MIKE STEFANIK TAKES BUSCH NORTH SERIES POINT LEAD WITH DOMINATING WIN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIOHNAL SPEEDWAY'S NEW ENGLAND 125; BRIAN HOAR RIDES FUEL GAMBLE TO 2nd; RYAN MOORE 3rd LOUDON, N.H. -- Mike Stefanik convincingly won the New England...
MIKE STEFANIK TAKES BUSCH NORTH SERIES POINT LEAD WITH DOMINATING WIN AT NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIOHNAL SPEEDWAY'S NEW ENGLAND 125; BRIAN HOAR RIDES FUEL GAMBLE TO 2nd; RYAN MOORE 3rd
LOUDON, N.H. -- Mike Stefanik convincingly won the New England 125 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race Friday afternoon at New Hampshire International Speedway, leading 91 of the 125 laps. His second career NHIS win was worth just over $12,500. It was also his second win in four races this season, and combined with Matt Kobyluck's 19th place finish, gave him the series point lead. He started second and averaged 95.435 miles per hour, leading the first 19 laps and the last 72 circuits.
Brian Hoar gambled on an early pit stop, led laps 31 to 53, and held on to finish second, less than half a second behind. Ryan Moore, Kelly Moore, and defending champion Andy Santerre completed the top five. Mike Gallo's stellar run from 35th in the lineup to sixth brought him the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award as he held off Mike Olsen on the last lap. Eddie MacDonald was eighth to win the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award, Mike Johnson took ninth, and James Civali recorded a tenth place finish in only his second Busch North Series start. No Busch Pole Award was made after Thursday's qualifying was rained out.
Point leader Matt Kobyluck started on the pole but never led, sliding out of the top ten before losing a lap in the pits. Dave Dion, who did not pit with the leaders under caution on lap 20, held the lead for eleven circuits before he was passed by Hoar. He wound up 13th. Ted Christopher, trying to add a fifth Busch North victory at NHIS to his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory earlier in the day, was out after scraping the fourth turn wall on lap 26. Brad Leighton, the all-time NHIS win leader with eight, faded to eleventh after running in the top five.
Six caution periods for 32 laps were caused by a variety of incidents, of which Jeff Anton's lap 72 contact with the turn three wall was the most serious. Anton drove back to the pits but was unable to continue. Of the 36 starters, 27 were running at the finish with 16 on the lead lap.
Stefanik unofficially holds a 45 point lead over Santerre, with Kobyluck 57 points behind entering next Saturday's Town Fair Tire 150 at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl.