SES: Asheboro race story

Christian Captures Caraway All Pro Run ASHEBORO, NC - August 9, 1997 - First holding off the charges of Conyers, GA's Ron Young, then surviving a green-white-checkered flag finish, Sugar Hill, GA's Steven Christian earned his second NASCAR Slim...

Christian Captures Caraway All Pro Run ASHEBORO, NC - August 9, 1997 - First holding off the charges of Conyers, GA's Ron Young, then surviving a green-white-checkered flag finish, Sugar Hill, GA's Steven Christian earned his second NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series win of 1997 as he captured the Arndt & Herman Windows 200 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC on Saturday night. The BellSouth Chevrolet driver pocketed $8,775 of the $42,150 race purse. "I had my hands full during the last 25 laps, first with Ron (Young) working me hard, then, after Ron and Hank (Parker, Jr.) got together, I had to hold off Hank and Mike (Harmon) on the final restart," an elated Christian quipped in victory lane. "I want to compliment those guys, they all raced me clean, and that just goes to show how professional and competitive the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series is," he added. "Sammy (Shumate) and the crew gave me a great race car and our engine from Clements Racing Engines was stout. All in all it was a great night," the 27-year-old said in closing. For the second week in a row, Raleigh, NC's Derrick Gilchrist captured the Busch Pole Award, and established a new track record in the process. Gilchrist toured the 0.455 mile oval in a time of 16.810 seconds at a speed of 97.442 to earn the right to start his Fairfield Inns Chevrolet from the pole position, and erased the previous track record which was held by Greenville, SC's Toby Porter. Porter's previous mark was 16.930 seconds equaling 96.751 mph. It was Gilchrist's third Busch Pole of the season and the sophomore driver now leads the annual chase for the most Busch Poles. Gilchrist leads Christian and Hank Parker, Jr., who each have two pole positions this season.

Gilchrist grabbed the top spot in turn two at the start of the race, with Christian falling in directly behind the leader. From the outset Christian doggedly pursued Gilchrist and on lap 11 he dove low entering turn three and took over the top spot. After Christian wrestled the top spot away from Gilchrist he was able to set a comfortable pace but behind him the battle waged with various combatants all fighting for the balance of the top five positions. Gilchrist, holding down the second spot had to fend off Harmon, Scott Sutherland and Nipper Alsup early on. Series points leader Jeff Fultz, Parker, Young, Hal Goodson and Larry Raines also ventured into the top five at various times during an extremely competitive race. On lap 71 Harmon looked inside of Gilchrist for the runner-up position, then settled back into third, but was displaced for that spot on lap 75 by a hard charging Young. At the race's halfway point Christian, Gilchrist, Young, Harmon and Goodson held the top five positions, with 14 of the original 30 starters still on the lead lap. During the second half of the event little changed. Christian maintained a steady pace, a heated battle waged behind him, and many of the drivers began to assert themselves to secure a strong finish. Young and Harmon slipped by a fading Gilchrist shortly after the 150 lap mark with Parker cracking the top five on lap 160 after getting by Raines for that position. Just three laps later Parker dropped Gilchrist to fourth and on the 170th circuit Raines re-entered the top five, dropping Gilchrist to sixth. At the 180 lap mark Christian, Young and Parker were nose-to-tail and Harmon joined the fracas two laps later. On lap 192 Young and Parker made contact causing Young to spin and Harmon passed Parker for the runner-up spot. Young's spin brought out the race's final caution and set up the final dash to the checkered flag. Christian executed a perfect restart on lap 204, with Harmon and and Parker in hot pursuit. As the trio exited turn four, Christian streaked to a 0.06 second victory with Parker nosing out Harmon with a great side-by-side finish for the runner-up position. Young regrouped to finish fourth while Raines notched his first top five finish of the season. Finishing sixth through 10th were points leader Fultz, Robert Powell, Wayne Anderson, David Reutimann and Goodson. Fultz continues to lead the series point standings with Goodson holding down the second position and Young now only seven points behind Goodson. Reutimann and Harmon continue to maintain their respective fourth and fifth place positions while Christian jumps from eighth to sixth on the strength of his win. Seventh through 10th positions are occupied by Alsup, Parker, Gilchrist and Anderson. With his ninth place finish Reutimann earned the $400 Port City Racing Rookie of the Race Award for the sixth time this year, and continues to lead the season long points chase in this category. Easley, SC's Randy Gentry earned Rookie of the Race Runner-Up honors after finishing 11th. After managing his team's effort to place a solid racing machine under Christian, Sammy Shumate picked up the $300 check from Jasper Engines and Transmissions as the Crew Chief of the Race for the second time this year. As a result of Young's fourth place finish crew chief Larry Rapp maintained the lead in the season long crew chief points chase. Shumate now trails Rapp by four points, the equivalent of two top five finishing positions. The next event for the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series will take place at Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, GA. The Kroger 200 presented by Old El Paso is scheduled for Saturday night, August 30, and represents the 15th of 20 races on the 1997 schedule. -30- For further information contact NASCAR Public Relations at (770) 486-3591. jn

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Drivers David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Ron Young , Wayne Anderson