Blaney crew member wins NASCAR All-Pro Championship. Jeff Fultz, a full-time member of the ...
Blaney crew member wins NASCAR All-Pro Championship.
Jeff Fultz, a full-time member of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford Team with driver DAVE BLANEY, won the NASCAR All-Pro Series championship in the rain-delayed season-finale in Memphis Sunday, starting second and leading all 125 laps of the race.
Fultz, who entered the race five points behind David Reutimann, was assured the title when the leader suffered engine failure on Lap 44. In his quest for the 2002 NASCAR All-Pro title, Fultz enjoyed a 101-point lead two weeks ago before finishing 13th and 11th, respectively, in races at Greenville-Pickens, S.C. and Kenley, N.C., while new leader Reutimann won both events and moved ahead of Fultz--who had finished in the top-five in the All-Pro points in each of the past three seasons including second in 2000--with his slight advatnage entering the season-finale at Memphis Motorsports Park.
A Cincinnati, OH. native, Fultz, a fabricator and wind-tunnel specialist, brought 179 overall career wins and seven series championships into 2002 and added All-Pro wins at Nashville and Myrtle Beach (as well as an ARCA Series win in May at Charlotte) this season, but the All-Pro championship had eluded him until Sunday, despite several close calls.
"Jeff's a hard worker for the #77 Jasper team every day in the shop, but I also believe in his talent as a driver, and we couldn't be prouder than we are today that he won the All-Pro championship with such a dominating performance," said Mark Harrah, #77 Jasper team co-owner, and Team Manager. "I want to help him all I can in his ultimate career goal--and that is to race at the highest level he can. All of us at the #77 shop want to see him achieve his dream.
"We do have some R & D things on the cars he races in ARCA and the Busch Series--which are built in our shop and are identical to the one's Dave (Blaney) drives--that could help us down the road with the Winston Cup team. That's just a small benefit of his dual role as driver and hands-on crew member.
"But the real focus is Jeff. It's pretty phenomenal that guys like Jeff work 40-50 hour weeks in the shop, then chase bigger dreams on weekends. And the WC success stories of guys like Ernie Irvan and Mike Skinner--both of whom worked in race shops as crew members when they first came to NC--show that those bigger dreams can come true. I hope this championship will bring Jeff a shot at an even better opportunity."
Fultz will receive the All-Pro Series championship trophy and champion's checks next Saturday night in ceremonies at the Atlanta Airport Hilton, part of a busy NASCAR weekend in the city that includes the Winston Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.