SES: Scott Carlson wins at Mobile

IRVINGTON, Al. (March 25 2001) - Scott Carlson earned the nickname "Long Race Ace" competing at Mobile International Speedway through the years and Sunday was no different when he won the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring AllTel Mobile ...

IRVINGTON, Al. (March 25 2001) - Scott Carlson earned the nickname "Long Race Ace" competing at Mobile International Speedway through the years and Sunday was no different when he won the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring AllTel Mobile 200.

This was the first event in 2001 for the series and Carlson's first NASCAR career victory.

Carlson, in a new ride for 2001, had to hold a fierce challenge from 2000 Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Champion Billy Bigley Jr. and three-time series champion Jody Ridley.

These three drivers dominated the event during the afternoon that saw 11 caution periods for 65 laps. Twenty-six were running at the finish. Rounding out the top five finishing positions behind Carlson's Hamner Racing Chevrolet, was Bigley's Peerless Woodworking/Hamner Race Engines Chevrolet, Ridley's Craig Motorsports, Black Hawk Builders/Aldor Ford, Randy Gentry's Carolina Painting Chevrolet and Josh Clemons' SkySpy/Tech Star Chevrolet.

"This was a great run for this new team," said a jublilant Carlson in victory lane. "We lost the sponsorship we had last year to another team and without Jeff Hamner we probably wouldn't have been in this race. This is an all volunteer team and they have worked hard to get this car ready. Our experience and laps here helped."

"Billy Bigley and Jody Ridley are tremendous competitors and the race was a clean race most of the time. We had a little bumping going on during the latter stages of the race but for the most part it was a good clean race." "Scott had a strong car today," commented Bigley, who had an off weekend from his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride. I also had a Hamner engine but Scott's car was able to pull away off the corners and the way he used lapped cars, I just couldn't get around him.

Carlson turned in the fast qualifying lap on Saturday when he toured the ½-mile speedplant in 17.911 Secs (100.496 mph) to earn his second career Bud pole award. Stanley Smith, returning to NASCAR short-track racing for the first time since 1993, started his Express Oil Change Chevrolet on the outside front row.

Carlson grabbed the point when Smith's machine didn't come up to speed at the start with Ridley, Eddie Mercer, Wayne Anderson and Smith the top five cars. The second race caution flew on lap 30 when the cars of Clemons, Jimmy Foster, Casey Yunick and Billy McGinnis tangled in turn one. Foster's car came to rest over the embankment in turn one requiring a red flag condition for 15 minutes.

When racing resumed Ridley pressed for the lead early but could not get around Carlson's car as other cautions kept the field in check. "I just didn't have the engine to get around him," said Ridley after the race. "Then we had a right rear seal leaking like Bigley and the two of us got to racing each other at the end. Carlson just drove a way from us. But this was a good start for the year." The fifth race caution saw the top seven cars pit with Carlson making a four-tire stop while the others made a two tire stop. That was his only stop during the event.

When Carlson and others pitted, Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Rookie contender Wayne Bowen assumed the lead under caution taking the green flag on lap 85. However that was shortlived as lap 86 saw the sixth caution wave when Steven Howard's machine went off turn 3. Then Bowen's car got tapped from behind and he spun in turn four. The incident also involved Wayne Anderson's Jani-King Chevrolet as it hit the Kevin Bryant's Southern Insurance Agency Chevrolet sitting on the frontstretch. Anderson car caught fire but that was quickly extinquished.

David Reutimann took over the top spot for the next 25 laps until Bigley made a charge to regain the point with Carlson following putting Reutimann's car back to third. Ridley was back up to fourth with Brian Smith rounding out the top five cars.

From this point on to the end of the race, Bigley and Carlson ran bumper to bumper swapping the lead back and forth till Carlson gained control on lap 135.

A final race caution waved on lap 199 setting up a green-white-checked finish for five extra laps.

Rounding out the top ten finishers were Jeff Fultz, Chad Bland, Reutimann, Brian Smith and Stanley Smith.

Richie Beasly was the top finishing Gatorade All Pro Series Rookie contender with Vic Barsh winning the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award.

Carlson led 152 laps to earn the Gatorade Front Runner Award

The next event for the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring will be the Nashville All Pro 200 on April 14 at Nashville Speedway USA.

-Bill Desmond

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Drivers Billy Bigley , David Reutimann , Jeff Fultz , Brian Smith , Wayne Anderson , Eddie Mercer