(September 2004) Cincinnati native Jeff Fultz will attempt to make Kentucky Speed-way history on Saturday, Sept. 18, in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series race. Fultz, who ties ARCA veteran Frank Kimmel with the most victories (three) on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, will go for a fourth win during the V-TAPS Triple Header Fall Classic. The event also will feature IPower Dash Series and American Speed Association races.
Fultz notched his most recent Sparta, Ky., victory on June 18. In front of 16,000 race fans, the driver of the No. 54 C&C Boiler Chevrolet took the lead from pole-sitter Erik Darnell on Lap 14 and tenaciously held on through several cautions to take the checkered flag. Rookie Chris Davidson came in second, followed by J.R. Norris and Robert Richardson, and Kevin Prince.
He also made history in August when he won his fifth Southeast Series race of the season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. The victory, his 22nd of his career in the series, made him the most victorious driver in NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series history. The mark topped previous record-holder Wayne Andersons 21 wins.
Fultz, 35, admitted that the win at Kentucky Speedway, which he considers his home track, was especially sweet. I cant even explain how much this means, he said afterward. This track means more to me than any of the others. All of my family is up there in the stands, I know a lot of people here, and they will all come out and pay to watch me, and its just so exciting.
Fultz grew up just 45 miles north of Kentucky Speedway in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash. At Queen City Speedway in Cincinnati, he watched his uncle race late models and mini stocks and soon developed a love of racing.
After years of helping his uncle build, tune and race, he saved up enough money to buy his own mini stock car, thus beginning his racing career.
In everything from street stocks and late models to modifieds, Fultz has left his mark. He was the Winchester Speedway mini-stock champion in 1993 and 1994, and the 1995 modified track champion at Shady Bowl and Kil-Kare Speedways in Ohio. Since 2000 he has competed part-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, earning four top-10 finishes, including a win at Lowes Motor Speedway in 2002.
Fultz began racing full-time in the Southeast Series in 1997. He has finished second in series standings three times and in 2002 won the championship.
Fultz always has made a priority of working on his cars as well as driving them. What he has learned from doing so landed him a job as a fabricator and test driver of the No. 77 Penske-Jasper Motorsports Nextel Cup Team, based in Mooresville, N.C. He now lives there with wife, Angel, and children, Billy, Jonathon and Carlee.
Fultzs phenomenal success has led many to wonder why he hasnt moved up NASCARs ladder to its Busch or Nextel Cup Series. And, in fact, he did make three starts in the Busch Series last year. Even so, Fultz said he is content to be in the Southeast Series for now.
Photo by Ruth Wright
Jeff Fultz poses in Victory Lane
at the Kentucky Speedway
after winning last June in Sparta.
Everybody always asks, Why dont you do anything else? Were trying, but whatever we do, were going to do with this team because were trying to grow together, he said.
So far this season, Fultz has had remarkable success. Through the July 7 race at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., he had finished outside the top-10 just once. That was at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where on April 24 he broke a crank and finished 21st.
Weve had a decent year, Fultz said modestly. In the three races we won this year, we pretty much dominated. Then again, weve let ourselves down in a couple different areas. Having motor problems is something that is very uncharacteristic for this team.
The win at Kentucky, and Fultzs two others at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (June 5) and Lanier National Speedway (July 1), had by race eight of 12 put him in first place in points, followed by J.R. Norris and Erik Darnell.
After picking up his fifth victory Aug. 14, Fultz padded his points race lead over second-place Norris with only two races remaining on the year Sparta and Nashville, Tenn.
Were going to go back and try for a championship one more time. Were going to concentrate, and the teams really geared up, he said.
Heading into Sparta, Norris leads in rookie of the year standings, followed by Chris Davidson, Michael Faulk, Robert Richardson and Randy Pedley.