SES: Montgomery race report

Montgomery, Ala. - July 8, 2000 - After the stellar year Wayne Anderson had in 1999, enroute to his first career Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Championship, no one thought it would take eight races in 2000 to return to victory. On ...

Montgomery, Ala. - July 8, 2000 - After the stellar year Wayne Anderson had in 1999, enroute to his first career Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Championship, no one thought it would take eight races in 2000 to return to victory. On Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway the Wildwood, Fla. driver finally found his way to victory lane when he won the $48,350 Jasper Engines & Transmissions 200. "I got a little scared early on when we went a lap down, I didn't know if we'd get a chance to get our lap back. Fortunately the caution came out, we were able to get some new Hoosier tires, and we managed to get back on the lead lap. I want to commend all of the other drivers tonight. They raced very professionally, giving room if they were a lap down, racing hard, but clean if they weren't," stated Anderson. "Also, Mike Barnes with Jani-King (Anderson's sponsor) was here tonight so maybe we'll have to have him get to some more races so we can win some more," added the second-generation driver. Jeff Fultz, in his first ever race at the 0.500-mile oval, grabbed the Bud Pole Award as he toured the asphalt track in a time of 19.559 seconds at an average speed of 92.029 mph. The Cincinnati, Oh. native, wheeling the Cleaver Brooks/C&C Boilers/Honeywell Chevrolet became the seventh different Bud Pole winner in eight races this year. It was Fultz's fourth career pole position in Slim Jim All Pro Series competition. Anderson earned the outside front row starting position, trailing Fultz's time by 0.115 seconds. At the start of the race Fultz took the early lead but was pressured heavily by Anderson, series points leader Billy Bigley, Jr. and Benny Gordon. The foursome had to start negotiating through lapped traffic on lap 25 and on lap 34 Fultz surrendered the lead to Anderson, who was then followed by Bigley, dropping the early leader to the third spot. Green flag racing progressed unabated until lap 74 when the caution was displayed after Pensacola, Fla.'s Donald Long spun in turn four. Long managed to stay off of the retaining wall. During the ensuing caution period all of the leaders, except Anderson, pitted, with most lead lap cars receiving four sticker tires. The green flag waved again on lap 81 and it took Fultz and Mooresville, N.C.'s Brian Smith just two laps to gobble up Anderson's Chevrolet. New tires proved to be the right choice as Anderson slipped backwards through the field, ultimately losing a lap on lap 107 when Fultz drove by him.

Anderson got the break he needed on lap 113 when the caution waved after Casey Yunick, Scott Carlson, A.J. Frank and Long got together in turn four. Anderson pitted for four tires and lined up inside of the lead lap cars for the restart. Three laps after the restart Anderson powered around Fultz, then leader Bigley, driving by the lead duo on the outside. On lap 130 Bigley's points lead took a serious hit as the right front tire blew on his Peerless Woodworking/Nevamar Decorative Surfaces Chevrolet, sending the leader into the turn four wall. During the caution he went behind the wall for extensive repairs, ultimately retiring from the event with a 22nd place finish. Bigley's misfortune proved to be the break that Anderson needed as he sped around to the rear of the lead lap cars, ready to begin his assault.

Green flag racing resumed on lap 136 with Anderson restarting in the fifth position. Two laps later he moved into third and four laps later he was into second. On lap 144 he took over the top spot from Fultz. From then on he was never headed, but wasn't able to break away either. Two late race cautions enabled the balance of the lead lap cars to pull up on Anderson's bumper on restarts but Anderson fended off his challengers. Anderson's margin of victory, as a result of a green-white-checkered finish, was 0.367 seconds over Pennzoil Chevrolet driver David Reutimann. Completing the top five were Fultz, Smith and Randy Gentry. Rounding out the top 10 were Shane Sieg, Kevin Prince, Yunick, George Ingole and Frank, who was relieved by Billy Mills after experiencing heat exhaustion.

Twenty one cars were running when the checkered flag waved and the race was run in one hour, 31 minutes and seven seconds. Anderson's winning average speed was 65.371 mph. There were a total of eight cautions for 40 laps and a total of seven lead changes amongst four drivers.

Bigley's points lead shrunk to just 28 points, and Reutimann's top 2000 finish of second propelled him into the second spot. Fultz trails Reutimann by 18 points and Lee Tissot trails Fultz by six points. Frank completes the top five, trailing Tissot by nine markers.

Anderson led a total of 104 laps to garner the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award. Bigley continues to lead in the season-long points chase for the annual award with a seven point lead over Smith.

With a little luck, and a tire management strategy that worked, Augie Grill, Anderson's crew chief, earned the $300 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew-Chief-of-the-Race Award. Bigley's crew chief Adam Heckelman continues to lead the points chase in this category. Daytona Beach, Fla.'s Casey Yunick earned the $250 Moroso Performance Products Rookie-of-the-Race Award for the fourth time this season, on the strength of his eighth place race finish. The Lou Ana Cooking Oil/Orlando Action Auto Chevrolet continues to lead the Rookie-of-the-Year points chase, leading Monroe, N.C.'s Greg Pope by nine points.

Slim Jim All Pro Series drivers head to the Commonwealth of Kentucky next weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at the 0.438-mile Louisville Motor Speedway.

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Drivers Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Brian Smith , Shane Sieg , Wayne Anderson , A.J. Frank