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NASCAR SJAPS: Goodson Outduels Bigley for First Win of 1998

10 August 1998

Asheboro, N.C. - An 8:00 p.m. downpour temporarily delayed the start of the $43,250 Arndt & Herman Windows 200 on Saturday night at Caraway Speedway. Once the track was dried those hearty fans not driven away by the rain witnessed an outstanding Slim Jim All Pro Series race, part of NASCAR's Touring Division.Darlington, S.C.'s Hal Goodson narrowly defeated Naples, Fla.'s Billy Bigley, Jr. to earn $9,200 and capture his first win of 1998.

"My hat's off to Billy (Bigley, Jr.), he raced me hard and he raced me clean. I know he'd expect the same of me if I was behind him," Goodson stated. "I'm happy for our team's sponsor Nortel/Northern Telecom. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to find victory lane this year. Things are really going in the right direction for us now and I hope we win some more races real soon," he added.

Mooresville, N.C.'s Freddie Query captured his fourth Bud Pole Award of 1998 as he was the fastest of 29 cars that went under the clock during Bud Pole qualifying. Query, along with 17 other drivers, broke the previous track record. Query toured the 0.455 mile oval in a time of 16.481 seconds at an average speed of 99.387 mph to eclipse the previous record of 16.810 seconds set by Derrick Gilchrist last year.

Once the track was dried Query led the 29-car-field to the green flag and the Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser driver, along with outside pole sitter Coy Gibbs, raced nose-to-tail until the first caution waved on lap 32 when Raleigh, N.C.'s Dan Matthews spun in turn one. During the caution period Steven Christian, Goodson, Bigley and rookie Ronnie Burkett pitted. All except Bigley changed right side tires. Just after the lap 38 restart Matthews and Burkett got together on the backstretch with Matthews' resultant spin causing the caution to be displayed again. Again Goodson pitted, this time for left side tires.

Query, Gibbs, Scott Kilby, Conrad Burr and David Reutimann held down the top five positions when the third caution waved on lap 67, which resulted from Sean Studer coming to a stop on the backstretch with a flat right front tire. At this point all of the leaders pitted, ultimately handing the lead to Ken Alexander.

Bigley and Goodson benefited from making their mandatory pit stop early in the event, with the duo moving into the second and third positions when the leaders pitted. Bigley overhauled Alexander for the top spot on lap 76, with Goodson also getting by Alexander on lap 88. Bigley and Goodson then ran nose-to-tail through the 200-lap race's halfway point and Bigley snagged the $300 Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading at lap 100. On lap 106 Goodson motored around Bigley's Team ASE Chevrolet to take the lead. Meanwhile, Query was making his march back to the front and had worked his way up to the fourth position on lap 130.

Ten laps later Query moved past Young's Chevrolet with an outside pass and it appeared that the Slim Jim All Pro Series points leader was on a march to his fifth straight victory. One lap later Easley, S.C.'s Randy Gentry spun his Carolina Painting Chevrolet in turn two which resulted in the race's fifth caution period. This afforded Query the opportunity to pull up on the bumper of Christian's BellSouth Chevrolet on the lap 134 restart. Query got by Christian on lap 139, as did Young. Young and Query got together on lap 175 bringing out the caution flag. Query spun but quickly got his mount going in the right direction and lost only two spots.

On the restart Goodson and Bigley sped away from Young and Christian and appeared headed to a one-two finish. Goodson's march to victory was temporarily delayed when the caution waved on lap 192. Scott Riggs, Gilchrist, Alexander and Gibbs crashed in turn two. The race did not restart until lap 207, and the caution was displayed again after Keith White spun on the frontstretch. On the subsequent restart Query and Kilby made contact and Query spun into the end of the pit wall for his first DNF of the year.

A green-white-checkered finish was finally accomplished on the next restart and Goodson held off Bigley by 0.14 seconds for the win after 219 laps, 19 more than the scheduled distance. Christian and Young finished third and fourth while Kilby secured his second top five finish of the season to capture rookie-of-the-race honors. Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Mendenhall, Reutimann, Gilchrist, Alexander and rookie David Moyer.

Eight cars finished on the lead lap while 20 of 29 starters were still running when the checkered flag waved. The race was run in one hour, 28 minutes and 19 seconds and Goodson averaged 66.696 mph over the 219 lap distance. Eight caution periods consumed 61 laps and there were five lead changes among six drivers.

Query's accident not only damaged his car but also his point lead as his lead shrunk from 170 points to 99. Goodson now holds down the runner-up spot by an 85 point cushion over Bigley with Gilchrist and Christian rounding out the top five.

As was previously mentioned Arndt & Herman Windows Pontiac driver Kilby grabbed the rookie-of-the-race honors and now leads Burkett by five points. In the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge David Honney earned $300 after leading the Fain Enterprises team's pit side effort in Goodson's winning run. Honney now moves into the second position behind Alex Query in the chase for the $3000 year-end crew chief award.

The Arndt & Herman Windows 200 will be televised on August 24, 1998 at 8:00 p.m. eastern time on Home Team Sports and Fox Sports South. Viewers will also find the race on The Sunshine Network. Check local listings for The Sunshine Network air date and time.

The next event for the Slim Jim All Pro Series is Saturday night, August 15 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. The Bi-Lo BonusCard 200 will be the 12th event on the 19-race 1998 Slim Jim All Pro Series schedule.