Nazareth 100, Nazareth Speedway, Sunday, August 26, 2001 Matt Kobyluck won his first Busch North Series race in his 53rd start. For comparison, the other new winner of the 2001 season, Mike Olsen, took 180 races to reach victory lane. Of course,...
Nazareth 100, Nazareth Speedway, Sunday, August 26, 2001
Matt Kobyluck won his first Busch North Series race in his 53rd start. For comparison, the other new winner of the 2001 season, Mike Olsen, took 180 races to reach victory lane. Of course, it took Olsen just six days to get back there....
The record for most winners in a Busch North Series season is 13 in 1987, but that might deserve an asterisk. In that year, cars meeting track rules were allowed to compete to fill the fields, and at lest two winners- Ralph Nason at Unity (Me.) and Rick Martin at Seekonk (Mass.) - were not driving BNS legal cars.
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While most drivers chose to pit for tires with 40 laps remaining and some reported heavy wear on the second set, Kobyluck told the post-race press conference that his American Racers came in best during the closing laps. None of the three lead-lap drivers who did not pit is likely to second-guess the decision. Kobyluck won the race, Dennis Demers was eighth, and Brian Hoar was 11th, winning the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race honors for the first time in a month.
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Richard Jarvis Jr. was very impressive in his Busch North Series debut. The Ocean City, Md., driver qualified his ex-Justin Labonte Chevrolet 11th and ran as high as seventh before engine trouble sidelined him after 27 laps. Jarvis raced on the Delmarva Peninsula dirt tracks, where is father was a top runner in years past, before turning to NASCAR Weekly Racing Series late model stock car competition at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. He was sixth in points at Langley in 1999, his last full season.
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Mike Olsen goes home to Thunder Road with his largest point lead of the season, 194 over Kelly Moore. Olsen quickly moved up from his 13th place qualifying effort and ran on the fringes of the top five at Nazareth most of the race, ending up sixth. Moore qualified third but slipped back and was 14th, the last car on the lead lap, with an engine that was audibly losing power for most of the race. Third place Mike Johnson was in dire straits from the start, dropping to the tail of the field, getting lapped under the long initial green flag, and toughing it out to finish 23rd. Johnson trails Olsen by 228 points and Moore by 34.
If it weren't for Olsen's rock-solid consistency, we'd have a point race of historic proportions. Only 83 points separate second-place Moore from eighth-place Dale Shaw.
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Tracy Gordon's controversial turn-two tangle with Bill Penfold resulted in a 30th place finish, plunging him from fifth to ninth in points. Since his sweep of the season opener at Lee USA Speedway- Bud Pole, number one redraw, leading all 150 laps- the Tic Tac team has endured a season of endless frustration.
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Paul Wolfe's second place finish marked the second time in as many races he has set a career mark. Now that Matt Kobyluck has reached victory lane, Wolfe ranks along with Dale Quarterley in most observer's eyes as the drivers most likely to spray the champagne next.
A footnote: There are several hometowns for Paul Wolfe floating around in various databases. He prefers Milford, N.Y., where he grew up.
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The Busch North Series is primarily a short track series, and proud of it. For the last two races, the series has ventured to the big tracks at Watkins Glen and Nazareth, with impressive results. In 162 laps of racing at the two venues, there have been only six caution flags for 22 laps, and only two cars have required assistance to return to the garage. Of 72 starting cars at the Glen and Nazareth, 55 have been running at the finish and 26 have been on the lead lap. There have been ten lead changes. Now it's back to the series' roots at Thunder Road, and the return to action of one of the great short-track racers, Stub Fadden.