SES: 2002 season preview

SOUTH BOSTON, VA. (Feb. 22 2002) - When drivers received their entry form for the first All Pro event of the 2002 racing season at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, a new name appeared on the entry form. Hills Bros. Coffee became the new series...

SOUTH BOSTON, VA. (Feb. 22 2002) - When drivers received their entry form for the first All Pro event of the 2002 racing season at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, a new name appeared on the entry form. Hills Bros. Coffee became the new series title sponsor for 2002, replacing Gatorade, with the series name now the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring.

Many of the top drivers in 2001 are expected to return for 2002 led by Randy Gentry, who finished second in the 2001 year end points standing, Jeff Fultz, who finished third, David Reutimann, who finished fourth and Eddie Mercer who rounded out the top five in 2001 series points. "We had such a great year last year, said Gentry from his home, that my whole team is pumped and ready for this year." "There were many people that came into our life last year and that friendship carried us through the year. We had a lot to be thankful for," continued Gentry.

"The accomplishments of my team in 2001 over 2000 were astounding so we have a good foundation to carry into this season," stated Gentry. One very noteable driver returning to the series in 2002 will be Billy Bigley, Jr. of Naples, Fla. Bigley was the 2000 All Pro Champion. He ventured into the NACSCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2001 but will return to late model racing for 2002. Bigley is sixth in career wins with the series and has more starts than any other driver in All Pro competition.

Joining Bigley at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway for this event will be current NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular, Rick Crawford.

Crawford, a native of Mobile, Al., and a former All Pro driver from the 80's and early 90's, made his last series start in 1997 while competing full-time with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He has 112 career starts with three Bud Poles and five career wins to his credit. Since 1991 he has recorded 35 top five and 61 top ten finishes with the series. Fultz definitely wants things to be different in 2002 on the All Pro Series. His racing year started on a high note when the Cincinnati, Oh. native made the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division event at Daytona for his first race at the huge 2.5-mile oval.

"What a thrill for me and the entire team," said Fultz. "We started dead last on the field and finished 29th but the experience we gained was so valuable. We know it will help us this year on the All Pro Series," said Fultz.

Over the past five years in the end of year points standing, with the series, Fultz has finished second twice, third, fifth and 23rd. "We have a great team and great sponsors in C & C Boilers/Cleaver Brooks led by crew chief Jon Craig. We know it takes consistency to be competitive on the series and just because you win races doesn't mean you can win the championship. But we definitely have our sights set on winning the championship in 2002.

"South Boston will be a good starting point for us," continued Fultz.

"Last year we dominated the 150-lap event by winning the Bud Pole and leading all laps. That win was our second win in 2001 so we might as well make it our first win in 2002."

Other drivers planning to return are Benny Gordon, Shane Sieg, Steven Howard, Kevin Prince, A. J. Frank, Allen Karnes and 1989 NASCAR All American Challenge Series Champion Stanley Smith as well as others from the 2001 roster along with top rookie contenders in 2001 Wane Bowen, Charlie Bradberry, Michael Britt, Jody Lavender, Roger Parker, and Chris Fontaine.

Bradberry definitely will be one tough competitor this year after finishing sixth in the 2001 points standing. He secured the series rookie title in 2001 by only three points over Lavender in one of the closes challenges in series history.

Action will get underway at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway on Friday, March 8 when the garage opens at 8:00 am with practice for the Hills Bros. Coffee All Pro Series from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm. Qualifying to set the 32 car starting field for Saturday's NASCAR All Pro 150 will be at 4:00 pm. The 150-lap event is schedule to fire off at approximately 3:30 pm on Saturday after two Late Model Limited 50-lap races and a 150-lap Late Model Stock race.

For more information on times and ticket prices contact Cathy Rice at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway . 434-572-4947.

The Hills Bros Coffee All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring is one of eight NASCAR Touring Series that blanket the United States, bringing special events to many NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks and some NASCAR superspeedways and road courses. NASCAR Touring Series can provide a competitor with an entire career, or they can provide valuable experience to competitors moving through the NASCAR ranks. Corporate sponsors make significant contributions to NASCAR Touring Series point funds. The sponsors include R. J. Reynolds, Anheuser-Busch, Featherlite Trailers, Goody's Headache Powders, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes and RE/MAX International, Incorporated.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Rick Crawford , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Jody Lavender , Shane Sieg , Charlie Bradberry , Eddie Mercer