HUNTSVILLE, ALA. (July 12 2003) - One year ago Shane Sieg ran the race of his life at Bristol Motor Speedway only to end up second behind NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kenny Wallace. At Huntsville Speedway Saturday evening starting position was ...
HUNTSVILLE, ALA. (July 12 2003) - One year ago Shane Sieg ran the race of his life at Bristol Motor Speedway only to end up second behind NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kenny Wallace.
At Huntsville Speedway Saturday evening starting position was everything with the top eight finishers all starting in the top ten. Sieg qualified eighth fastest but started third on the grid when Bud Pole winner Jason Hogan pulled a ten to invert the top ten qualifiers. Sieg was inside of the second row on the tight quarter-mile oval for the start and never relinquished a top five running position.
Sieg took advantage of Jarod Robie's miscue on lap 130 to take the point which led to his first career NASCAR stop in victory lane, winning the NASCAR Elite Division, Kodak Southeast Series Thunder By The River 150 at Huntsville Speedway.
This event marked the first time this NASCAR Touring Series competed at Huntsville since 1987.
"Sieg gave race fans a burn out they will long remember when he kept his S & W Motorsports Chevrolet in a tight 360 on the front straightaway after his cool down lap.
Exiting his car the driver had a smile from ear to ear. "We have been waiting for this moment for a long time," said the 20 year old driver from Tucker, Ga.
Asked if this win made up for the disappointment he had at Bristol last year, Sieg replied, "this beats everything. I have to give a lot of credit to my crew chief Larry Rapp and to Wayne Anderson. We brought Wayne in to help us with setup and he kept coaching me on the radio during the race to be patient."
"Wayne kept saying take it easy and your time will come. You are in the right position to win this race running second." When Robie slipped high coming off two and scrubbed the wall, Wayne was right there. "Now, its time to go, he said, and I was able to make the pass," continued a very very jubilant driver who hugged his dad in victory lane.
Finishing behind Sieg, was Robie who grabbed the point at the start of the race from his outside front row starting position and led through lap 130, Terry Mason Jr., the highest finishing Victory Circle Chassis Rookie-of-the-Year contender, Hogan and John Wilkinson III the leading candidate in rookie points.
Hogan took the pole away from local favorite Chris Whorton, who was driving the Pennzoil Chevrolet in place of David Reutimann who was running a NASCAR Busch Series event by four thousands of a second. Hogan set the qualifying mark at 12.995 Secs (69.257 mph) with Whorton clocking in at 12.999 Secs.
Drivers played follow the leader in the early laps getting their feel for the track with Wilkinson trying the outside line with his C & W Drilling/Murphy Automotive Chevrolet and pulling Sieg with him.
The second caution on lap 26 is one that defending series champion Jeff Fultz will remember and could be a blow to his chances of repeating as series champion. A. J. Frank spun exiting turn two with Whorton checking up. Fultz smacked the rearend of Whorton's car heavily damaging the front end of the C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet. Fultz took his car to the pits numerous times for repairs finally parking the car on lap 79.
The incident dropped him from second to third in series points with three races remaining. Fultz trailed points leader Charlie Bradberry by 35 points entering this event and left trailing by 82 markers.
Eleven laps after the restart of the second caution, Bradberry brought out the next caution when his car spun going into turn one. "We just got pushed down on the apron," said Bradberry and when I gunned it to make the pass on a slower car, my car broke loose and spun. We were very fortunate not to have anyone hit us." Bradberry had to start at the back of the field but recovered to finish sixth.
When racing resumed local standout Johnny Brazier put his Frogg Toggs Ford on the back bumper of Robie's Iron Horse/Miller Fall Protection/Safety Products Chevrolet. Brazier tried a number of times to take the point getting the nose of his Ford along side Robie's machine. But each time Robie kept him at bay.
On lap 101 Brazier had his mount on the low side of Robie's car in turns three and four. The cars rubbed with Robie maintaining the front spot. Nine laps later Brazier's car showed heavy sparks with the car falling off the pace with what appeared to be brake rotor problems ending his chances of a win in front of many race fans.
"I think we ran over something,"said Brazier after the race. "The car would not turn and must have been lodged in the steering linkage." Robie was still the car to beat with Sieg running second, Mason in third, Hogan and Wilkinson rounding out the top five.
Sieg got his chance on lap 130 taking his mount to the high side of the backstretch and into the lead and on to his first NASCAR win.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were Bradberry, Frank, Brazier, Steven Howard and Cecil Chunn.
Wayne Bowen turned in his best racing performance of the season from his 20th starting position to improve nine spots and earn the POWERAde "Power Move Of The Race" Award. Mason was the highest finishing rookie contender and trails Wilkinson by one marker in their battle for rookie honors.
The next event for the Kodak Southeast Series will be The Time Warner Cable 150 on July 26 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. This event, originally scheduled for May 16, was postponed due to inclement weather.