TIM ANDREWS WINS FIRST BUSCH EAST SERIES RACE IN DOVER SUNOCO 150; OLSEN NEARS TITLE DOVER, Del. -- Tim Andrews has been an occasional competitor but always a strong contender whenever he has appeared in the NASCAR Grand National ...
TIM ANDREWS WINS FIRST BUSCH EAST SERIES RACE IN DOVER SUNOCO 150; OLSEN NEARS TITLE
DOVER, Del. -- Tim Andrews has been an occasional competitor but always a strong contender whenever he has appeared in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series since 2003, always running on a shoestring budget. Friday at Dover International Speedway he scored a dramatic first career victory in the Sunoco 150, passing Steve Park on the outside with two laps to go in the scheduled distance, then holding off Park's renewed bid as the race went into overtime due to an accident with one lap remaining. Andrews celebrated with a slow lap around the track in the opposite direction, the "Polish victory lap" made famous by the late Alan Kulwicki, whose crew chief in his championship year of 1992 was Tim's father, Paul Andrews.
Behind Andrews and Park, Bryon Chew and Matt Kobyluck completed late-race charges to third and fourth after Chew employed a late pit stop strategy and Kobyluck was forced to pit for body repairs after another car literally landed on his hood. The biggest winner of all may have been fifth place Mike Olsen. His steady drive from 16th in the starting lineup, coupled with the accident which left challenger Sean Caisse 22nd on the scoreboard, put Olsen in a commanding position to clinch his second series title in five years in next Saturday's season finale at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Unofficially, Olsen leads Caisse by 109 points and needs only a 27th place at Lime Rock to clinch the championship.
Barney McRae, in only his second race since returning to driving after two years as a crew chief, scored a career-best sixth place finish, with Brian Hoar, Mike Johnson, Jeff Anton, and Tracy Gordon completed the top ten.
Caisse won the Busch Pole with the first 150 mile per hour qualifying run in series history and clinched the seasonal Busch Pole championship. Andrews started third and swapped the lead with Caisse until a communication error caused Caisse to pit one lap too late at mid-race. Caisse remained a contender, however, until he crashed with just 35 laps remaining. He drove to his pit but the car was then pushed to the garage.
For the second half of the race, Park, returning to the series for the first time since 1996, was Andrews' primary challenger as the pair traded the lead four times. Andrews had just passed Park on lap 148 when Ryan Seaman, running in the top five, rode out a hard crash in turn two. The red flag was shown as Seaman received medical attention at the scene. He was reported to be alert and with full movement at the track but was transported as a precaution to Kent General Hospital in Dover, where he was being evaluated on Friday evening.
Park nosed ahead for one lap at the restart for the green-white-checker finish but Andrews would not be denied and took the checkered flag 0.411 seconds in front. Only seven cars remained on the lead lap and 19 of 30 starters were running at the finish. The caution flag was displayed seven times for 55 laps. Among the contenders eliminated, in addition to Caisse and Seaman, were FitzBradshaw teammates John Freeman and Ruben Pardo, both of whom spent most of the race in the top five. Freeman was turned into the front straight wall while battling with Kobyluck and wound up sliding across the front end of Kobyluck's machine.
Jeff Anton claimed the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award by climbing 19 places from 28th at the start to ninth at the finish. Kobyluck won the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award after improving 36 spots on his performance in New Hampshire one week ago. Patrick Dupree was the highest finishing Sunoco Rookie contender, and unofficially Dion Ciccarelli moved within one point of Ruben Pardo for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title. No drivers entered or dropped out of the top 15 positions in the series point standings, the group who are eligible to receive invitations to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in California, October 20-21. Scott Bouley holds the 15th position, with an unofficial 30-point margin over Joe Masessa.