Jeff Fultz Honored at 2004 Southeast Series Awards Banquet on Saturday Night in Charlotte CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2004) - Unlike most Saturday nights, this was an evening where Jeff Fultz didn't have to worry about a single thing. Fultz was...
Jeff Fultz Honored at 2004 Southeast Series Awards Banquet on Saturday Night in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2004) - Unlike most Saturday nights, this was an evening where Jeff Fultz didn't have to worry about a single thing. Fultz was honored Saturday night at the University Hilton in Charlotte as the 2004 NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series champion.
To say that Fultz had a tremendous year would be an understatement as he picked up five victories in 12 races en route to score his second Southeast Series title in the last three years. Fultz also won three poles this season to win the 2004 Bud Pole award.
When Fultz scored his fifth victory of the 2004 Southeast Series season in August at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway, it was his 22nd career win which allowed him to pass Wayne Anderson on the all-time Southeast Series win list. Over the course of his nine full seasons in the Southeast Series, Fultz has won more than half a million dollars in earnings.
For his efforts this year, Fultz and his No. 54 C&C Boilers Chevrolet race team out of the jcr3 stables was the center of attention as he accepted his 2004 Southeast Series championship trophy and title ring.
"There are really no words to describe this and how I feel right now because it's pretty emotional," Fultz said after getting a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance. "I've got the best team behind me and they make my job as a driver look easy. I know I probably drive them crazy. I owe a lot of thanks to NASCAR and all the folks with AutoZone. I've learned a lot in this series and nothing compares to this experience tonight.
"I really want to thank each and every guy on this team who put in a lot of time on this race team that they could be spending with their families and friends to make this happen. I've got to congratulate J.R. Norris because with him coming in as a rookie this season, I thought he'd tear up a lot of stuff but he proved me wrong. The rookies in this series have a bright future ahead of them."
In order to clinch the title, Fultz had his hands full with second- and third-place drivers J.R. Norris and Erik Darnell. With two races remaining, Fultz headed to Kentucky Speedway only needing to finish 16th or better and the title would have been his. However in the closing laps while running in the top-five, Fultz ran over a piece of debris and was sent to the garage area prematurely. That set the stage for the season-finale at Music City Motorplex in Nashville where he had what he described "as the worst car I've ever driven" but still won the title by a mere 21 points over Norris.
The 2004 Southeast Series was a breakout season for Norris who won his first pole position in the very first race of the season at the Music City Motorplex in April. Norris would also go onto win his very first Southeast Series race in the fifth event of the season at Nashville Superspeedway and applied pressure to Fultz until the last lap of the 2004 season though he came up just short of winning both the Auto Meter Rookie-of-the-Year award as well as the Southeast Series title in his first year on the tour.
"It's been a really great year with a lot of ups and downs," Norris said. "I'd like to thank Ritchie Wauters for putting me in the best equipment all year. Thanks to all the crew who came to each race. We really did not have a set crew all year. I also want to thank Victor Ford for sponsoring us this year. The last but most important I want to thank is my dad (Evans) for putting me in the right situation. I couldn't have done it without all the people that have stood behind me all year."
Darnell was not in attendance at Saturday night's Southeast Series awards banquet because he was racing in a Midwest Series race at LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
There were many other various award winners on Saturday night at the Southeast Series banquet for their efforts throughout the course of the 2004 campaign.
Kevin Prince was the recipient of both the Most Popular Driver and Featherlite Most Improved Driver Awards. The winner of the POWERade Move of the Race award went to Johnny Brazier while Allen Karnes picked up the Driver Improvement award. Dusty Williams was presented with the 2004 Sportsmanship Award while the Southeast Series Dedication award to Roy Earley.