SES: St. Augustine Story

Goodson Begins March Towards his Third Championship St. Augustine, Fla. - April 17, 1999 - Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring drivers made their third annual trek to St. Augustine Speedway for the running of the $47,350 Winn-Dixie 200 ...

Goodson Begins March Towards his Third Championship

St. Augustine, Fla. - April 17, 1999 - Slim Jim All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring drivers made their third annual trek to St. Augustine Speedway for the running of the $47,350 Winn-Dixie 200 presented by FastWax on Saturday night. Darlington, S.C.'s Hal Goodson, along with his Nortel Networks Chevrolet team, made an early race pit stop that proved to be the right move, enabling him to pick up his first win of 1999, and 11th of his career. The 34-year-old Goodson earned $10,000 as he bested a stellar field of Slim Jim all Pro Series drivers.

"The crew made the call to come in early and I agreed with them. From past experience down here…this is the third time we've been here and we felt like we should have won all three of them. We had a heck of a car, we kind of missed it last week and kind of got off of our game plan down at Lakeland. This will be something every week and there isn't any reason why we won't win a lot of them. When you have a race car like that it makes it look easy," stated Goodson.

An all-rookie front row was established during Bud Pole qualifying as Mooresville, N.C.'s Rodney Childers and Columbus, Oh.'s Robbie Pyle outpaced 31 other drivers. Childers established a new track record when he wheeled his Cleaver Brooks/C&C Boiler Chevrolet around the d-shaped half-mile oval in a time of 16.796 seconds at an average speed of 107.168 mph.

At the drop of the green Childers showed his pole position start was not beginner's luck as he sped off into turn one with Statesville, N.C.'s Scott Kilby tucking in behind the leader. The duo raced nose-to-tail during the early laps but Kilby shot by the leader on lap 28 to place his Arndt & Herman Windows sponsored mount out front.

Kilby proceeded to lead until lap 66 when Childers regained the top spot as Kilby pitted during the race's fourth caution, which resulted from a turn four pileup that involved Chad Bland, Rick Roller, Billy Bigley, Jr., Coy Gibbs and Tina Gordon. All drivers except Bland were able to continue.

Childers second tour at the front was short-lived as two-time former Slim Jim All Pro Series Champion Hal Goodson powered into the lead on lap 71. Goodson had pitted his Nortel Networks Chevrolet Monte Carlo on lap nine, during the race's first caution, and as the other lead lap cars made their stops throughout the race he effortlessly moved towards the front.

Goodson captured the $400 Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading at the race's halfway point while Childers and David Bonnett, running second and third respectively, also secured points in the season-long points chase for the annual award payoff.

Goodson continued to slip through traffic while many chased in vain. Torrid racing was going on behind the leader as many positions within the top 15 were changing on virtually every lap. Ronnie Burkett, points leader Wayne Anderson, Bigley, Gibbs, Mike Cope, Kilby, David Reutimann, Mike Franklin, Jr., Steven Howard, Bonnett, Pyle and Robert Burroughs all raced as if they were going for the lead each and every lap. And their driving prowess clearly shined as all of these drivers finished on the lead lap when the checkered flag waved. The last 29 laps were run under green, allowing Goodson to win by a 2.765 second margin. The runner-up spot was not decided until Burkett and Anderson reached the stripe as Burkett held off Anderson by two feet to earn his best career finish. Anderson settled for third with Bigley capturing the fourth position over polesitter Childers. Gibbs, Cope, Kilby, Reutimann and Franklin completed the top 10.

The race was run in a race record time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 39 seconds and Goodson's winning average speed was 83.740 mph over the 100-mile distance. Six brief caution periods consumed just 24 laps and there were three lead changes amongst three drivers. Twenty six of the 32 starters were running at the end of the 200 lap race.

Following up his season opening win with a third place finish, Anderson maintained the top spot by 19 points over Goodson. Bigley, Burkett and Reutimann round out the top five points positions.

Childers first career top five finish, in only his second Slim Jim All Pro Series race, earned him Rookie-of-the-Race honors and he trails rookie points co-leaders Franklin and Gibbs by four points. Jimmy King earned the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew-Chief-of-the-Race Award after strategizing to perform the early pit stop that helped propel Goodson to the win.

The third event on the 18-race Slim Jim All Pro Series schedule is Saturday, April 24 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C.. Bud Pole qualifying will get underway at 6:00 p.m. with a full racing program including the Ingles 200 getting the green flag at 8:00 p.m.

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Drivers Robert Burroughs , Billy Bigley , Tina Gordon , David Reutimann , Wayne Anderson