ANDY SANTERRE EDGES RYAN MOORE BY LESS THAN ONE FOOT IN SENSATIONAL FINISH TO WIN MBNA RACEPOINTS 150 AT DOVER; MOVES CLOSER TO FOURTH STRAIGHT BUSCH NORTH TITLE DOVER, Del. -- Andy Santerre lost the race in the pits, but made it up on the track...
ANDY SANTERRE EDGES RYAN MOORE BY LESS THAN ONE FOOT IN SENSATIONAL FINISH TO WIN MBNA RACEPOINTS 150 AT DOVER; MOVES CLOSER TO FOURTH STRAIGHT BUSCH NORTH TITLE
DOVER, Del. -- Andy Santerre lost the race in the pits, but made it up on the track to prevail over Ryan Moore by the width of a front bumper -- less than one foot -- in a sensational last-lap duel to win Friday's MBNA RacePoints 150 at Dover International Speedway. Since Moore led the most laps, the championship rivals scored the same 180 points, leaving Santerre 58 points ahead with two races remaining as he seeks his unprecedented fourth straight title.
Sunoco Rookie leader Sean Caisse swapped the lead with Moore for much of the race and finished third, while last year's top rookie, Ryan Seaman, charged from tenth to fourth in the final ten laps. It was the first career top-five for both Caisse and Seaman. Yet another young gun, Tim Andrews, was fifth. Ted Christopher, Dale Quarterley, Matt Kobyluck, Mike Stefanik, and west coast invader Brett Thompson completed the top ten. Stefanik lost second place in the standings and now trails his teammate Santerre by 70 points.
Santerre's chances appeared to be doomed when he was sent to the tail of the lead lap cars for breaking the pit lane speed limit on lap 88. But he charged back into the top ten by lap 102 and into the top five ten laps later. With 30 laps to go he was second but could make no impression on leader Moore. Santerre's break came when Jerry Marquis tagged the second turn wall with 16 laps left, sliding down the back straight with flames licking from under the car. Marquis was uninjured, but a red flag was called for track cleanup. The double-file restart placed Santerre alongside Moore. The reigning champion seized the lead and held it by running a high line, despite Moore's low-side charges which brought him alongside in the turns but cost him momentum coming off the corners. At the checkered flag, the margin was almost too close to call without video replay.
Moore set a new track record of 149.800 miles per hour to win the Busch Pole. It was the fastest qualifying speed ever for a Busch North Series race. Santerre qualified 14th and won a three-way tiebreaker for the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award, as his race win gave him the verdict over Mike Olsen and John Salemi, who also gained 13 positions. Kobyluck captured the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award as he finished 25 places better than his showing at Loudon, N.H. the previous week.
In addition to Marquis, Rogelio Lopez, Brian Hoar, Clair Zimmerman, and Scott Bouley were eliminated by accidents, but no injuries were reported. Of the 30 starters, 21 were running at the finish and 14 were on the lead lap. Six cautions periods for 46 laps held the average speed to 88.772 miles per hour. NASCAR Timing and Scoring recorded the margin of victory as 0.022 seconds.
The Busch North Series faces its only road course test of the season next Saturday, October 1, in the Burnham Hydronics 200 presented by Mohegan Sun at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.