LOUDON, NH - (Sept. 13, 2003) For the first three quarters of the New England 125 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 13, it looked like Paul Wolfe was going to pick up...
LOUDON, NH - (Sept. 13, 2003) For the first three quarters of the New England 125 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 13, it looked like Paul Wolfe was going to pick up his first career BNS victory. Wolfe dominated and led the first 96 laps at the "Magic Mile," but the Tops Friendly Markets Dodge tightened up in the final quarter of the race. Wolfe managed to hang on for a season-best third place finish.
"The Tops Dodge was great for most of the race, and we are certainly happy with our best finish of the season," Wolfe said. "We did not free up the car enough for the long runs though, and when the track started to tighten up, they started to close in."
In time trials Thursday, Sept. 11, the 26-year-old Milford, New York native qualified second out of a field of 40 cars with a time of 30.443 seconds (125.113 miles per hour). Mike Gallo took the Bud Pole with a time of 30.419 (125.211 miles per hour).
It only took Wolfe a half a lap to overtake Gallo for the lead. Wolfe then pulled away from the pack, leading by as much as 10 car lengths by lap 33. Thanks to a solid pit stop for right side tires on lap 38, Wolfe maintained the lead and stretched it out to 10 car lengths again by lap 78.
Brad Leighton began challenging Wolfe on the inside line midway through the race, and Wolfe slammed the door on several occasions to keep the lead. In the end though, Leighton and Andy Santerre's racecars were just too good, and they were able to maneuver past the Tops Dodge. Leighton passed Wolfe on lap 97 and Santerre followed on lap 99. Leighton took the checkered flag in first and Santerre was second. Mike Johnson and Mike Stefanik rounded out the top-five.
Wolfe has had a good measure of success at NHIS. He now has five career top-10s and three top-fives in seven career races. In 2002 Wolfe finished ninth in the July race and was sixth in the September race. In 2001, Wolfe was fifth in the May race and 15th in the July race. In 2000, Wolfe was fifth in the September race.
SPEED Channel will broadcast the New Hampshire 125 on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m.
Tops Markets, LLC is one of six retail operating companies under Ahold USA, one of the leading supermarket operations in the U.S. Tops currently operates 159 Tops Friendly Markets and 204 convenience stores in New York, Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio. The Tops Racing Team's associate sponsors for the New Hampshire race were Sun & Earth, Solo, Orange Glo and Colton RV.
Tommy Baldwin Racing North (TBRN), a subsidiary of Tommy Baldwin Racing, operates the No. 9 Tops Dodge. TBRN is co-owned by Tommy Baldwin and Eddie D'Hondt.
For updated information about Wolfe and the Tops Racing Team, visit www.paulwolfe.net.
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