BNS: Lake Erie: Andy Santerre race report

Andy Santerre Wins First Busch North Race Held at Lake Erie Speedway Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre came from the eleventh starting position to win the Local Dodge Dealers 150 Presented by Travel Club International, the first NASCAR...

Andy Santerre Wins First Busch North Race Held at Lake Erie Speedway

Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre came from the eleventh starting position to win the Local Dodge Dealers 150 Presented by Travel Club International, the first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series held at the year-old Lake Erie Speedway, a .375-mile oval located in North East, Pennsylvania.

Santerre, driver of the Castle Chemical/Aubuchon Hardware Chevrolet for Bessey Motorsports, earned an additional $1,000 for winning the Powerade Power Move of the Race, which is given to the driver who improves the most positions from start to finish of each Busch North race.

The weekend began with a two-hour practice session held Saturday afternoon. The teams returned to the track on Sunday for a brief warm-up session, followed by qualifying. Santerre recorded the eleventh best lap, 15.426 seconds (87.515 MPH) in time trials. The cars were then impounded, with only minimal changes allowed, until race time.

"I've got a great car, but it just didn't qualify well," he said. The first lap was one of the quickest, but on the second lap I tried a little too hard, got in a little too low and hit the apron, which shot me back up the track. It should have been a 15.30 or something, but it doesn't take much to lose a tenth of a second. I'm not worried about it, I've got a great car. By the halfway mark you'll see me up front."

Santerre's charge to the front began quickly, as he was immediately in the top ten at the start of the race and moved up to seventh just twenty-five laps in. He moved into the top five at the fifty-lap mark, and took advantage of a couple competitors' having trouble to move to third. At the halfway mark, the race was stopped and crews given a five-minute break to work on the cars and change right-side tires.

Going back to green, Santerre worked over second place Joey McCarthy before finally getting by him low on the backstretch. He then ran down the leader, Mike Stefanik, and moved to pass him on the outside. After a two-lap side-by-side battle, Santerre had cleared Stefanik and held the lead.

"I made the pass for the lead on the high side, and I wouldn't try that move on many other drivers," he said. Mike Stefanik is great to race with, and he knows if you get a fender up on him, he'll give you a lane to race with."

Mike Johnson moved to second place behind Santerre, but never got close enough to challenge Santerre, who went on to win the fifteenth Busch North Series race of his career.

- more - "After yesterday's practice, I knew the car was fast, and I knew it would be great on long runs," Santerre said after the race. I didn't qualify well, but if we could stay out of trouble and get up to the front, we'd be good, and that's what we did today. I knew the car was well balanced, that's why I knew it wouldn't qualify the best. We had to race the car the way we qualified it, and a well-balanced car won't qualify as well as some others. It hurt us when we did the qualifying, but it helped us when it came to race time."

"It was a great run for us," Santerre continued. I'm real excited for the team, and I'm happy for Castle Chemical. Wally Blatter from Castle couldn't be here today, he was a little under the weather, but he'll be really excited to hear how we did today."

Santerre will carry his 70-point lead in the championship standings into next Saturday's Budweiser 150, which will be held at the third-mile Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

-www.andysanterre.com.

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Mike Johnson