SES: Nashville race report

Nashville, Tenn. - November 5, 2000 - Veteran late model campaigner Mike Garvey knocked the dust off of an idle race car in the LaFavre Race Teams' shops, hauled it down to Nashville, Tenn., and proceeded to earn his second career Gibson guitar by...

Nashville, Tenn. - November 5, 2000 - Veteran late model campaigner Mike Garvey knocked the dust off of an idle race car in the LaFavre Race Teams' shops, hauled it down to Nashville, Tenn., and proceeded to earn his second career Gibson guitar by winning the $128,330 20th Annual MBNA All American 400 at Nashville Speedway, U.S.A. In addition to the coveted custom guitar the Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring win was worth $24,150 to Garvey. "This car used to be run by Jimmy Mars in the RE/MAX Challenge Series, NASCAR Touring. We were actually thinking about selling it but I told the team we needed to try to win the final All American 400 since it was ready to go," stated Garvey. "I had a lot of fun out there today. At one point, for like 20 or 30 laps I was side-by-side, nose-to-tail and door handle-to-door handle with Jody Ridley. It was just like old times. There were a lot of drivers out there today that I didn't know but racin' with Jody was as good as it gets. Geez, I guess I'm one of the old timers now," stated the 38-year-old Muskegon, Mich. native. Another "northerner," Janesville, Wisc.'s Travis Kvapil surprised 67 other drivers during Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday when he captured the $300 Bud Pole Award in his first visit to the 0.596-mile oval. Kvapil earned the right to start his Sports Now Sports Paging Chevrolet from the pole position when he registered a qualifying run in a time of 18.352 seconds equating to a lap speed of 116.914 mph. The top 30 starting positions were determined during Friday's qualifying session, with the balance of the 41-car starting field set to be determined during a last chance qualifying race scheduled to be run on Saturday. A persistent drizzle prevented the qualifying race from being run so the balance of the starting field was determined by Friday's qualifying times as well as provisional spots which were outlined on the race's entry blank. Outside front row starter Scott Carlson grabbed the early lead and lead the first 94 laps, surrendering the top spot during the race's sixth caution period, at which point polesitter Kvapil elected not to pit while several of the front runners did. Kvapil maintained the top spot until lap 113 when two-time All American 400 winner Wayne Anderson took over the top spot after Kvapil pitted during the next caution period. Anderson's reign at the front was challenged first by Ron Young, then by Tony Walls, but it was ultimately Brian Smith who grabbed control of the race at lap 138. Smith kept his Juba Glass Chevrolet out front for the next 31 laps until Mardy Lindley, son of inaugural All American 400 winner Butch Lindley, pushed his Sysco Foods/Aloe Luya Chevrolet into the lead. Lindley held down the top spot from lap 170 through lap 183 when Jody Ridley moved his familiar #98 Ford Thunderbird into the lead. It was then that Garvey began to show his muscle. Garvey repeatedly tried to take the spot away from Ridley but the Chatsworth, Ga. veteran held the preferred line, and held off Garvey's advances. Finally, on lap 222, Garvey grabbed the lead for the first time. He held the point until surrendering it to David Reutimann on lap 244, during the race's 12th caution period. His lead was short-lived as Ridley moved into the lead again on lap 254 but Ridley was then overhauled by Garvey on lap 268. Another round of pit stops during the race's 13th caution handed the lead to Ron Breese, Jr. but Garvey took command one final time two laps after the race returned to green, on lap 329 to be exact. He had to survive a late race caution, and subsequent restart to secure the win. Garvey took the checkered flag on lap 405 after a green-white-checkered finish and squeezed out a 0.728 second margin of victory over Breese. Lindley grabbed the third spot while series points leader Billy Bigley, Jr. earned the fourth spot. Polesitter Kvapil completed the top five while Smith, Jeff Kendall and Lee Tissot represented the remaining cars completing all 405 laps. The ninth and 10th positions went to Daniel Fredrickson and Anderson, both one lap down to the race winner. There were a total of 15 caution periods for 95 laps and a whopping 17 lead changes among 11 drivers. The race was run in three hours, 11 minutes and 47 seconds and Garvey's winning average speed was 74.584 mph. Bigley's fourth place finish allowed him to earn his first career NASCAR Touring championship, as he snagged the Slim Jim All Pro Series points title. Jeff Fultz settled for a second place points finish for the second time in his career, trailing Bigley by 126 points. Reutimann held onto the third spot, trailing Fultz by 51 tallies. Smith and Tissot rounded out the top five points positions while Anderson, A.J. Frank, Kevin Prince, Ken Weaver and Benny Gordon completed the top 10. Garvey led on three separate occasions for a total of 152 laps to earn the $500 Gatorade Front Runner Award. Bigley clinched the annual Gatorade Front Runner Award by just one point over Anderson. Garvey's crew chief Bond Suss grabbed the $300 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award for the team's race win. Bigley's former crew chief had already clinched the year-long points chase in this category. Fairhope, Ala.'s Billy Mills earned the $250 Moroso Performance Products Rookie-of-the-Race award by virtue of his 12th place finish. Ryan Crane grabbed runnerup honors in the category after a 16th place finish. Casey Yunick had clinched the Rookie-of-the-Year award prior to the running of the All American 400. The 20th Annual MBNA All American 400 will be televised on Sunday, November 12 at 4:00 p.m., eastern time, on TNN, The National Network. Bigley and the rest of the top 20 drivers in the Slim Jim All Pro Series will be feted on Saturday night, November 18 at the annual awards banquet. The banquet will be held at the Atlanta Airport Hilton in Atlanta, Ga.

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Drivers Jimmy Mars , Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Ron Young , Brian Smith , Wayne Anderson , A.J. Frank , Travis Kvapil