SES: Lakeland Race Story

Fultz Flies at Lakeland In Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Lakeland, Fla. - April 29, 2000 - During the week Cincinnati, Oh. native Jeff Fultz toils in the shops of the Jasper Engines & Transmissions-sponsored NASCAR Winston Cup Series...

Fultz Flies at Lakeland In Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Lakeland, Fla. - April 29, 2000 - During the week Cincinnati, Oh. native Jeff Fultz toils in the shops of the Jasper Engines & Transmissions-sponsored NASCAR Winston Cup Series team of Robert Pressley. On the weekends he drives the Cleaver Brooks/C&C Boilers/Honeywell Chevrolet in the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring. And Saturday night at U.S.A. International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. drive he did. He drove all the way to victory lane in the $56,600 Discount Auto Parts 200 presented by ROL Gaskets. "It's been a long time since I've seen victory lane in one of these races, I was beginning to wonder whether I could still do it," exclaimed Fultz in victory lane. "I did know that there was no question about the equipment. Jon and Jimmy Craig have great race cars and the whole Cleaver Brooks/C&C Boilers/Honeywell team did a great job this weekend. This win's for the whole team," he added. During Bud Pole qualifying seventeen drivers broke the track record established last year by two-time former Slim Jim All Pro Series Champion Mike Cope. The best of those 17 was Mooresville, N.C.'s Brian Smith. The second year driver drove his Juba Glass Chevrolet into the pole position with a lap of 20.995 seconds at an average speed of 128.602 mph to earn the right to lead the starting field to the green flag. Smith was the only driver to break the 21-second barrier. Starting outside of Smith was St. Joseph, Mich.'s Gary Terry. Terry's best lap time was 21.016 seconds. When the green flag waved to start the 200-lap, 150-mile race around the 0.750-mile oval Smith showed that his first career Bud Pole was no fluke as he took the early lead over Terry, points leader Billy Bigley, Jr. and rookie contender David Stremme. By lap 12 Bigley moved under Smith and grabbed the lead. Bigley led until lap 48 when Smith regained the top spot as the lead duo was negotiating lapped traffic. Again Smith's lead was short-lived as Bigley again took command on lap 56. Green flag conditions prevailed from the first lap until lap 78 when the first caution period occurred when Shane Sieg's race car developed rear end problems. During the resultant caution period most of the leaders pitted for tires and fuel except for Kevin Prince and Shane Sawyer. Prince led the field to the green flag for the restart on lap 84, and Ken Weaver was in front of Prince, on the tail end of the lead lap. As the cars came out of turn four to complete lap 84 Randy Gentry made contact with Weaver's car, sending Weaver's Square D Chevrolet spinning and when the dust settled 10 cars were collected in the fracas. All of the cars were able to continue but Lee Tissot and Wayne Anderson were both forced behind the wall for repairs. Once the accident scene was cleaned up Prince again held the point with Smith, Stremme, Bigley and Fultz hot on his trail. Prince's Wells Transmission Chevrolet was strong as he led until lap 127 when he was forced to pit for fuel. At that point Smith regained the lead and appeared to be headed towards his first career series win. Persevering through two more caution periods Smith was able to hold off his pursuers. After the final caution ended on lap 172 Fultz repeatedly tried to get by Smith, finally making a pass stick coming out of turn four on lap 183. From that point forward Smith chased in vain comin up 0.379 seconds short when the checkered flag waved. Smith held on to the second spot for his best career finish while Steven Howard came all the way from his 23rd starting position to finish third. David Reutimann snagged the fourth spot while Shane Sawyer earned his first career top five finish to round out the first five. Rookie Kevin Bryant led the second five with Scott Carlson, A.J. Frank, Prince and Casey Yunick rounding out the top 10. The top eight cars all completed the full distance of 200 laps and there were 18 of 29 starters running at the finish. The race was run in a record time of one hour, 33 minutes and 58 seconds and Fultz's winning average speed was 95.779 mph. There were a total of five caution periods totaling 32 laps and six lead changes amongst four drivers. After four races the Slim Jim All Pro Series point standings are very tight. Points leader Bigley had a rough go when a wheel bearing froze up on his Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet. He spent many laps in the pits as his crew effected repairs and he wound up with a 21st place finish, completing just 148 laps. Coming into the Discount Auto Parts 200 he held a 48 point lead over Tissot but now leads race winner Fultz by just 10 points after Fultz jumped from fifth to second by virtue of earning 180 points for his race win. Reutimann, Frank and Howard round out the top five while Tissot, Stremme, Benny Gordon, Smith and Anderson complete the top 10. Just 98 points separate the top eight drivers after four races. Smith's three times at the front for a total of 75 laps earned him the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award. Bigley continues to lead the points in this category with Smith and Scott Hansen trailing the Naples, Fla. driver by four points. Fultz's crew chief Jon Craig garnered the $300 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew-Chief-of-the-Race Award for leading his team's effort to its first series win. Bigley's crew chief Adam Heckelman continues to lead the season-long points chase for the annual award. Dade City, Fla.'s Kevin Bryant was the top finishing rookie and picked up $250 from Moroso Performance Products for his effort. Pensacola, Fla.'s Carlson earned the $100 runnerup award. Stremme and Yunick are tied for the lead in the rookie-of-the-year battle with Bryant just one point behind the leaders. Next up for the drivers in the Slim Jim All Pro Series is the Memphis Motorsports Park 100 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tenn. The race will be held on Saturday, May 13 and represents the third year in a row that the series' competitors will have raced at the high speed 0.750-mile oval, along with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

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Drivers Robert Pressley , Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Ken Weaver , David Stremme , Brian Smith , Shane Sieg , Wayne Anderson , A.J. Frank , Scott Hansen