SES: Nashville race report
NASHVILLE, TN. (September 29 2001) - Wayne Anderson is leaving little doubt among fellow competitors that he is out to win a second Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Championship. Anderson, the 1999 series title holder, dominated his second ...
NASHVILLE, TN. (September 29 2001) - Wayne Anderson is leaving little doubt among fellow competitors that he is out to win a second Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring Championship.
Anderson, the 1999 series title holder, dominated his second consecutive series race in recording his 21st career victory Saturday evening winning the True Value/The Tennessean 200 at Nashville (TN) Speedway USA. The Wildwood, Fla. driver led 214 of 250 laps at Louisville Motor Speedway on September 8 and 128 of 200 laps at Nashville. For the year Anderson has led 32% of the total laps run on the series The series ran two events at the .596-mile speedplant in 2001 with Anderson going to victory lane twice with his Augie Grill prepared Jani-King Chevrolet.
"I just want to tell everyone here tonight, I Am Proud To Be An American," said Anderson's after exciting his racecar in victory lane.
"Nashville is a great track to drive and we have been very fortunate to win three times at his track including two All American 400's. And after tonight we have four wins at this track."
When asked about his pit stop when he entered first but exited second behind Eddie Mercer, Anderson said, "Eddie has a great crew, I have a great crew. They just got him out a tick faster than our pit stop.
Frankie (Grill), my car owner, just told me to keep the pressure on his car and I did. Eddie (Mercer) is a great driver and his car was strong until it developed a problem otherwise we might not have been so fortunate."
Finishing behind the race winner was Scott Carlson, Randy Gentry, Shane Sieg, and David Reutimann.
Longtime NASCAR competitor Stanley Smith recorded his first career series start from the pole position winning the Bud Pole with a clocking of 18.783 Secs (114.231 mph) in his Express Oil Change Chevrolet with Anderson starting outside front row. The entire 36 car starting field qualified within .76 seconds of each other.
Smith and Anderson went door handle to door handle on the first lap before Anderson nudged ahead at the flag stand to take the point. Once in the lead, he worked traffic with Smith, Mercer, young Casey Smith, making his first series start, and Steven Howard running in the top five. Two of these early contenders fell prey to engine problems that ended their night of racing early. Bud pole winner Stanley Smith exited the event on lap 65 and Casey Smith exited on lap 71, when their machines suffered engine problems.
Also suffering early race problems was Jeff Fultz, who pitted on lap 50 for four fresh Hoosier tires than had to pit again on lap 85. When he returned to the race he was three laps off the pace putting a damper on his championship situation.
When the fourth race caution waved on lap 97 after Beau Mitchell, another first time starter made contact with the backstretch wall. All lead lap cars except for Charlie Bradberry and Ryan Crane did not pit. Anderson let the field into the pits for four fresh shoes but quick work by Mercer's crew got their driver out ahead of Anderson's car. Crane's car broke an oil line sending his car into the turn one wall for the fourth race caution on lap 107. That incident also collected the car of first time started Ken McFarland.
Then race leader Bradberry made his first pit stop on lap 120 taking on four fresh tires and fuel handing the top spot to Mercer with Anderson in second, Carlson running third, Genty in fourth and Steven Howard rounding out the top five.
When the field went back racing on lap 127, Mercer's Everwood/Phoenix/Quality Shop Chevrolet got a good jump on Anderson with the two cars breaking away from the rest of the top ten cars. Mercer was out to gain his second win of the season but just as in the spring series event here Anderson was lurking in Mercer's mirror. Anderson tried a number of times to get the nose of his car alongside Mercer's car but each time "Fast Eddie" was able to slam the door.
The final race caution on lap 166 saw the cars of Howard and Greg Pope make contact on the backstretch with Howard's car cutting down a right front tire.
With Mercer at the point for the start Anderson took his car low in turn one and into the lead once again. Mercer's car started to fall off the pace quickly with an apparent problem as first Carlson, then Gentry, then Sieg passed his car. Mercer limped home with a tenth place.
"We just seem to always have something go wrong here," said Mercer in the garage.. "Tonight it was a rearend problem that caused a win. In April we lost the point to Anderson on exactly the same lap with a bad set of tires. Maybe one of these days things will go our way."
Rounding out the top finishers were Benny Gordon with one of his best runs at this track, top Wireway Husky, Corp competitor Charlie Bradberry, A. J. Frank, Ken Weaver with another strong run after starting 31st and Mercer. Anderson won the Gatorade "FrontRunner" Award for leading the most laps as well as picking up an additional $1,000 from the Gatorade Championship Performance Program. His crew chief Augie Grill earned the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Award for the sixth time this year.
Bradberry was the top finishing Wireway/Husky Corp Rookie of the Year Contender and now trails Jody Lavender by one point for that 2001 title. The next event for the Gatorade All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring will be the Recycled Oil 125 on October 11-12 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Millington, Tn.