Daytona Beach, Fla. - May 11, 2000 - At this point in the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring season last year Bluffton, S.C.'s A.J. Frank had generated some fairly forgettable statistics. In four starts he had a top starting position of...
Daytona Beach, Fla. - May 11, 2000 - At this point in the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring season last year Bluffton, S.C.'s A.J. Frank had generated some fairly forgettable statistics. In four starts he had a top starting position of 24th, and a top finishing position of 21st. This year, as Frank and the rest of the Slim Jim All Pro Series teams head to Memphis Motorsports Park for a 100-lap race on Saturday, May 13, he's generated some very memorable numbers.
First of all, he earned his first career Bud Pole Award at Coastal Plains Raceway in Jacksonville, N.C. He followed up his solid qualifying run with a top career finish of third in the same race. Then one race later, he improved on his top career finishing position by grabbing a runner-up finish at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C.
All told, the second-year driver has two top five and three top 10 finishes in the four races run so far in 2000, and he has qualified no worse than 11th in those four races, a marked turnaround from last year's effort.
So what does the Coastal Medical Associates Chevrolet driver attribute to his turnaround? "We've got a real package this year," stated Frank. We purchased two cars during the off-season, we've taken up residence in the shops of Buzzie and David Reutimann in Florida, and Jason McDowell has joined our team as crew chief," he added.
The combination certainly seems to be paying off, especially the move into Reutimann's shops. Both Frank's team and Reutimann's Pennzoil Chevrolet team are in the top five in points after four races, with Reutimann in third, ahead of Frank by a mere two points. This leads to a competitive yet friendly rapport around the shops. Frank noted after the most recent race at U.S.A. Internaitonal Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., where Reutimann and Frank finished fourth and eighth respectively, that "Things should be a bit better around the shop this week since David finished ahead of me. Those guys were beginning to get a little too serious when we kept finishing ahead of them."
Reutimann and Frank lead the series in laps completed with Reutimann having run 697 of 701 laps contested this year, and Frank is just one lap behind at 696.
The two teammates will have a hungry pack of wolves chasing them this weekend at Memphis when the green flag drops on the Memphis Motorsports Park 100. The starting field will consist of 36 drivers and the 0.750-mile d-shaped track is a fast layout for the Slim Jim All Pro Series cars. Naples, Fla.'s Billy Bigley, Jr. will attempt to hold on to his 10 point lead over Jeff Fultz while Reutimann, Frnak and a host of others will be gunning for the points leaders.
Bud Pole qualifying gets underway immediately following NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying on Friday afternoon. The Memphis Motorsports Park 100 will follow the completion of the Quaker State 200 for the trucks, with an expected start time of 5:00 p.m. CDT.