Memphis 125 will decide the 2002 Hills Bros. All Pro Series championship. DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (October 4 2002) - One race to go. Who will immerge as champion of the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring for 2002 at the conclusion of the ...
Memphis 125 will decide the 2002 Hills Bros. All Pro Series championship.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (October 4 2002) - One race to go. Who will immerge as champion of the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring for 2002 at the conclusion of the Memphis 125?
Three competitors have a mathematical chance of succeeding in that feat. David Reutimann, Jeff Fultz and Charlie Bradberry have all found themselves at the top of the points ladder throughout the racing year.
Reutimann started the year winning his first NASCAR touring event and holding the top spot over the next two races. Then it was Bradberry's turn at the top for the next five events, despite the fact he has not recorded his first career win but running very consistently during the season.
When Bradberry faltered in two consecutive races at Kentucky Speedway and Greenville-Pickens Speedway dropping to third in series points, Fultz moved into the points lead and had a 101-point lead on Reutimann with three races remaining. Then it was his turn to suffer bad fortune. At Greenville, Fultz was involved in an accident and finished 13th, then at Southern National he finished a disappointing 11th, but on the lead lap. Reutimann scored back-to-back wins at Greenville and Southern National to regain his early season points lead.
"We have had our ups and downs during the year," said Reutimann. "That is evident by the laps completed percentage. We have been fortunate to lead lots of laps but losing the engine in the first Kentucky event hurt us and dropped us to third in points. But this Michael Wakely led Pennzoil team did not give up and we have been clawing our way back. We just have to make sure we stay on top at Memphis and finish at least two positions in front of Jeff (Fultz)."
1997 saw Fultz lose the series championship to Hal Goodson by two points for the closest finish in series history. 2002 has all the makings for the same down to the wire end to a successful racing season.
"This is the fourth time in seven years I have been involved in the series championship run and it does get a little nerve wracking to go down to the wire," said Fultz. "The pressure is on the driver but more so on the crew. Team work is so vital and I am sure my C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks team will check every nut and bolt on the car."
"At Southern National we were just awful. The car did not handle. So we will go to Memphis and once again give it our best shot. If it is meant to be for us to win then we will win, if not then it would appear that David (Reutimann) will win. All we can do is give it our best shot."
"We have had a string of bad luck and I mean bad luck," said a dejected Charlie Bradberry at his race shop. "Seemed that the first part of the year we could do nothing wrong but ever since the second race at Kentucky we have been slipping. Then it went from bad to worse at Bristol when we fell out of the race early and we have just not recovered."
Bradberry, the youngest driver to ever lead the series points with this NASCAR division, is in line to finish third in the final standings.
One series title has already been decided on the series. Jason Hogan has clinched the 2002 Rookie-of-the-Year Award over Joe Aramendia, Dusty Williams, Jarod Robie and Johnny Brazier.
A strong field of cars, including drivers from the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring are expected to compete for the 36 starting positions which will take the green flag at approximately 3:30 pm or 30 minutes after the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Series race finishes on October 19.
Action will start for Hills Bros. All Pro Series drivers on Friday, October 18 with practice from 9:00 am to 10:25 am. Qualifying for the Memphis 125 will start at 2:30 pm.
The race is a TV event for the series and will be aired on the Speed Channel, December 9.