MIKE OLSEN PITCHES A PERFECT GAME AT LAKE ERIE SPEEDWAY; WINS BUSCH POLE & LOCAL DODGE DEALERS 150 RACE WHILE TAKING OVER BUSCH EAST POINT LEAD NORTH EAST, Pa. -- Mike Olsen achieved the NASCAR equivalent of baseball's perfect game Saturday...
MIKE OLSEN PITCHES A PERFECT GAME AT LAKE ERIE SPEEDWAY; WINS BUSCH POLE & LOCAL DODGE DEALERS 150 RACE WHILE TAKING OVER BUSCH EAST POINT LEAD
NORTH EAST, Pa. -- Mike Olsen achieved the NASCAR equivalent of baseball's perfect game Saturday night at Lake Erie Speedway. He started by winning the 13th Busch Pole of his career, then he won the Local Dodge Dealers 150 presented by Hamot & Highmark for his fifth career race victory. In the process, he gained the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series point lead as the season nears its halfway point.
Just as a pitcher seeking his no-hitter must get the tough outs in the middle of the lineup, Olsen had to repeatedly put down a strong challenges from Sean Caisse, who was seeking his third win of the season. The pair monopolized the contest, racing side-by-side on restarts and swapping the lead six times before Olsen gained the upper hand for good on lap 128. Caisse made a desperate charge on the final lap which fell short by just 0.189 seconds. Brian Hoar came back from a mid-race spin to take third ahead of Joey McCarthy and Mike Johnson.
Matt Kobyluck , who entered the night as the point leader, rallied from the tail of the field after spinning with 60 laps to go to finish sixth, followed by Rogelio Lopez, Eddie MacDonald, Bryon Chew, and Ruben Pardo. The result left Olsen with an unofficial 21-point margin over Kobyluck, with Caisse 49 points behind the leader. Chew and Johnson trail Olsen by 73 and 97 points respectively.
Carlos Pardo earned the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award for advancing 12 positions from start to finish, while Caisse captured the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award by picking up 26 spots from last week's race at Thompson, Conn. Ruben Pardo was the highest placed Sunoco Rookie contender, stretching his lead in the rookie standings.
While the caution flag was displayed nine times for 59 laps, only one incident send cars to the sidelines when Pierre Bourque and Kip Stockwell were involved on the back straight at lap 65. No drivers were injured. Of the 25 starters, 21 were running at the finish with 14 on the lead lap. Olsen averaged 53.459 miles per hour and won $8,500, including the $1,000 Busch Pole Award.
The Busch East Series faces its first superspeedway test of the 2006 season next Friday, July 14, in the New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H.