Jeff Fultz conquers Myrtle Beach Speedway with the Hills Bros All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring. MYRTLE BEACH, S. C. (July 13 2002) - Jeff Fultz finally conquered Myrtle Beach Speedway's tough .538 mile oval Saturday evening winning the Hills Bros.
Jeff Fultz conquers Myrtle Beach Speedway with the Hills Bros All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring.
MYRTLE BEACH, S. C. (July 13 2002) - Jeff Fultz finally conquered Myrtle Beach Speedway's tough .538 mile oval Saturday evening winning the Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Hills Bros. 250 presented by Lavender's Discount Carpets.
Tires and pit stops proved to be the deciding factor in Fultz's win, his first of the 2002 campaign and it narrowed Charlie Bradberry's points lead to only 17 points entering this weekend's event at Nashville Superspeedway.
Finishing behind Fultz's C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet was David Reutimann with his Pennzoil Chevrolet, Kevin Prince with his Uncle Yammy's Grillin Sauce/Juba Glass Chevrolet, Billy Bigley Jr. in his Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet and rookie points leader Jason Hogan with his Universal Chevrolet.
"Finally we have a win at Myrtle," said Fultz as he sat in his race car. "This is a tough race track and it was slick tonight. This is the first time we have even finished in the top five here."
"What a great job my crew did getting me out of the pits on that last stop. My crew chief, Jon Craig, called for a two tire change and got me out first which gave us the track position we needed with just 24 laps to run."
Fultz was strong all night working his way to the front from his 13th starting spot. By lap 14 he was running fifth finally moving to fourth on lap 39. He was up to third on lap 50 and 20 laps later was in the runner-up slot behind race leader Reutimann.
"Once we were behind David we just let the race come to us," continued Fultz.
Benny Gordon garnered his first Bud Pole of 2002 and his third career pole with a lap of 20.340 Secs (95.221 mph) with his Johnny's Haulmark Racing Trailers Pontiac with Reutimann starting outside front row.
When Gordon took the green flag Reutimann tried to take the point but Gordon had the inside line and kept Reutimann's Chevrolet behind him for the first 65 laps. As the two cars went down the backstretch on lap 66 Gordon got boxed behind a slower car allowing Reutimann to take the lead.
Driver's were leary about early pit stops finally making the choice to stop during the fourth of nine race cautions. Reutimann led the pack to the pits with Reutimann, Fultz, Bigley and others getting four fresh Hoosier shoes.
Chad Bland did not pit and became the new race leader with his Jasper Engines and Transmission/Bit O Honey Chevrolet. But that did not last long because Gordon with only a two tire change took over the lead on lap 119 for one lap until Fultz with four fresh tires took the point for the first time on lap 120.
"We just two great pit stops," said Fultz. "Another thing that has helped this team is to have Joe Shear Jr. helping us on some things. My car was just so strong."
Gordon's possibility for a win evaporated on lap 141 when his car slowed on the track. The culprit was the kill switch wire on the steering wheel that came lose. He lost three laps and another later in the race to end up four laps off the pace in 16th.
There were some great track challenges during the night with local favorites Jody Lavender and Kevin Prince in the top five for most of the second half of the race. Lavender was running third when he had to take his car to the pits with rear-end problems moving Prince to third and Bigley to fourth.
On the final pit stop during the eighth caution period Fultz, Lavender, Prince, Bradberry, Hogan all took on only right side tires with Bigley the only car to take on four new tires. Reutimann surprised everyone by taking on two rear tires.
"I have no idea why David (Reutimann) took on two rear tires," said Fultz after the race. "That took away any forward bite he might have had for the final laps and probably cost him the race."
Lavender's excellent night ended when he went to the pits on lap 231. Another disappointed driver was rookie candidate Dusty Williams. His car had an oil line break in the first five laps ending his night after only eight laps. "We wanted to do so good here," said Williams. "We had friends and family come to see us race but they sure didn't see much said Williams except a good race by the other drivers."
Some tough racing took place over the final 13 laps with Reuitmann moving Prince back to third and Bigley moving from sixth to fourth and Hogan shuffling Bradberry back to sixth. The top six cars finished on the lead lap.
Rounding out the top ten positions was Bradberry, Toby Porter who had another strong run after starting 21st, Jarod Robie from his 19th starting spot, John Nutley and Shane Sieg who started 18th on the field. Jason Hogan was the top finishing rookie candidate for the fourth time this year and Fultz was the recipient of the Gatorade "FrontRunner" Award for leading the most laps.
The next event for the Hills Bros. All Pro Series will be this Friday at Nashville Superspeeday in conjunction with IRL.