SES: Nashville: Round four preview

Harmon Memorial event at Nashville Superspeedway fitting Daytona Beach, FL. (May 23 2003) - The NASCAR Elite Division, Kodak Southeast Series returns to Nashville Superspeedway for a very momentous occasion on June 6 honoring one of...

Harmon Memorial event at Nashville Superspeedway fitting

Daytona Beach, FL. (May 23 2003) - The NASCAR Elite Division, Kodak Southeast Series returns to Nashville Superspeedway for a very momentous occasion on June 6 honoring one of the greatest short track promoters in the country, the late "Uncle Bob" Harmon with the $119,628 "Bob Harmon Memorial" Sunbelt Rentals 125.

Harmon, the founder of the former All Pro Super Series, former promoter of Nashville Speedway USA and a promoter/consultant with the Kodak Southeast Series, passed away on May 30 2002, at the age of 69, from lung cancer.

Harmon will go down as a legend in the racing world because his barnstorming style of promotion which proved to be very successful for over 50 years in building racing careers of many drivers who went on to outstanding NASCAR careers.

Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President for Communications probably put things in perspective just before Bob's passing with these words, "You have always been my hero Bob because you saved short track racing in the South."

Ironically he started his racing career in the Birmingham, Al. arena and that is where it ended when he made his last visit to Birmingham International Raceway for a series event on May 11 2002. His "Unofficial Board Of Advisors", as he referred to them, in helping him launch his $30,000 All Pro Super Series in 1980, consisted of Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, the late Neil Bonnett and Red Farmer were all from the Birmingham, Al. area.

Harmon cherished his association with Dover Downs Entertainment Group/Nashville Superspeedway, the Nashville Speedway USA, and the Nashville area. His All American 400, held for 19 years at the fairgrounds, brought together short track drivers from across the United States and will always be remembered as one of the greatest short track happening in motorsports.

This will be the fourth event for this series at the 1.333- mile oval that has been heralded by many as a showcase facility. Four different drivers have etched their name in the record books with this series, Eddie Hoffman, Ryan Hemphill and Jeff Fultz via winning the three races and Eddie Mercer and Fultz by winning Bud Pole Starts. Qualifying for the first event in 1991 was not held due to inclement weather.

Fultz holds the qualifying mark, set in 2002, with a speed of 147.655 mph while Huffman holds the race record at 95.505 mph for a 150-lap event set in 2001.

Fultz the defending series champion has been tough in superspeedway races with his C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet winning at Nashville and twice at Kentucky Speedway. Fultz works for the Jasper Engines NASCAR Winston Cup Team hanging bodies when he is not competing with this series and has excellent knowledge of what will make the car move through the air.

Fultz definitely has been one of the drivers to beat on tracks over one-mile in length. Another tough competitor is Brian Smith who is in a new ride this year with the Brock Excavating team. Brian owns his own business hanging bodies on NASCAR Busch Series team cars. He has also been successful on speedway events but this year he has renewed enthusiasm when car owner Steven Brock hired former Champion of this NASCAR Series, Freddie Query, to serve as crew chief for the Smith team.

"Bringing Freddie on board was an excellent addition to this team," said Smith. He has been racing so long and in so many different venues he knows car setup like the back of his hand. He has been so successful in his own right and without a doubt he will be a great incentive to this team."

Other top drivers who have found Nashville Superspeedway to their liking have been Benny Gordon with two top five and a tenth place run in three races, Charlie Bradberry with a second, third, and sixth place finishes in three races and David Reutimann with a fifth, sixth and 11th place finish.

Bradberry would like nothing better than to put his Bradberry Racing Chevrolet in victory lane at Nashville. In this event last year, Bradberry was leading the race with one lap to go when Ryan Hemphill passed him on the backstretch denying the young Alabama driver his first NASCAR win.

Local driver Cecil Chunn has his career best finish last year in this race when he came home 10th on the lead lap. Chunn is currently second in the Victory Circle Chassis Rookie of the Year points standing behind Terry Mason Jr. who had his career best run here in 2001 with a fifth place finish. Other rookie contenders who will be in the field are John Wilkinson III, the 2002 Southern All Stars Series Champion and Justin Wakefield, who is being tutored by his crew chief, six time series champion, Jody Ridley.

Kevin Prince has added incentive in 2003 with his new national sponsor, Land O Frost Luncheon Meats. "We were very fortunate to land a sponsor like Land O Frost," said Prince. That is definitely an added incentive because now we can have the motors to run up front and be a contender. We did that at Greenville and it is entirely different being chased rather then chasing others," quipped Prince.

Action gets underway at Nashville Superspeedway for the Kodak Southeast Series on Friday, June 6 with practice from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Qualifying will take place at 12:00 pm. with the "Bob Harmon Memorial" Sunbelt Rentals 125 taking the green flat at 7:30 p.m.


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Drivers David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Ryan Hemphill , Brian Smith , John Wilkins , Jim Hunter , Red Farmer