SES: Nashville race report

Nashville, Tenn. - September 30, 2000 - When veteran race promoter Bob Harmon created the fabled All American 400 nearly 20 years ago the race was dubbed as a battle between the North and the South. After Saturday night's $57,950 NASCAR All Pro...

Nashville, Tenn. - September 30, 2000 - When veteran race promoter Bob Harmon created the fabled All American 400 nearly 20 years ago the race was dubbed as a battle between the North and the South. After Saturday night's $57,950 NASCAR All Pro 200 the North looks to be coming with their guns loaded as Wheaton, Ill.'s Eddie Hoffman grabbed the victory in the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring race at Nashville Speedway U.S.A. The win was worth $9,175 to the regular from the Re/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring. "This whole Lisa Thomas Salons/Appleton Rack & Pinion team deserves a lot of credit for this victory," stated Hoffman in victory lane. "We came down here to prepare for the All American 400, to size up the track, and the competition. We pitted early and managed to dodge trouble all night and we managed to find our way to victory lane. I can't wait to come back in November, we think we learned some good things tonight that should help us in the '400'," he added. Although a driver from 'the North' won the race, it was drivers from 'the South' that won Bud Pole Qualifying. Pensacola, Fla.'s Scott Carlson earned his first career Bud Pole Award by turning a quicker lap than the 44 other drivers who were vying for the race's 40 starting positions. Landing on the outside of the front row was 1999 Slim Jim All Pro Series National Champion Wayne Anderson, creating an all-Florida front row. Anderson also clinched the $3,500 award for most Bud Poles in 2000 as no driver can now catch the four-time pole winner. When the race got underway Carlson quickly moved his Advance Construction/Willie's Restaurant Chevrolet into the lead. Anderson settled into second with Eddie Mercer, David Reutimann and Tony Walls making up the balance of the top five. Carlson, Anderson and Reutimann ultimately pulled away to an early three car breakaway, which was always reduced throughout five caution periods that punctuated the first half of the 200-lap race. The fifth caution, which occurred on lap 89, was a very scary incident when Ken Weaver and Scott Kilby got together entering turn one. Kilby backed his Arndt & Herman Windows Chevrolet into the outside retaining wall, then slid to a stop. Seconds later a loud explosion occurred and Kilby's car was quickly engulfed in flames. Fortunately both Kilby and Weaver were shaken but otherwise uninjured and both quickly emerged from their wrecked racers. Once the accident scene and track were cleaned up Carlson once again set the pace, and as flagman Rick Monroe displayed the crossed flags signifying the race's halfway point 26 of the 40 starters were still on the lead lap. Most notable was the charge of three time former champion Jody Ridley. Making his first start of the 2000 season he was in the third position at the halfway point. The caution waved again on lap 121, and resulted in many of the front runners being collected coming out of turn two. George Ingole was sideways on the track, and Carlson was able to dodge Ingole, but Reutimann, Anderson, Ridley and Darryl Sage were collected. Sage and Anderson suffered the worst damage, with Sage retiring from the race and Anderson pitting for many laps for repairs. During the caution period the leaders pitted, handing the lead to Hoffman who had pitted earlier on. Series points leader Billy Bigley, Jr., having also pitted earlier, settled into the second position and was racing Hoffman hard for the lead. As the race marched on Bigley's Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet faded just a bit and Bigley's closest points pursuer, C&C Boilers/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet driver Jeff Fultz passed Bigley for the second spot on lap 183. Veteran Scott Hansen and polesitter Carlson both got by Bigley by the time the checkered flag waved, ultimately shuffling the points leader to fifth place. Fultz chased Hoffman until the checkered flag waved but had to settle for a second place finish. Hansen and Carlson grabbed the third and fourth positions respectively. Bigley completed the top five. Lee Tissot, A.J. Frank, Reutimann, J.R. Roahrig and Billy Mills finished sixth through 10th. Hoffman beat Fultz to the checkered flag by 0.371 seconds and his winning average speed was 70.428 mph. The race was run in one hour, 41 minutes and 33 seconds. There were a total of nine cautions for 54 laps and one lead change among two drivers. With only the All American 400 remaining on the 2000 schedule Bigley leads Fultz by 78 points. Should Fultz win the final race Bigley would have to finish 20th or better to capture his first NASCAR Touring Series championship. Should Pennzoil Chevrolet driver Reutimann win the race, he could capture the championship if Fultz finishes eighth or worse, and Bigley finishes 33rd or worse. Reutimann currently trails Bigley by 114 points and Fultz by 36 markers. Brian Smith and Tissot complete the top five in points. By leading the first 121 laps Carlson earned the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award. Bigley still leads the run for the annual $4,000 Gatorade Front Runner Award by a scant two points over Anderson, so the run for the big check will likely not be decided until the checkered flag waves at the end of the final race. Hoffman's crew chief John Signore earned the $300 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge by virtue of leading his driver and team to victory lane. Bigley's crew chief Adam Heckelman clinched the annual $2,500 Crew-Chief-of-the-Year contest as he cannot be caught at this point. The runnerup position is still undecided as Anderson's crew chief Augie Grill holds an eight point margin over Fultz's crew chief Jon Craig. A 10th place finish by Fairhope, Ala.'s Billy Mills earned the driver the $250 Moroso Performance Parts Rookie-of-the-Race Award. Monroe, N.C.'s Greg Pope wound up as the Rookie-of-the-Race runnerup. Holly Hills, Fla.'s Casey Atwood clinched the $1,000 Rookie-of-the-Year points race, now leading the rookie points category by 11 points with one race remaining. Pope and Ryan Crane are separated by one point for the rookie runnerup position. The next and final 2000 stop for Slim Jim All Pro Series competitors is Sunday, November 5 at Nashville Speedway U.S.A. in Nashville, Tenn. The 20th Annual MBNA All American 400 will be the last of 15 races on the 2000 schedule. Open practice will be held on Thursday, November 2, Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday, November 3 and on Saturday, November 4 a final, last chance qualifying race will be held to determine the starting field, along with extra distance races for Nashville Speedway U.S.A. local divisions.

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Drivers Casey Atwood , Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Ken Weaver , Brian Smith , Wayne Anderson , Eddie Mercer , Scott Hansen