NASCAR SJAPS: Query Outruns Goodson at Lanier
5 July 1998Braselton, GA - - In what has become a midweek must see in North Georgia, the teams of the Slim Jim All Pro Series, part of NASCAR's Touring Division, competed at Lanier National Speedway in the $44,360 Gerber Tender Harvest 200 on Wednesday night, July 1. Unfortunately for the series combatants another tradition is emerging as well. Mooresville, N.C.'s Freddie Query is creating a winning tradition of his own as he picked up his fifth win in nine starts in 1998. Query drove his Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet to a 0.4 second win over 1997 Slim Jim All Pro Series Champion Hal Goodson and earned $9,200 in the process.
"These Hoosier tires were great tonight," stated Query after the event. "We really didn't know what the track would do as we haven't raced here since the track has been repaved. The track surface is great and if the race had been 300 laps we would still not have pitted. The tires were just that good," added the Slim Jim All Pro Series points leader.
Goodson outpaced 33 other drivers to earn his first Bud Pole Award of 1998. The Darlington, S.C. native wheeled the Fain Enterprises-owned Nortel/Northern Telecom Chevrolet to the top starting position in a time of 13.880 seconds at an average lap speed of 97.262 mph. It was Goodson's fifth career Bud Pole Award and moves him into a tie for fourth on the career poles list with six other drivers.
Goodson headed into turn one at the drop of the green flag and took command of the 200 lap race over outside polesitter Bobby Gill. It wasn' t long before Dalton, Ga.'s Gill caught Goodson, ducking low coming out of turn two and taking over the top spot on lap 11. As Gill led his first laps of 1998 a fierce position-swapping war waged behind the Drinkard Litho Chevrolet. Billy Bigley, Jr., Goodson, Query and Derrick Gilchrist mixed it up with Query ultimately getting by Bigley for the second spot on lap 57, then setting his sites on a spot that has become familiar to him in 1998, the lead.
On lap 75 the two late model veterans battled side-by-side and on the 78th circuit Query grabbed the top spot. Query's lead was extinguished on lap 91 when the race was red-flagged for five minutes and 12 seconds for a fiery accident involving Ken Alexander and Sean Studer. As Alexander tried to elude the spinning Studer he hit the outside wall and his Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet erupted in flames. Alexander exited the car quickly with no injuries and the track safety crew quickly extinguished the flames.
When the green flag waved again the top five consisted of Query, Bigley, Gilchrist, Goodson and Steven Christian while Gill elected to pit for fresh tires. As the race crossed the halfway point Query picked up the $300 Gatorade Front Runner Award as Bigley and Gilchrist hopelessly chased. Shortly thereafter Goodson began his march back to the front ultimately regaining the runner-up spot on lap 125. Through several more cautions Goodson was able to close up on Query's bumper but was never able to overtake him.
Query went on to record his 13th career win, on the same track that he recorded his first career win in 1993. Query now sits one victory behind leader Mike Cope on the all-time win list. Goodson finished in the second position for the second race in a row while Bigley, Gilchrist and Toby Porter rounded out the top five. Finishing sixth through 10th were top finishing rookie Ronnie Burkett, local driver Jimmy Garmon, Christian, Gill and Ron Young. There were a total of 12 cars running on the lead lap when the checkered flag waved.
Excluding the red flag period the race was run in one hour, 17 minutes and 25 seconds with Query covering the 200 lap sprint at an average speed of 62.312 mph. There were a total of 10 caution periods spanning 72 laps, all for minor spins except Alexander and Studer's fiery encounter. There were two lead changes among three drivers.
Query continues to maintain his points lead over Goodson while Bigley, Gilchrist and David Reutimann round out the top five. Christian, leading rookie contender Scott Kilby, Mardy Lindley, Burkett and Young round out the top 10.
Alex Query picked up the $300 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge Award as a result of his dad's win. For the second year in a row Ron Young's Ginn Motor Company/Cofer Bros. Building Materials Chevrolet crew, ably led by crew chief Larry Rapp, captured the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Pit Stop Contest. The team earned $600 as they bested six other teams who performed a two tire stop on the front straightaway prior to the Gerber Tender Harvest 200. Young's crew executed the maneuver in 15.22 seconds.
Burkett's sixth place finish in his Big Daddy's BBQ Sauces & Spices Chevrolet enabled him to move within two points of Kilby in the Rookie-of-the-Year chase.
The next event for the Slim Jim teams will be Sunday, July 13 at Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pa. The Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse/Greased Lightning 100 marks the first ever visit for the series to the tricky one mile paved oval.