NASCAR SJAPS: Hansen Declared Winner of Greased Lightning 150
16 November 1998Homestead, Fla. - Green Bay, Wisc.'s Scott Hansen was declared the winner of the $92,650 Greased Lightning 150 on Saturday afternoon at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex after Steven Howard's Chevrolet Monte Carlo failed the post-race technical inspection. Hansen earned $13,300 for his fourth career Slim Jim All Pro Series win, part of NASCAR's Touring Division.
"You want to win on the track, but this counts as a win. But this will be good for all our guys. We came here and were a little off. This is the biggest track I've run a late model on," stated the driver of the Ken Schrader owned Budweiser Chevrolet.
On Friday afternoon Concord, N.C.'s Sean Studer earned his second career Bud Pole, and first of 1998 as he bested the track record which he established in 1997. The driver of the Old El Paso Mexican Style Foods/Hi-C Chevrolet sped around the 1.5 mile oval in a time of 37.472 seconds at an average speed of 144.108 mph. The second year driver shaved one tenth of a second off of his 1997 lap time.
"I'd like to dedicate this pole to my long time friend Chris Helms, who died in a car accident a couple weeks ago. He was on my crew last year," noted the second year driver.
At the drop of the green Studer showed that his pole-winning run was no fluke. He quickly established himself as the one to catch as he was able to open a sizable lead only to have his advantage erased during two early race cautions.
On lap 30 the third caution of the event occurred, ordered by NASCAR officials to allow the teams to check for excessive tire wear. Many teams' pre-race concerns were unfounded, especially when Studer and rookie driver Ronnie Burkett stayed on the track during the caution, and ultimately not making a tire change until lap 47. The leaders pitted during the race's fourth caution period which occurred as a result of a spin by hometown favorite Mike Franklin.
Green flag racing resumed on lap 52 with Howard leading the pack for his first of tours at the front at the wheel of his Greer Flooring Center/Trucks and More mount.
Since the caution period extended to and beyond the race's halfway point at lap 50 the Gatorade Front Runner Award was awarded to the driver who led on lap 56. Mooresville, N.C.'s Freddie Query put an exclamation point on having already clinched the season long points battle for the annual Gatorade award as he passed Howard on lap 53 to take the $300 award. Query kept his Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet out front until lap 81 when Howard ran down the series point leader and executed the final lead change of the 100-lap event. Howard then weaved his way through lapped traffic with Hansen in hot pursuit but at the stripe Howard's apparent margin of victory was 0.528 seconds.
Once the post-race inspection results were completed and Hansen was declared the winner Derrick Gilchrist was elevated to the runner-up spot. Studer rallied to his best career finish of third and Query settled for fourth after fading late in the race. In making his first start at the fast, flat oval, Coy Gibbs notched his second top five finish in four 1998 starts, finishing fifth in his MBNA Chevrolet. The sixth through 10th positions went to Rich Bickle, Robert Burroughs, Bobby Gill, Scott Riggs and Burkett.
The 150 mile race was completed in one hour, 24 minutes and 45 seconds at a winning average speed of 106.195 mph. Four caution periods ate up 26 laps and there were four lead changes among four drivers. Fourteen cars of the 40-car starting field finished on the lead lap and there were 30 cars running at the end of the race.
Query had to do nothing more than start the race to clinch his first career Slim Jim All Pro Series championship. When all was said and done Query outdistanced runner-up Gilchrist by 192 points. Gilchrist displaced Goodson for the runner-up position by a mere four points. The fourth and fifth points positions changed as well as Billy Bigley, Jr. swapped spots with Steven Christian, edging out Christian by eight points. Ron Young overhauled David Reutimann for the sixth spot, outpointing the Zephyrhills, Fla. driver by 13 points. Rookie Scott Kilby, Studer and Burkett maintained their eighth through 10th place point positions.
Burkett's 10th place finish earned him the Rookie of the Race award but it was not enough to overtake Kilby for the Rookie-of-the-Year award. Kilby edged the Big Daddy's BBQ Sauces & Spices Chevrolet driver by a mere three points in the season-long battle.
Gilchrist's Crew Chief Robert Hamke picked up the $300 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Crew-Chief-of-the-Race honors for the third time this season. Alex Query had previously clinched the Crew-Chief-of-the-Year honors and will pick up his winnings at the annual awards banquet.
The Greased Lightning 150 will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, November 22, at 7:30 p.m. The Query's, father and driver Freddie, son and crew chief Alex, Rookie-of-the-Year Kilby and all of the teams, sponsors, track owners, media, family and friends will reconvene to salute the 1998 season on January 8, 1999. The Slim Jim All Pro Series Awards Banquet will be held at 7:30 p.m. that night at the Atlanta Airport Hilton in Atlanta, Ga.