Two drivers looking for big things out of the 2011 Rheem World Crown 300 Weekend are Jeff Fultz and TJ Reaid. Both come to Gresham Motorsports Park (GA) seeking the right combination of speed, strategy and luck to wear the royal crown at the end of the day on Sunday.
TJ Reaid is carrying two torches into this weekend. First off, he is one of the Peach State good ol’ boys looking to win it for Georgia in what would be their 11th straight triumph. He also seeks redemption after last year's lap-eight wreck took out half the field.
"We never got to show what we had," said Reaid. "I was shocked when I got out of the car because there were a lot of the good cars that were in that wreck. There were so many cars in that wreck that some people went home."
While the wreck ended Reaid's day last year, Jeff Fultz continued his charge forward to post a second-place finish. Fultz had come from 21st to finish that strong after a long 300-lap race. 2010 was a good showing for Fultz and his team, but this year they come in with momentum after winning the CRA North-South shootout last weekend at Caraway Speedway (NC).
“I think we'll be real good this weekend," said Fultz. "Last year we had a real good car and we finished second. We had a few hiccups in the pits, but we were able to come away from that. We will have our best car down there so we should be in pretty good shape."
Both drivers come in wondering what 2011 will hold for them as the race has now been shifted to a three segment format. First up will be 100-lap segment with an invert that will be voted on by the fans. The second segment will be 75 laps with an optional live pit stop at the end. The final segment will be a 25-lap, $10,000 segment.
"It doesn't matter, a race is a race," added Fultz. "We can run 50 laps, 25 laps or 400 laps; we come to race. Now I do like the longer races, but I also like to get after it. If people are afraid to tear their stuff up then they should stay home."
"It really throws up a curve ball for those in the race and the crew chiefs as well," added Reaid. "With that invert at lap 100 nobody knows how many that's going to be. Then the final segment, which could be only eight cars or so, will be all-out. We are here to put on a show for the fans and to put butts in the seats and this should do so."
For the World Crown, this is nothing new as the races have had different variations of lap and types of cars over the years. What makes it among the biggest is the money that is paid out and the history that puts this race in the elite level of Super Late Model racing.
"This race is right up there with the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby," said Fultz, who has podium finishes in both of those races, as well. "The Gresham family has really made the facilities in Jefferson top notch. The track is amazing and they have down such a good job with it and keeping it growing."
For the second year in a row, $20,000 will be put up for the overall winner (all three segments) in the Super Late Model race. Not many asphalt races left can say they are in that dollar-figure boat.
For Reaid he would like to add this win to his All American 400 victory from last season. Only four drivers have won the All American 400 and the World Crown in their careers.
"Anywhere you go in Super Late Model racing, the field is going to be tough," said Reaid. "I really think it gets tougher every year. It would be a huge win for us at GMP if we could pull it off.”