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NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series: Season Over, Hal Goodson Champ

1 December 1997


PEACHTREE CITY, GA - In a season dominated by the achievements of a stellar
sophomore class, a veteran managed to stave off the pack of young lions to 
earn the 1997 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Championship. Darlington, SC's 
Hal Goodson edged Milford, OH's Jeff Fultz by a scant two points, less than
one finishing position, to capture his second series trophy in three years.

In the final event of the season, Goodson finished in 17th position, just one
position behind Fultz, after battling back from a cut tire on the eighth lap 
of the Greased Lightning Cleaner 150 at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports
Complex in Homestead, FL.

The championship capped off a roller coaster three-year period for the Citadel
graduate as he earned his first series title at the conclusion of 1995, then 
pursued non NASCAR opportunities in `96, which produced modest results. The 
driver of the Greased Lightning Cleaner Degreaser Chevrolet came full circle
this year by returning to the series and ultimately wrestled the points title
away from Fultz.  

Conyers, GA's Ron Young notched a career best third place points finish.
Ironically, when Goodson won the championship in 1995 he also cut down a tire
during the last race and had to battle back in a similar fashion during that 

"In '95 we cut a tire down, lost two laps but had a bigger (points) lead then,
then and now I managed to hold on for the championship," Goodson stated.
Goodson also noted, "At the first of the year I had a local car dealer, 
Burdette Chevrolet, helping me out some. Along about July Greased Lightning
came along to help us out. I'm glad we stuck with it, it was a lot of fun all
year, racin' with Jeff (Fultz) for the championship."

Fourteen different winners visited victory lane in 1997, eclipsing the 
previous record of 12 different winners in a season, which occurred in 1991
and 1994. And in those 20 races 11 were won by sophomore drivers with
Wildwood, FL's Wayne Anderson leading the series with three trips to the
winner's circle. Anderson will be graduating to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series in 1998 as his sponsor Porter Cable Power Tools is upping their support
to allow Anderson to hop into a Ford F150 next year. 

Other sophomore winners included Steven Christian, Derrick Gilchrist and Hank
Parker, Jr., each with two wins, along with Nipper Alsup and Fultz who each 
earned one win. 

Gilchrist, Alsup, Dick Anderson, Terry Brooks and Carl Long became first time 
series winners during the 20 race campaign.

The Busch Pole competition was equally competitive as there were 14 different
drivers who led the starting field to the green flag over the course of 19 
events, with one race being started by points when qualifying was washed out
due to rain.  Raleigh, NC's Derrick Gilchrist captured the award for most
Busch Poles as he topped the starting lineup three times in '97. Sophomores
Alsup, Christian and Parker each snagged two pole positions while Fultz also
paced the field once. Alsup, Christian, Fultz, Gilchrist, John Crow, Jimmy
Garmon, Bobby Hamilton, Sr., Freddie Query and Sean Studer earned their first
career poles during the season, with Alsup, Christian and Gilchrist going on 
to earn additional pole starts as well.

Zephyrhills, FL's David Reutimann dominated the Port City Racing Rookie of the
Year competition, earning rookie of the race honors seven times in 20 races. 
The driver of the Raymond Cheshire owned Sunstate Recycling Chevrolet 
finished second at Volusia County and Louisville Motor Speedways to secure 
his top career finishes during his initial foray into NASCAR Touring Series

While Reutimann amassed an insurmountable point total to win the rookie
championship, the battle for the runner-up rookie spot was undecided until the
checkered flag waved on the final event of the season. Concord, NC's Studer
persevered over Steven Howard and Carl Long to capture the runner-up spot.
Studer's stretch run was solidified after he placed his Old El Paso Mexican
Style Foods Chevrolet on the pole for the season ending event at Homestead, 

Larry Rapp, who leads the team efforts for driver Ron Young, captured the
annual award for the Jasper Engines and Transmissions Crew Chief Challenge. On
the strength of 11 top five finishes, best in the series in '97, Rapp
outdistanced Goodson's top wrench Delbert Ray by eight points. The team's 
achievements are all the more impressive as they build each of their cars from
the ground up, and also operate with less sponsorship funding than more 
well-heeled teams. 

All in all, the 1997 season will be remembered as one of the most competitive
in the seven year history of the series. But more importantly a new crop of 
stars has emerged and the class of 1996 will continue to be a force to be
reckoned with when the green flag drops on the '98 season. The NASCAR Slim 
Jim All Pro Series is a true training ground for the NASCAR stars of tomorrow
and the class of '96 is definitely looking forward to tomorrow.

By NASCAR Public Relations