FIRST AT LAST: DUSTY WILLIAMS SCORES FIRST CAREER SOUTHEAST SERIES VICTORY SATURDAY NIGHT AT SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (May 28, 2005) -- In racing, there's nothing fans love more than a first time winner. Dusty Williams made ...
FIRST AT LAST: DUSTY WILLIAMS SCORES FIRST CAREER SOUTHEAST SERIES VICTORY SATURDAY NIGHT AT SOUTH BOSTON SPEEDWAY
SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (May 28, 2005) -- In racing, there's nothing fans love more than a first time winner. Dusty Williams made himself as well as the fans rooting him on from the South Boston Speedway grandstands proud with his first career NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series victory on Saturday night in the Budweiser Salutes Armed Forces 150.
It was a night when the numbers just added up in favor of Williams who won his first career Bud Pole award. Williams drove the No. 40 Pennzoil Chevrolet to the front after the field was inverted by six positions prior to the start of the race before he went on to score first triumph in 40 career Southeast Series starts.
"This is just awesome and to finally make it to victory lane means the world to me," said an emotional Williams. "I have to thank my mom and dad, my sponsor Pennzoil, all the guys on my team as well as my crew chief Tracy Norman. This is a dream come true for me and everybody associated with this team. To be able to beat a guy like Jeff Fultz makes it mean that much more because he's a great champion."
The seventh and final caution flag set the stage for some extra racing with a green-white-checkered finish. Williams had grabbed the lead on Lap 37 but was forced to hold Fultz off on the final restart, which he did in superb fashion to finally crack victory lane in Southeast Series competition. Following the race, virtually ever single driver stopped by to congratulate Williams on his accomplishment.
"I kind of thought Jeff might try to put the bumper on me there at the end, but he raced me just as clean as I would have raced him had I been in his shoes," said Williams, a native of Garden City, Ga. "I really and truly appreciate everybody that stopped by to congratulate me. This is a night I'll never forget. I got out of the car and there were so many people standing around, it made me feel like I was truly a part of the Southeast Series family."
Fultz's runner-up finish allowed him to climb from fourth to second in the standings and only seven points behind Jason Hogan. Finishing third was J.R. Norris, followed by the top-five of Hogan and Jason Diercks.
"We had a good car that was able to come from the back of the field because I got penalized for missing the driver's meeting," Fultz said. "We struggled with the handling of the car all night long, plus having to start at the back made me that much more hungry. I thought I might have something for Dusty there at the end but he just had too good of a car and I couldn't get around him. I just want to congratulate Dusty and his entire team because they sure deserve to win. That is really a great group of people so I sure wasn't going to wreck him to win."
Norris was pleased with his third-place finish after getting the first two races of the 2005 Southeast Series season started off in miserable fashion.
"I just want to congratulate Dusty because he has tried so hard for so long," Norris said. "To finally see him win a race means a lot to everybody because he is such a nice guy. He's just had a lot of bad luck. I bet this is like him winning the Daytona 500 to him and his family as well as his team. You couldn't ask for a better first win for a guy than what Dusty pulled off here tonight. I wanted to win, but we'll take this finish and try to build on it as we head into the rest of the year."
The first caution flag of the night came out on the fifth lap when Kevin Prince had an oil leak and went for a spin in his own fluid. Greg Pope had started the race from the pole and held the point until the yellow flag was displayed, while Williams had moved from sixth to third after the field was inverted by six positions prior to the start of the event.
The second caution flag came out on Lap 51 when Southeast Series rookie driver Terry McMahan went for a harmless and masterful spin off the third turn after getting get caught up on the short end of the stick in some close-quarters racing action. Just a few laps later, the third caution was thrown on Lap 65 when Don Young made contact and sent Walter Sutcliffe for a spin in turns one and two.
The fourth caution was for debris, while the fifth yellow was thrown for an incident in the third turn between Sutcliffe and Eddie Stivers.
In the end, though, there was simply no denying Williams his first career Southeast Series victory.
The NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series returns to action June 10 at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Kentucky where J.R. Norris is the defending race winner.
Time of Race: 0 hrs., 58 mins, 15 secs
Average Speed: 63.451 mph
Margin of Victory: .219 Seconds
BUD POLE AWARD: Dusty Williams, 40 Pennzoil/Dixie Excavating Chevrolet
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER: J R Norris, 5 Victor Ford/ UPI Painting Ford
POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE: Jeff Fultz, 54 IEN/C&C Boilers Chevrolet
LUNATI CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE: Tracy Morgan, 40 Pennzoil Chevrolet
Caution Flags: Laps 8-15; 51-56; 66-70; 108-112; 117-122; 132-134; 150-152. 7 for 36 laps.
Lap Leaders: Charlie Bradberry 0, Greg Pope 1-16, Justin Diercks 17-36, Dusty Williams 37-154.
Total Laps Led: Dusty Williams 118, Justin Diercks 20, Greg Pope 16. 3 changes involving 3 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Jason Hogan 495, Jeff Fultz 488, Justin Diercks 481, Justin Wakefield 457, Charlie Bradberry 440, Greg Pope 410, Robert Richardson, II 399, Michael Foy * 389, J R Norris 377, Gary Helton * 376
Next Race: Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway -- June 10