BNS: 2002 Awards Ceremony report

Andy Santerre honored as Busch North Series Champion, adds Most Popular Driver Award; other special awards to Dave Dion & Greg Schaefer. LOWELL, Mass. (November 9, 2002) -- Andy Santerre was officially presented his 2002 Busch North Series,...

Andy Santerre honored as Busch North Series Champion, adds Most Popular Driver Award; other special awards to Dave Dion & Greg Schaefer.

LOWELL, Mass. (November 9, 2002) -- Andy Santerre was officially presented his 2002 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring championship trophy and ring Saturday night at the annual Awards Ceremony before an audience of over 400 people at the historic Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Also honored as principal members of the LesCare Kitchens Chevrolet team were Andy's wife, Sue Santerre, as champion car owner, and Roger Tryon as champion crew chief.

Santerre added the prestigious Most Popular Driver Award, voted by the NASCAR members who participate in the series. Completing his evening were check presentations by Goodyear and 76 Racing Gasoline.

Dave Dion was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award and Greg Schaefer was named the Most Improved Driver. Both awards were selected by the Busch North Series officials, with the winner's identity kept under wraps until Saturday's ceremony.

In accepting his first career Busch North championship, Santerre thanked his all-volunteer crew, who reside in eight different states, as well as sponsor Jay Lestorti, for whom the title was the first after many years of sponsoring NASCAR teams in New England. Sue Santerre, in the combined role of car owner, spouse, and bookkeeper, noted that in addition to being the team's only full-time employee, Andy spent the equivalent of 27 days on the road between their North Carolina home and the Busch North Series tracks. Most of those hours were as his own truck driver.

Runner-up Matt Kobyluck spoke of the triumphs and disappointments of his season, which saw the Mohegan Sun Chevrolet team fall just nine points short of the title, and noted his pride in being the first Native American driver to achieve such a level of success in NASCAR racing. Kobyluck also accepted the Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award on behalf of his team's several engine suppliers.

Third place Brad Leighton, who previously announced plans to step back from full-time competition in 2003, paid tribute to the Grizco Racing team for their seven-year run of success together in the Busch North Series. All the drivers speaking during the ceremony expressed their gratitude for the guidance of the late Bunk Sampson, the former Busch North Series Director who passed away in September.

Trophies and checks for sponsored awards, based on seasonal point standings, were also presented as part of the ceremony. Martin Truex Jr. was the recipient of the $10,000 Bud Pole Award after setting six fastest qualifying times. For the second straight year, Mike Olsen earned the $7,500 Gatorade Front Runner Award for lap leadership. Kip Stockwell collected the $7,500 Flowmaster Star of the Race Award for position improvement, and Robbie Harrison was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year. Harrison receives $5,000 and rookie runner-up Rick Bell $2,000.

The Busch North Series Women's Auxiliary presented its Recognition Award to Pat Jett of Stockwell Racing and its annual scholarship to Hillary Scott, whose family are members of the Grizco team.

In his keynote remarks, NASCAR Director of Weekly Racing Series and Touring Series Chris Boals noted that the successful television package with SPEED Channel has been renewed, with expanded national television coverage for the Busch North Series in 2003 and beyond.

Mike Joy, the voice of NASCAR racing on Fox Sports and a native New Englander, served as Master of Ceremonies for the awards program.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Greg Schaefer , Matt Kobyluck , Rick Bell