SES: Bristol race report

Bristol, Tenn. - August 23, 2000 - With the exception of a fifth place finish on July 15 at Louisville (Ky.) Motor Speedway, defending Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion has been perfect, at least when it comes to reaching victory ...

Bristol, Tenn. - August 23, 2000 - With the exception of a fifth place finish on July 15 at Louisville (Ky.) Motor Speedway, defending Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion has been perfect, at least when it comes to reaching victory lane. And isn't that what matters most to a race car driver? The Jani-King Chevrolet driver held off a fast closing Billy Bigley, Jr. to win the $60,750 Reel Saver 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. The win was worth $10,875 to the second-generation driver. It was his third win in a row, fourth in five races, and 14th career win, moving him into a tie for the second spot with Mike Cope for all time wins. "Hey we will take this win," stated Anderson after the race. "We have won four of the last five. When we started tonight we had it figured for about a fifth place car. When Gentry spun I couldn't believe it happened. We go to every race with the idea of winning the race. I want to thank the folks here at Bristol Motor Speedway for having the series. This track has become such a showplace that everyone wants to come and compete on these awesome high banks." Anderson could very well have earned his fourth consecutive Bud Pole Award but wound up with a mediocre 14th-place starting position. But another former Slim Jim All Pro Series Champion dropped in, for his first start of 2000, and earned his eighth career pole start. Driving a team car to Jeff Fultz, the Mooresville, N.C. driver toured the 0.533-mile oval in a time of 15.708 seconds at a lap average speed of 122.154 mph. Summerville, S.C.'s Benny Gordon earned the right to start alongside Query, falling 0.066 seconds shy of Query's time. After winning the pole, and bolting into the lead at the start of the race, Query showed no signs of rust, having not run a series race since October of last year. Query kept the C&C Boilers/Cleaver Brooks/Honeywell Chevrolet out front for the first 106 laps. As he approached lapped traffic on lap 107 Bigley ducked underneath the leader heading into turn one and executed the first lead change of the race. Although Bigley had his Peerless Woodworking/Nevamar Decorative Surfaces Chevrolet in the lead Query did not let the Naples, Fla. get away. Query's pursuit ended on lap 125 when he crashed in turn one, bringing out the fifth caution of the race, right at the race's halfway point. Bigley, rookie David Stremme and Anderson pitted for right side tires, handing the lead to Easley, S.C.'s Randy Gentry. Gentry appeared to be well on his way to his first series victory when he crashed on lap 211, making contact with the inside retaining wall. This resulted in the race's final caution period, during which time Bigley pitted and changed all four tires. He restarted in the fifth position, the last car on the lead lap, on lap 219. With 15 laps to go he moved into the runnerup spot and set his sites on the lead car of Anderson's. With just two laps left to go he was on the leader's rear bumper, but over the final two laps he was unable to overtake him. Bigley wound up trailing Anderson to the checkered flag by 0.241 seconds. Rounding out the top five, and the only drivers to compete all 250 laps were Kevin Prince, Scott Hansen and Scott Kilby. Completing the top 10 were Ron Young, Ken Weaver, Jeff Myers, Casey Yunick and Josh Clemons. The race was completed in one hour, 49 minutes and 53 seconds. Anderson's winning average speed was 80.043 mph. There were a total of seven cautions for 49 laps and three lead changes among four drivers. Twenty one of 32 starters were still running when the checkered flag waved. Bigley's runnerup finish, coupled with points leader Jeff Fultz's 11th place finish, allowed Bigley to regain the points lead with three races left in the 2000 season. Bigley now leads Fultz by 26 points. David Reutimann is 70 points behind Fultz in third and Brian Smith leaped over Lee Tissot for the fourth points position. A.J. Frank holds down the sixth spot over Anderson, who jumps three positions after his win. Rounding out the top 10 are Gordon, Weaver and Yunick. Query has always been a driver to lead as many laps as possible if his car is working for him. Such was the case in this race, and his 106 laps led bested the number of laps led by Bigley, Gentry and Anderson. As a result he picked up the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award. In the battle for the end-of-year Gatorade Front Runner Award Bigley leads Anderson by five points. Anderson's win propelled his crew chief Augie Grill into second place in the hunt for the annual Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief of the Year contest. Grill picked up $300 from the contest sponsor for the team's win. Bigley's crew chief Adam Heckelman continues to lead in the season-long points chase in this category, holding a 14 point lead over Grill. Yunick's ninth place finish in his first ever race at Bristol earned him the $250 Moroso Performance Products Rookie-of-the-Race award. The Lou Ana Cooking Oil/Ugly Duckling Car Sales Chevrolet increased his lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year points chase to 12 points over Monroe, N.C.'s Greg Pope. The next stop for Slim Jim All Pro Series competitors is Saturday, September 16 at Coastal Plains Raceway in Jacksonville, N.C. The Coastal Plains 200 will be the 13th of 15 races on the 2000 schedule. Current points leader Bigley won at Coastal Plains on March 25 for his first of four wins so far this year. Bud Pole qualifying will take place at 6:00 p.m. and the Coastal Plains 200 racing program will get started at 8:00 p.m.

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Drivers Billy Bigley , Jeff Fultz , Ron Young , Ken Weaver , David Stremme , Brian Smith , A.J. Frank , Scott Hansen