NASCAR SJAPS: Goodson Wins Memphis Inaugural
15 September 1998Millington, Tenn. - Before a capacity crowd, the Slim Jim All Pro Series, part of NASCAR's Touring Division, made its initial foray to the Memphis Motorsports Park and points leader Hal Goodson held off some cagey veterans to win the $75,200 Kroger/Greased Lightning 100 on Sunday afternoon.
"I was lucky to hold off Bobby (Gill). He passed me on that restart and I said to myself I can't let that happen again or this race might get away from me," stated Goodson in a post-race interview. "This has been a great weekend for the entire Fain Enterprises Nortel/Northern Telecom team. I hope this track is on the schedule next year, it's been good to us," added the Darlington, S.C. driver.
Goodson earned his second Bud Pole Award in as many tries as he outpaced 31 other drivers to grab the top starting spot. He drove his Nortel/Northern Telecom Chevrolet around the 0.75 mile oval in a time of 22.124 seconds at an average speed of 122.039 mph. Goodson's pole run was his third of 1998 and seventh of his career. He is now squarely in the hunt for the annual award for most Bud Poles. Freddie Query leads the battle with four poles while Goodson, Billy Bigley, Jr. and Derrick Gilchrist are tied with three poles each.
Goodson took charge at the drop of the green flag with Steven Howard and Gilchrist battling for the second position. The first caution waved on lap four when the drive shaft broke on David Reutimann's Jiffy Lube Chevrolet. During this caution period most of the leaders pitted and rookie Ronnie Burkett assumed command at the wheel of his Big Daddy's BBQ Sauces & Spices Chevrolet. Burkett held the top spot until the second caution waved when Memphis, Tenn.'s Eddie Hanks crashed into the turn two wall. At that point the Sorrento, Fla. driver surrendered the point and Goodson regained the lead on lap 31.
Goodson maintained the lead while Gill, Query, Howard and Gilchrist gave chase. Goodson maintained a comfortable advantage and picked up the $300 Gatorade Frontrunner Award for leading at the race's halfway point and appeared headed for an easy victory. This was not to be the case when the fourth caution period occurred on lap 75 when fluid was spotted on the track. On the lap 81 restart Dalton, Ga.'s Gill got past Goodson but the two battled door-to-door coming out of turn two and Goodson regained the point. While the duo was dicing for position Query closed in at the wheel of his Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet and dropped Gill back to the third position. Query could not hold off the determined Gill for long as he took back the second position on lap 89.
The race's final caution occurred on lap 97 when BellSouth Chevrolet driver Steven Christian made contact with the wall, effectively ending the day for his team. This set up a green-white-checkered finish, and extended the race to 102 laps. Goodson held off Gill on the final restart to record his second win of 1998 and 10th of his career. Gill and Query settled for second and third while Mike Cope and Gilchrist rounded out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Bigley, Jeff Fultz, Ron Young, Sean Studer and Scott Riggs.
For the third week in a row a Slim Jim All Pro Series race was run in record time. Goodson covered the 100 lap, 75 mile distance in 56 minutes and 45 seconds at a winning average speed of 80.881 mph and his margin of victory over Gill was 0.321 seconds. There were a total of six caution periods totaling 34 laps and there were four lead changes amongst three drivers. Twenty two of 32 starters were running at the end of the race and 14 cars completed all 102 laps.
With his win Goodson maintained the lead in the Slim Jim All Pro Series point standings, increasing his margin to 21 points over Query. Gilchrist, Christian and Bigley round out the top five in the points chase. Simpsonville, S.C.'s David Moyer, after registering a strong qualifying run in his Dolphins & Friends Cheddar Bite Size Crackers Chevrolet, wound up as the Rookie-of-the-Race, finishing the race in the 11th position. For Rookie-of-the-Year honors, Scott Kilby now leads Burkett by six points with four races left in the 1998 season.
Goodson's Crew Chief David Honney earned $300 from Jasper Engines & Transmissions for Crew-Chief-of-the-Race honors. Alex Query now leads Honney by 14 points in the chase for Crew-Chief-of-the-Year honors.
The Kroger/Greased Lightning 100 will be televised on October 2 at 2:00 p.m. eastern time on ESPN2 and will repeat at 2:00 a.m. on October 8. The next event for the Slim Jim All Pro Series is Sunday afternoon, September 27 at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Ind. The 29th Annual Snap-On Tools/Roger Holdeman Memorial Winchester 400 will be the 16th event on the 19-race 1998 Slim Jim All Pro Series schedule.