"Fast Eddie" Mercer wins first superspeedway event. SPARTA, KY. (June 15 2002) - Eddie Mercer survived a green-white-checkered finish Saturday afternoon in the postponed Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring $101, 750 Lexington Herald ...
"Fast Eddie" Mercer wins first superspeedway event.
SPARTA, KY. (June 15 2002) - Eddie Mercer survived a green-white-checkered finish Saturday afternoon in the postponed Hills Bros. All Pro Series, NASCAR Touring $101, 750 Lexington Herald Leader presents The Kentucky 150 at the beautiful 1.5-mile Kentucky Speeday to record his third career Hills Bros. All Pro Series victory.
Mercer's win was his first superspeedway victory for the Everwood/Phoenix/Orlando Auto Auction Chevrolet and earned Mercer his largest payday with the series, $13,175.
Thirty-four cars took the green flag in the postponed event which was scheduled for Friday afternoon but inclement weather delayed the race till Saturday afternoon.
"This was a great win for out team," Mercer commented in victory lane. "Maybe we have the monkey off our back because we have had nothing but bad luck this year."
When asked about his lengthy pit stop on lap 21 during the second race caution, Mercer said, "The car was tight because we were set up to run at night. Running during the day we had to make some adjustments on the car. It was just not handling so we figured it was better to take the time early in the race and correct it and as things worked out we made the right changes. We changed all our Hoosier shoes also because the track had an excellent grip and the car was sticking well to the track. They really did a super job with the new surface."
Mercer dedicated this win, as he has his last two Bud Pole Awards, to the man who gave him his nickname of Fast Eddie, "Uncle Bob" Harmon who passed away on May 30 after a three month battle with cancer. Fultz also made a very early stop, on lap 4, with his Chevrolet when the water temp started to rise. He pitted again on lap 16 taking on new rubber on all four wheels.
The first race caution waved early in the event on lap nine when Dusty Williams' car made contact with Cecil Chunn's Chevrolet exiting turn four. When Chunn's car spun Ray Skillman's car, with no place to go, went over the left rear quarter panel of Chunn's machine and turned upside down coming to rest on the roof on the infield grass. Both drivers were ok after being checked at the infield care center.
Finishing behind the winner was Jeff Fultz, who won the last two series events here in 2001, with his C & C Boiler/Cleaver Brooks Chevrolet, Stanley Smith in his Express Oil Change/Smith Drywall Chevrolet, series points leader Charlie Bradberry with his Bradberrry Racing Chevrolet and Scott Carlson driving the Advance Construction/Hamner Engines Pontiac.
Mercer recorded his second consecutive Bud Pole start turning the 1.5-mile speedplant with a time of 34.707 Secs (155.588 mph) with Smith earning the outside front row starting spot.
Mercer, Fultz, Benny Gordon, Carlson, Dusty Williams, exchanged the lead over the first 37 laps before Carlson took command and led the next 45 laps. Carlson brought a brand new car to this event which was his first series start of 2002 and it was strong. At times Carlson opened a 20-car lead over Fultz and Mercer but the final two race cautions erased that advantage.
Mercer got a great jump on the restart of the fourth caution from his third spot on the track to regain the point with Carlson, Fultz, Bradberry and rookie contender Joe Aramendia rounding out the top five cars.
The final caution waved on lap 97 for Wayne Bowen's Chevrolet losing power necessitating the green-white-checked finish. Mercer got another excellent start with Fultz going to second, Smith to third, Bradberry to fourth and Carlson dropping to fifth.
Smith turned in his best performance of the season and his best finish since returning to the series last year.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were Aramendia, Gordon, Billy Bigley Jr., Shane Sieg and Eddie Hoffman.
Aramendia turned in another outstanding run for the San Antonio rookie contender after starting 20th on the field to earn top finishing rookie honors. Carlson won the Gatorade "FrontRunner" Award for leading the most laps.
The next event for the Hills Bros All Pro Series will be June 29 when the series makes their inaugural stop at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va. for the Kinzer Drilling 200.