NASHVILLE, TN. (April 14 2001) - Wayne Anderson picked up where he left off in 2000 visiting victory lane, to garner his first win of 2001, winning the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Gatorade All Pro 200 at Nashville Speedway USA. With...
NASHVILLE, TN. (April 14 2001) - Wayne Anderson picked up where he left off in 2000 visiting victory lane, to garner his first win of 2001, winning the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Gatorade All Pro 200 at Nashville Speedway USA.
With one more victory in 2001, Anderson can tie Freddie Query for the most wins on the series with 17 stops in victory lane.
Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet had to hold a fierce charge by 2000 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion Billy Bigley Jr.'s Peerless Woodworking Chevrolet in the final two laps after Bigley passed Eddie Mercer's Everwood/Phoenix Construction Chevrolet with just two laps remaining.
Rounding out the top five drivers were two RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Touring competitors, Ron Breese, Jr. and J. R. Roahrig.
The entire 200-lap event was and old fashion dual between Anderson, Mercer and Bigley.
Mercer won the Bud Pole starting spot when he toured the .596-mile speedplant with a fast lap of 18.695 Secs (114.768 mph) with 1989 NASCAR All American Challenge Series Champion Stanley Smith starting on the outside front row. Forty-seven drivers checked in for this event with 44 cars actually taking qualifying runs.
"What can I say about this Auggie Grill prepared car," said Anderson in victory lane. It ran flawless tonight. I want to give Billy Bigley a great big pat on the back. He is one heck of a driver. He was coming on strong at the end and with the slower cars in front of me I used the rear-view mirror on those last two laps."
Mercer got a good jump on Smith when the green flag waved with Anderson jumping to second on lap three after he and Smith went door handle to door handle for two laps.
Anderson had his sights on the leader but Mercer was strong and opened a huge lead. Anderson kept pressing and worked his way to the front finally catching Mercer's car on the restart of the first race caution. He tried the high side in turn one for the lead but Mercer kept him at bay coming off turn two. However, the next lap Anderson again went to the high side of turn one and take the point.
Anderson was relentless on the field, once at the point, as he picked off slower cars one by one with Bigley in tow as they broke away from the cars of Mercer, Stanley Smith, Charlie Bradberry and David Reutimann with at least a half-track lead.
When the second race caution occurred on lap 88, the leaders pitted for four new Hoosier tires with Ron Breese Jr. staying on the track to take the top spot. Mercer's crew had his car out first and when racing resumed on lap 94, it only took him one lap to regain the point which he held through lap 170.
Anderson took over the runnerup position from Breese on lap 101 and the remaining laps saw Anderson pursue Mercer to lap 161 when he closed within one car length. Anderson regained the lead for the second time on lap 170 in turn one. Mercer kept close but his tires and rhythm were gone.
Bigley made his late charge for the win taking second from Mercer with two laps to go but not enough laps remained to get close enough to Anderson for a win.
Rounding out the top ten postions were Brian Smith with a very solid run from his 29th starting spot, A. J. Frank, even stronger from his 32nd starting spot, Jeff Fultz, Wireway Huskey, Inc. Rookie-of-the Year contender Charlie Bradberry and Scott Carlson with another lead lap finish.
Bigley second place finish moved him to the top of the Gatorade All Pro Series points standing over Carlson.
Anderson won not only the Gatorade "Front Runner" Award but also took home an additional $1,000 with the Gatorade Championship Performance Award.
Charlie Bradberry was the top finishing Wireway Huskey, Inc. Rookie-of-the Year contender with Auggie Grill winning the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award.
The next event for Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring drivers will be the Discount Auto Parts 200 Saturday, April 21, at USA International Speedway.