The old Wide World of Sports theme, "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat", was played out at Stafford with Dale Shaw, Andy Santerre, Martin Truex Jr., Kelly Moore, and Bill Penfold in leading roles. Shaw, who was only ninth on the ...
The old Wide World of Sports theme, "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat", was played out at Stafford with Dale Shaw, Andy Santerre, Martin Truex Jr., Kelly Moore, and Bill Penfold in leading roles.
Shaw, who was only ninth on the restart with 14 laps remaining, became a Busch North Series race winner for the eighth consecutive year, the longest current winning streak in the series. He has also won in 13 of the 16 seasons of Busch North competition, a record exceeded only by Kelly Moore.
Santerre seemed on the verge of his third victory of the season and a taste of the point lead, only to see it come apart in turn two with three laps to go. Instead of making up points on Brad Leighton as Leighton suffered an off-night, Santerre lost ground with a final 16th to Leighton's 13th.
Truex, meanwhile, led 85 laps, building a margin of nearly half a lap during the 90-lap green flag run, but he again came up empty-handed, just as he did after leading 103 laps at Thompson two weeks ago. Last year, Truex was "King of Connecticut" in July, winning at both Thompson and Stafford.
Moore's troubles were less dramatic- a double dose of tire trouble on the right front-- but they left him 24th in a race where he ran third for over half the distance.
Penfold was well on his way to a top-five finish, and the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award, when he was caught up in the turn two tangle that started with Greg Schaefer's spin on lap 138. Heavy damage to the right front corner made Penfold the only non-finisher of the race.
Matt Kobyluck's charge from last to second was a highlight of the race, and moved him squarely back into the Busch North title picture. Key to Kobyluck's comeback was the fact that the penalty assessed for his first-lap contact with Dennis Demers was a drive-through at the pit speed limit of 20 mph, not a stop-and-go. As a result, Kobyluck emerged ahead of the leaders, on the tail of the lead lap. Demers spun to the inside, made no contact, and continued in the middle of the pack as no caution flag was required.
After the Stafford event in July 2001, Mike Olsen led the Busch North standings by 138 points. In 2002, that margin exactly covers the top six drivers at the same point in the calendar
Illustrating the quality of the Busch North Series teams, this marked the second time in 2002 that he entire field has been running within 12 laps of the finish. The first was at Nazareth, when Carey Heath was the first car out after 88 of 100 scheduled laps. The finishing percentage at Stafford, 96 percent, is a high for the season.
Both the Gatorade Front Runner and Flowmaster Star of the Race standings received a shakeup at Stafford. Santerre moved into a tie with Moore for the Gatorade lead, and Schaefer drew even with Kip Stockwell in the Flowmaster standings. Olsen is third and Truex fourth in the Gatorade points, while Penfold and Heath are tied for third in the Flowmaster standings.
The Mannings USA Chevrolet team returned to action with Wharton, N.J. modified driver Don Wagner at the wheel and achieved a top-20 finish. Bobby Dragon was in action for the second week in a row, coming home 14th.
Matt Kobyluck, Dave Dion, Kip Stockwell, Carey Heath, Joey McCarthy, Travis Benjamin, and Mike Johnson participated in the Busch North driver autograph session at Stafford.