SES: Results - Heartland Park Topeka

Christian Captures First '97 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Win TOPEKA, KS - July 26, 1997 - The 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series season has been a case of feast or famine for Sugar Hill, GA's Steven Christian. When the checkered flag waved...

Christian Captures First '97 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Win TOPEKA, KS - July 26, 1997 - The 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series season has been a case of feast or famine for Sugar Hill, GA's Steven Christian. When the checkered flag waved on the $93,100 Coca-Cola Shootout at Heartland Park Topeka, Christian was ready to feast on the spoils of victory as he bested a field of 31 other drivers for his first series win of '97. Earning a career high $12,175, in front of a live TNN television audience, Christian piloted his race car to a 46.55 second victory over series points leader Jeff Fultz. In a post race press conference Christian gave praise to his crew chief Sammy Shumate who made some critical strategic calls, "We stopped during the first caution to work on our shifter and then during the second caution we came in and got as much fuel into our BellSouth Chevrolet as we could. It was enough to allow us to run to the end of the race and we finally found victory lane in '97!" Commenting on his relative lack of road course experience Christian stated, "The first 30 laps of the race were almost a practice session, I was learning the track and honing my shifting points. We only made about half the race last year when we experienced rear end trouble." Busch Pole qualifying was conducted European style with four groups of 11 cars taking to the 2.1 mile road course, each attempting to secure a timed lap that would qualify them for the 32 car starting field. NASCAR Winston Cup Series star Bobby Hamilton captured his first career Busch Pole in NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series competition, and became the ninth different pole sitter in 12 series events, as he clicked off a lap of 86.369 seconds which equated to 87.531 mph. The event served as an invitational event for drivers from the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest and Reb-Co Northwest Tours with drivers from those respective series capturing the next four of five starting positions. Northwest Tour driver Greg

Biffle earned the outside front row starting position while Fairfield, CA's Jim Inglebright qualified third in front of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standout Ron Hornaday, Jr. The third row was made up of John Metcalf and M.K. Kanke, two more regulars on the Featherlite Southwest Tour. Only one lap had been completed when the first full course caution was displayed after the Wattyl Paints Chevrolet of Toronto, Ontario, Canada's John Cadman experienced engine problems and came to rest in a precarious position just off of the race course. When green flag racing resumed Hamilton took advantage of his top starting position and quickly moved back around Biffle after the Spokane, WA driver led the first lap. Hamilton paced the field until lap nine when Biffle once again displayed his road course prowess and regained the lead. The race's second and final caution period occurred on lap 12 when several cars got off the track at several locations as a result of oil on the racing surface. It was during this extended caution that Shumate made the call for Christian to pit, change tires and top off the fuel. It proved to be a winning choice as Shumate's strategy paid off for the BellSouth team. As other drivers pitted at later stages in the race Christian continued his climb to the top spot, eventually taking over on lap 35 and staying out front until the checkered flag waved. Milford, OH's Fultz led once for nine laps in his King Motorsports Chevrolet enroute to a second place finish in his first ever road race and Roxboro, NC's Carl Long drove his Austin Cracker Sandwiches Chevrolet to a third place finish. Rounding out the top five were polesitter Hamilton and Hank Parker, Jr., in Parker's first ever road course start as well. Rounding out the top 10 were Tony Toste, Ron Young, Sean Monroe, Kanke and Hal Goodson. With his second place finish Fultz extended his points lead to 77 over Goodson while Young displaced David Reutimann for the third spot with Reutimann dropping to fourth. Nipper Alsup maintained the fifth spot in the Slim Jim All Pro Series point standings. With his win Christian moved from ninth to eighth in the annual points dash. Long's weekend proved to be very successful as he was the top qualifying Slim Jim All Pro Series regular, then, by virtue of his third place finish, earned the Port City Racing Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this year. Reutimann, who earned Rookie of the Race Runner-Up honors, now leads Long by 32 points in the season long rookie battle. Shumate picked up $300 as his crack decisions propelled his driver to victory lane and earned himself the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award. Shumate now trails the triumvirate of Michael Williams, Larry Rapp and Jimmy King who guide the team efforts for Wayne Anderson, Young and Fultz respectively. Shumate is just four points behind the trio. The next event for the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series will take place at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC. The Bi-Lo Bonuscard 200 is scheduled for Saturday night, August 2. -30- For further information contact NASCAR Public Relations at (770) 486-3591. jn

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , David Reutimann , Ron Young , Carl Long , John Metcalf , Jim Inglebright , Wayne Anderson
Teams Williams