Champions' week trip to N.Y., record point fund, prestigious nomination highlight whirlwind month for Busch North Series champ Andy Santerre.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The first few weeks without races this fall have hardly been an off-season for NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series champion Andy Santerre.
After returning from his runner-up finish in the inaugural Toyota All-Star Showdown in California to officially receive his second straight Busch North Series title at the awards ceremony in Connecticut, Santerre joined the other NASCAR champions for the week of recognition in New York City which preceded the NASCAR Winston Cup Series banquet. In addition, he received the honor of nomination for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-American Racing Team.
Santerre found himself in the role of veteran for the festivities in New York, including press conferences and TV interviews in and around the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "The highlight for me was getting to meet all the other champions," he noted. "With the exception of (NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series champion) Steve Carlson, who won last year like me, everybody was new."
Matt Kenseth's championship had special significance for Santerre as well. "I raced with him for two years on the NASCAR Busch Series," he observed. "I got to know Matt, and his wife Katie and my wife Sue are friends, so to be up there to enjoy that moment with them and seeing a good guy from a small town win the Winston Cup championship was a really neat deal."
Topping off the month is the news that when Santerre receives his NASCAR point fund check, he will officially become the largest single-season money winner in Busch North Series history. With his race winnings of over $101,000 combined with post-season contingency awards and the point fund posted by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and the NASCAR tracks, Santerre's winnings for 2003 added up to $299,939, exceeding the previous record set in 1999 by Brad Leighton by nearly $50,000. He also added $5,000 as the New Hampshire International Speedway track champion for 2003.
For these and other accomplishments, Santerre was nominated for the AARWBA All-American Racing Team in the newly-created Touring Series category. He is among the list of candidates which also includes NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series champion Scott Lynch. Santerre pointed to the national television exposure provided by SPEED Channel throughout the season, and especially the live prime-time telecast of the Toyota All-Star Showdown as keys to his nomination. "It's a great honor to be nominated, and win, lose, or draw I'm excited," he said, adding "Our trip to the Toyota All-Star Showdown helped to make it possible. It opened some eyes for the media around the country and made them aware of some of the racers from here in the northeast."
With a brief holiday respite to spend time with his wife and new daughter in North Carolina, and to visit family in Maine, Andy Santerre finally took a few moments to reflect on his remarkable 2003 season. "I couldn't have scripted it any better if I had written the book myself," he reflected.