ANDREWS ARRIVES; Tim Andrews scored his first career Busch East Series victory in his 18th start, spread over parts of five seasons. Almost half of those starts came in 2003, when he began the season as teammate to Joey McCarthy in the J.T. Mase...
ANDREWS ARRIVES; Tim Andrews scored his first career Busch East Series victory in his 18th start, spread over parts of five seasons. Almost half of those starts came in 2003, when he began the season as teammate to Joey McCarthy in the J.T. Mase Motorsports team. Until last Friday his best career finish had been fourth in the 2003 opener at Lee USA Speedway. When that ride disappeared for lack of sponsorship, he went back to North Carolina, working in race shops and running his dad's equipment when time and finances allowed. There was no time for celebration after his Sunoco 150 win, as he had to report early for work with his regular employers, the No. 4 Biagi Motorsports team in the Busch Series on Saturday, and he planned to stay around to help his father on the No. 43 Petty Enterprises crew on Sunday.
It's not surprising Andrews would break the ice at Dover since his first Busch Pole was scored at the "Monster Mile" in 2004 and his best previous superspeedway result was a fifth there in 2005. Last minute sponsorship transformed the plain black Monte Carlo that rolled out of the trailer into the No. 9 Bollegraaf/Van Dyk Baler Chevrolet, and Andrews made the investment pay off. The sponsors, long associates with Dale Quarterley, are manufacturers of equipment used in the recycling industry.
STEVE SPEAKS: Sunoco 150 runner-up Steve Park brought a friend to the post-race press conference. It wasn't his crew chief or a team marketing rep; it was his yellow Lab, Harley. Park noted that he felt part of the winning team too, as Paul Andrews had been his crew chief during his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race wins at Watkins Glen International in 2000 and North Carolina Motor Speedway in 2001 and he has known Tim Andrews for longer than he cares to admit.
Park acknowledged that after their successful first race together in Dover, he planed to drive the No. 35 Waste Management/Recycle America Ford again in the Busch East Series season finale at Lime Rock Park. Brad Leighton gave the NDS Motorsports team a Lime Rock win in 2004.
Park also stated that he was working toward a full-season NASCAR Busch Series deal in 2007. If that works out, it will be the second time the Busch East Series has launched an upward move in his career. After winning two races in 1996 for Allen Avery's team, Park was signed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. for 1997 and the rest is history.
TITLE MATH: Mike Olsen did not clinch the Busch East Series title at Dover, but his fifth place finish combined with Sean Caisse's 22nd brought it within reach. Unofficially, Olsen will bring a 109 point lead to Lime Rock. The most points Caisse can score is 190, so Olsen needs 82 points to close the deal. He can reach that goal with a 27th place finish, even if Caisse wins and leads the most laps.
Bryon Chew and Brian Hoar still have a mathematical chance at the title, but Olsen will close them out simply by qualifying for the Mohegan Sun 200.
SEAMAN NOT INJURED: Ryan Seaman was evaluated and released from Kent General Hospital on Friday evening following his accident in the Sunoco 150.
BARNEY IS BACK IN THE BIG TIME: From 1990 to 2004, Barney McRae was a popular figure as a Busch East Series (then Busch North Series) driver, always in his own No. 5 Motion Racing Chevrolet. He stepped out of the cockpit in 2005 to act as crew chief and driving coach for Sean Caisse's remarkable Sunoco Rookie season. The same plan was in effect for 2006 with John Freeman until Freeman joined FitzBradshaw Racing at NHIS. McRae slid back into the seat, but he was driving only his second race in nearly two years when he qualified an impressive 15th at Dover, right alongside Mike Olsen. As Olsen moved forward, so did McRae, and at the checkered flag he was sixth. It was McRae's best career finish on any type of track, and it came at one of the most demanding superspeedways in the USA.
SUNOCO ROOKIE RACE DOWN TO THE WIRE: With only 30 starting positions available at Dover for 36 entries, some series regulars were disappointed and two of them were Pierre Bourque and Jeremy Clark. Brent Cross was not entered, so that left four registered Sunoco Rookies in the field, the smallest group of freshman contenders all season. Patrick Dupree, whose No. 24 Outback Steak House Dodge was just purchased from Brian Hoar, was the top finishing Sunoco Rookie in 15th. The car was so new, it still said "Goss Dodge" on the left side- Dupree's team ran out of decals!
Despite late-race problems, Dion Ciccarelli (No. 84 Star Sales Ford) was scored 19th. The FitzBradshaw Racing teammates, Ruben Pardo (No. 12 Movida Dodge) and John Freeman (No. 22 SuperCuts/Family Dollar Dodge), both ran in the top five but were both eliminated in accidents, leaving Freeman 22nd and Pardo 23rd.
With one race remaining in the season, Pardo unofficially leads Ciccarelli by one point in the race for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAD DO?: Mike Olsen in the Busch East Series and Brett Thompson in the Auto Zone West Series both normally run as No. 61. (Thompson was No. 81 at Dover to avoid duplication.) Each is part of a family team where the driver's father is the team's truck driver. That's where it gets interesting. Olsen's stepfather, John Aldrich, and Thompson's dad, Rich Thompson, are in the same business- they are bulk milk haulers. Aldrich's territory in northwestern New Hampshire and northeastern Vermont is a bit different than Thompson's in southern Idaho, but it's undoubtedly true on either side of the country that if you can drive a milk truck in and out of a dairy farm during a winter thaw, you can drive just about anything in and out of just about anywhere.
CORRECTION: Steve Park's second place money won should be $10,000, $1,000 more than listed on the unofficial results. The additional money won results from a Ford Motor Company contingency award
MILESTONES: Sean Caisse clinched the 2006 Busch Pole Award seasonal championship while winning his fifth Busch Pole of the year. Actually, he clinched the honor when Mike Olsen failed to win the pole... Bryon Chew scored his fourth straight top five finish... Brian Hoar saw his string of six straight top fives broken, but he still has seven consecutive top tens, a mark exceeded only by Mike Olsen who hasn't been out of the top ten all season... In addition to Barney McRae, Donnie Neuenberger had his best career finish in 20th... Scott Bouley's 13th equaled his career best and it came at a good time as he moved ahead of the pack for 15th in points and the final automatic invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown...Matt Kobyluck is now the leading Busch East Series money-winner at Dover, surpassing Jamie Aube. Aube filed an entry for the Sunoco 150 but wound up on the other side of pit wall as part of Andrew Myers' crew.