SES: Lakeland race report

LAKELAND, FLA. (April 21 2001) - For the second consecutive race, Wayne Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet and 2000 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion Billy Bigley Jr.'s Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet dualed lap after lap to determined...

LAKELAND, FLA. (April 21 2001) - For the second consecutive race, Wayne Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet and 2000 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion Billy Bigley Jr.'s Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet dualed lap after lap to determined which car would be in victory lane.

And for the second consecutive series event Anderson stopped in victory lane with his latest triumph coming at his home track, USA International Speedway, Saturday night when he won the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Discount Auto Parts 200.

Anderson's win, the 17th of his NASCAR short track career, tied him with Freddie Query for most series victories.

"Man let me congratulate Billy Bigley, what a heck of a racer," Anderson exclaimed in victory lane. "This is two races in a row that he has taken me to the wire and he will race you as clean as any driver around," continued Anderson.

Anderson entered the race, ninth in series points and with his win, moved to fourth place just 74 behind Bigley's series leading 510.

Finishing behind these two stalwarts were Scott Carlson with yet another top ten finish with his Hamner/Carlson Chevrolet, David Reutimann in his Pennzoil Chevrolet and Shane Sieg with his Sieg Racing Chevrolet. Sieg's fifth place finish is his second top five run since joining the series in 1999.

Anderson's Augie Grill prepared Chevrolet set the stage for the 36 car field when he recorded his first Bud Pole start of 2001 and his 11th career Bud Pole Award. Anderson turned the .7500-mile speedplant with a fast lap of 21.228 Secs (127.190 mph) with Jeff Fultz's C & C Boiler/Clever Brooks Chevrolet starting outside front row.

At the start of the race Anderson and Fultz were door-handle to door-handle for ¾ of lap one before Anderson forged into the lead in turn three with Bigley, Kevin Prince and Randy Gentry in tow.

The second race caution was one Fultz didn't want to see. The car of Chris Fontaine drifted high on the track in turns three and four making contact with Fultz's car sending it into the outside retaining wall.

The third race caution was displayed just two laps after the field went back to green after the Fultz incident. Kevin Bryant's machine drifted high on the front stretch and made contact with Sieg's Chevrolet. Sieg's car made contact with Benny Gordon's car which then tagged the Darrell Brown machine. Brown's car made heavy contact with the inside retaining wall ending the night for the former All Pro Super Series Champion.

Lap 94 saw the fifth race caution displayed when the car of Brian Smith spun in turn four. It couldn't have come at a better time for the race leaders as Anderson, Bigley, Prince, Gentry, Carlson, Steven Howard, Ryan Crane and Brian Hoppe made a stop for fresh Hoosier shoes and Union 76 gas. That gave the lead to Reutimann with Wireway Huskey, Inc. Rookie-of-the-Year contender Jody Lavender moving to second, Conrad Burr to third, Sieg to fourth and Jody Ridley rounding out the top five.

The pit stop saw Anderson go in first and come out first with Gentry and Carlson gaining track position while Bigley lost two spots.

Anderson wasted little time trying to regain the point because on the ensuing green flag he went to the high side of turn one with Gentry and Bigley following moving them to fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Anderson and Bigley were like a tandum truck moving together around slower cars and into second and third by lap 113 before the sixth caution waved. This is what Anderson was looking for since his car had fresher tires than Reutimann's machine.

When the field went green on lap 125, Anderson took his car to the high side of turn one and back to the point with Bigley in hot pursuit.

After another caution, Bigley made his challenge for the lead trying to get his car on the inside of Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet but each time Anderson would shut the door. Finally on lap 144 Bigley was able to get his machine to the inside of Anderson's car exiting turn four and into the lead in turn one.

With 30 laps to run, Bigley, Anderson, Reutimann, Carlson and Sieg were the top five runners but Anderson was not done. He kept his car tight on the back bumper of Bigley's Chevrolet and when Bigley exited turn two on lap 183 he found himself behind the car of Crane. That allowed Anderson to take his mount to the high side of the backstretch and again back to the point.

A final caution was displayed on lap 196 giving Bigley another shot a win but Anderson kept him at bay as a green-white-checked situation prevailed with only two laps to run.

Rounding out the top ten finishing positions were Gentry, Kevin Prince, Ridley, Lavender and Stanley Smith with his second top ten run in three starts.

It was another huge night for Anderson winning the Gatorade "Front Runner" Challenge Award and the Gatorade Championship Performance Award.

Jody Lavender was the top finishing Wireway Huskey, Inc. Rookie-of-the-Year contender with Augie Grill winning his second consecutive Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award.

The next event for Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring drivers will be the Ingles 200 on April 28 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, S.

GATORADE ALL PRO SERIES, NASCAR TOURING TOP TEN IN POINTS (Unofficial): 1. Billy Bigley Jr., 510; 2. Scott Carlson, 479; 3. Randy Gentry, 440; 4. Wayne Anderson, 436; 5. Brian Smith, 394; 6. David Reutimann, 393; 7. Stanley Smith, 392; 8. Chad Bland, 379; 9. Kevin Prince, 376; 10. Jody Ridley, 371.

-Bill Desomnd

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Jody Lavender , Brian Smith , Shane Sieg , Wayne Anderson , Chris Fontaine