Busch North Series Contenders Balance Rewards Of New Hanpshire Intl Speedway Win With Demands Of Point Race As New England 125 On Saturday, July 21 Approaches LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2001) - Occasionally, a Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring...
Busch North Series Contenders Balance Rewards Of New Hanpshire Intl Speedway Win With Demands Of Point Race As New England 125 On Saturday, July 21 Approaches
LOUDON, N.H. (July 12, 2001) - Occasionally, a Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring driver will try to tell the story that racing at New Hampshire International Speedway on a Winston Cup weekend just represents another race on the schedule- another page in the set-up manual, another motel bill, another post-race interview.
If you believe that line, you're probably gullible enough to buy the Brooklyn Bridge or a prime vacation home location on the slopes of Mount Washington.
By any standard, racing with the Winston Cup Series at NHIS, as the Busch North Series will in the New England 125 on Saturday, July 22, is different. It has only one thing in common with a typical race- it awards the winner 180 points. Everything else is magnified- the crowd, the pressure, the rewards of victory, and the effort necessary to succeed.
That scenario makes preparation for the "Magic Mile" in Loudon, N.H., a spcial challenge for drivers who are involved in the Busch North Series point race. Mike Olsen and Tracy Gordon, both title contenders looking for their first NHIS win, recently addressed their strategies in preparing for the July classic while staying focused on the season-long picture.
"It motivates me. We look forward to it," said Olsen, the Little Trees Car Freshner Chevrolet driver whose first two career Busch North Series wins propelled him into the point lead as summer began. "It's a big show close to home, with the Winston Cup cars there, you've got a lot of sponsor people. Sure, there's some extra pressure, but we're in a points race now, so there's always pressure. We try a little harder because it's been a nemesis for us in the past.
"It's not that we don't work hard on the small tracks, but we always put a little extra into Loudon," Olsen continued. "I'd love to win there, I haven't been consistently good there, but I feel we've got a good enough car now if we can get a good qualifying effort, we'll be there at the end."
Tracy Gordon, the winner of the season opener who has battled adversity since that time to stay in contention for the title, put another spin on the NHIS equation- the need for a strong showing in front of the Winston Cup talent scouts to further his career aspirations.
"We've got to win at that place," Gordon declared, adding "I want to go down south someday, and if I can't get Loudon conquered, I'll never make it down south. It's a big step for me and it's my main focus to win there."
"The whole picture is getting the new car going, and Loudon will be the test for it," noted the Tic Tac Chevrolet driver. "If the Loudon car isn't up to snuff, it's back to the drawing board."
The New England 125 features an extended distance in 2001, with the added 25 laps making a pit stop necessary to complete the 132.25 miles. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending race winner and Bud Pole Qualifying record holder. An extra element has been added to the New England 125 by the return of Mike Stefanik to Busch North Series competition for the first time since his back-to-back championships season in 1997 and 1998. Stefanik will drive a Chevrolet owned by Albany, N.Y., car dealer Bran Goewey, with Mike Greci listed as crew chief. Greci was the owner of Stefanik's title winning cars, and served as crew chief in 1998 after Greg Zipadelli moved south to team up with Tony Stewart.
The Busch North Series shares billing with the Winston Cup Series, Craftsman Truck Series, and Featherlite Modified Series on the only weekend which brings together four major NASCAR series outside Daytona Speedweeks. Busch North Series practice takes place in two sessions between 12:15 p.m and 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, with Bud Pole Qualifying for all positions at 3:45 p.m. The only on-track activity for the BNS teams on Friday, July 20, is a final practice session from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Race time for the New England 125 is Saturday, July 21, at approximately 3 p.m.
The Busch North Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series which blanket the USA, bringing major events to NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks as well as superspeedways like New Hampshire International Speedway and several road courses. The NASCAR Touring program is recognized as the premier training ground for NASCAR's national series- the Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, Grand National Division, and Craftsman Truck Series, while also providing carerr opportunities for professional racers at the regional level. Corporations making major contributions to NASCAR Touring point funds include Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Featherlite Trailers, Goody's Headache Powders, Gatorade, RE/MAX Internatonal, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, and R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand.