SES: Memphis race report

Millington, Tenn. - May 13, 2000 - That dreaded Thunderbird struck again. Green Bay, Wis.'s Scott Hansen came out on the winning end of a green-white-checkered dash to the start/finish line to win the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring ...

Millington, Tenn. - May 13, 2000 - That dreaded Thunderbird struck again. Green Bay, Wis.'s Scott Hansen came out on the winning end of a green-white-checkered dash to the start/finish line to win the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Memphis Motorsports Park 100 on Saturday afternoon. The late model veteran, a threat to win wherever and whenever he shows up, earned $11,375 of the $76,350 race purse

"If it hadn't been for that last caution Lee (Tissot) had everyone covered today. We just bided our time today and the race came to us there at the end. I can't say enough about this Victor Ford team. They gave me a good car all weekend long and we were fortunate enough to end up in victory lane," stated Hansen.

For the fifth time in five races a new 2000 Bud Pole winner was honored in pre-race ceremonies. This time the award went to Summerville, S.C.'s Benny Gordon. Gordon, driver of the Johnny's Haulmark Trailers Chevrolet Monte Carlo, bested 26 other drivers to earn his first career pole start in Slim Jim All Pro Series competition. He drove around the 0.750-mile oval in 22.294 seconds at an average speed of 121.109 mph to earn the top starting spot. Gordon became the 63rd different pole winner since the Series' inception in 1991. For the second race in a row St. Joseph, Mich.'s Gary Terry planted his Quality First Diecast Chevrolet on the outside of the front row.

Gordon had a strong mount when the green flag dropped. He immediately took command of the race and proceeded to lead the first 43 laps. On lap 44 Mooresville, N.C.'s Brian Smith managed to run down Gordon and moved into the lead at the wheel of his Juba Glass Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His lead didn't last as long as Gordon's. Smith led until lap 53 when Asheville, N.C.'s Lee Tissot edged ahead of Smith. The duo raced side by side for three more laps with Smith leading the next two circuits.

Then, on lap 56 Tissot took sole possession of the lead and appeared to be enroute to his second career Slim Jim All Pro Series win.

Hansen, lurking back just outside of the top five, began to make his charge toward the front just after the race's halfway point. At lap 65 he was hooked up in a fierce battle with Smith and Gordon for the fourth position and moved past Gordon for that spot on lap 66. He then motored by Smith on lap 73 to grab the third spot.

Two late race cautions interrupted Tissot's run to the checkers. On lap 84 the fourth caution of the race was displayed when defending Series Champion Wayne Anderson and David Reutimann got together coming out of turn two. The two wound up against the backstretch wall. Reutimann was able to limp away while Anderson's car sustained heavy front end damage, ending his day prematurely.

When the green flag waved to restart the race on lap 96 Tissot again sped away with the checkered flag in sight. Points leader Billy Bigley, Jr. was in second, followed by Hansen. Hansen got by Bigley on lap 97, with Smith and Jeff Fultz attempting to do the same. While racing for the same piece of real estate, Bigley, Smith and Fultz banged together coming down the frontstretch, ultimately sending all three drivers into the outside retaining wall and ending their day two laps short of the finish.

This set up a final mad dash to the checkers. As the field came out of turn four on the white flag lap Hansen nosed under Tissot and ultimately crossed the stripe 0.031 seconds ahead of Tissot, just barely the length of the nose on Hansen's Ford Thunderbird. Greer, S.C.'s Steven Howard, after starting 11th, trailed the lead duo to finish third while Kevin Prince and Ken Weaver finished fourth and fifth respectively, each notching their top career Slim Jim All Pro Series finishes. A.J. Frank wound up sixth, the last car on the lead lap, and polesitter Gordon, Casey Yunick, Reutimann and Greg Pope rounded out the top 10. The 100 lap, 75 mile race was run in one hour, seven minutes and six seconds. Hansen's winning average speed was 67.064 mph. The race was slowed by five caution periods for 37 laps. There were a total of five lead changes amongst four drivers.

Bigley's accident proved very costly in the points chase. His 13th place finish enabled him to keep the points lead but he now leads Frank by just four points, one top 10 finishing position. Frank leads Tissot by four points while Howard trails Tissot by two points. Fultz is three points behind Howard while Reutimann is just one marker behind Fultz. The current point spread from first to sixth place is a mere 14 points after five races.

Tissot led twice for 49 laps and earned the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award for his efforts. In the annual chase for the year-end Gatorade Front Runner Award Bigley leads Hansen and Smith by three points.

Hansen's second Series win of the year also earned his crew chief, Craig Smokstad, his second $300 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew-Chief-of-the-Race Award. After five races Smokstad is tied with Bigley's head wrench Adam Heckelman for the lead in this category.

For the second race in a row Holly Hill, Fla.'s Casey Yunick emerged as the Moroso Performance Products Rookie-of-the-Race. As such he also now owns sole possession of the points lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Yunick leads Kevin Bryant by four points while Pope is just two points behind Bryant after Pope drove to Rookie-of-the-Race runnerup honors. On June 10 the Slim Jim All Pro Series drivers will return to action at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga.. The RE/MAX Slim Jim All Pro Series 200 will be contested on Lanier's 0.375-mile oval and will represent the only series race in Georgia in 2000.

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