year drivers, then adding in another strong rookie class, just making the starting field for a NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series event will once again be a challenge.

Drivers expected to challenge Goodson for the championship include third year drivers Steven Christian, Derrick Gilchrist and Nipper Alsup. This talented trio accounted for five wins and seven Busch poles in 1997. Another young gun that will be expected to contend for the point title is Conyers, Ga.'s Ron Young. The 27-year-old has more career series starts that any other driver and posted a career best third place points finish in 1997. Young's team is led by 1997 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge winner Larry Rapp.

The rookie class of 1997 will undoubtedly make more noise in 1998, led by Port City Racing Rookie of the Year David Reutimann. Reutimann posted a fifth place points finish last season and will be knocking loud and hard on the door to victory lane this year. Buoyed by the knowledge he obtained last year, return trips to the various tracks on the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series schedule should produce more fruitful results for the Zephyrhills, Fla. resident. Concord, N.C.'s Sean Studer had a strong finish to his first year on the tour and should also produce improved performances with his continued support from Old El Paso Mexican Style Foods. Steven Howard, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., Kevin Horton, Steve Mendenhall and Billy Deckman are all expected to return and build on their 1997 first year efforts.

Yet another bumper crop of rookies is expected to contend for Rookie of the Year honors. Simpsonville, S.C.'s David Moyer has secured funding from Austin Cracker Sandwiches and appears to be the most well-heeled of the first year drivers. Moyer will face stiff competition from Brian Sockwell, a NASCAR Goody's Dash Series graduate who will pilot the C&C Boilers/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet. Scott Bramlett, Ricky Turner, David Jude, Tony Ponkauskus, Nevin Jenkins, Jeff Dawkins, John Hayden and Carl Hedin, Jr. are just some of the additional drivers that are expected to contest for rookie of the year honors. -30-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , David Reutimann , Ron Young , John Hayden , Brian Sockwell