NASCAR SJAPS: Slim Jim All Pro Series Crosses Halfway Point at Nazareth
6 July 1998Daytona Beach, Fla. - July 5, 1998 - When the checkered flag waves at the completion of the Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse/Greased Lightning 100 at Nazareth Speedway on Sunday afternoon, July 12 the teams of the Slim Jim All Pro Series, part of NASCAR's Touring Division, will have crossed the halfway point in the 1998 schedule. Many questions will have been answered, but many more will remain.
The most timely and relevant question that will be answered will be who best figured out the tricky 1.000 mile Nazareth oval and picked up the $11,600 winner's share of the $74,580 purse. BellSouth Chevrolet driver Steven Christian believes that a good finish will require "more driver, than car" and is one of only two Slim Jim All Pro Series drivers to have run on the Nazareth, Pa. track, albeit only during Hoosier Tire tests with 1997 Series Champion Hal Goodson earlier this spring. "The track has several elevation changes, and as many as two or three racing grooves that could emerge during the race," stated Sugar Hill, Ga.'s Christian. "Unlike Homestead (Fla.) where the track plays more to the car than the driver, Nazareth will require the driver to be really focused to find the fast way around the track," he added.
Other questions begging for answers can be topped by whether anyone can stop Mooresville, N.C.'s Freddie Query. The Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet driver leads the series points standings on the strength of five wins and a total of eight top 10 finishes in nine races. Other surprises include the inability of Goodson, Christian and Ron Young to yet reach victory lane in 1998. All have won before, all except Christian have led laps in 1998, but victory has eluded the talented trio, and many others, so far in 1998.
Could this race result in a first time winner? The most likely candidate to break through for the first time is Zephyrhills, Fla.'s David Reutimann. The driver of the Jiffy Lube Pontiac currently sits fifth in points after notching four top fives and six top 10's in nine starts and is always lurking around the top five when it counts. Leading rookie contender Scott Kilby is also showing some first year strength as he sits in the seventh points position and averages a top 10 finish for every two races he starts in his Arndt & Herman Windows Pontiac Grand Prix. Kilby is being shadowed by Sorrento, Fla.'s Ronnie Burkett as Burkett trails Kilby by two positions in the overall series point standings, and by a mere two points in the coveted Rookie-of-the-Year standings. After the Nazareth event, nine races will remain on the 1998 Slim Jim All Pro Series schedule and nerves and budgets will begin to grow thin as drivers strive to get a pole, a win, improve on their points position, and ultimately get to Homestead in November with some results that can serve as a springboard for 1999. This coming Sunday only one thing will be on their collective minds, and that is to come home a winner in the inaugural event for the Slim Jim All Pro Series at Nazareth Speedway.
Practice for the 100 lap event gets underway in earnest on Saturday, July 11 at 9:00 a.m. with Bud Pole Award time trials beginning immediately after NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying later that afternoon. On Sunday, July 12 the Slim Jim All Pro Series event gets the green flag at 1:00 p.m. with the Craftsman Truck Series drivers strapping into their trucks shortly after the completion of the Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse/Greased Lightning 100 to settle their score with the track and each other.