RYAN MOORE WINS STAFFORD'S TSI HARLEY-DAVIDSON 150 ON HIS 22ND BIRTHDAY; SANTERRE CLOSES WITHIN 10 POINTS OF STEFANIK AS FIRST LAP ACCIDENT IS COSTLY TO KOBYLUCK STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. -- Ryan Moore gave himself a 22nd birthday present...
RYAN MOORE WINS STAFFORD'S TSI HARLEY-DAVIDSON 150 ON HIS 22ND BIRTHDAY; SANTERRE CLOSES WITHIN 10 POINTS OF STEFANIK AS FIRST LAP ACCIDENT IS COSTLY TO KOBYLUCK
STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. -- Ryan Moore gave himself a 22nd birthday present Wednesday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, using a mid-race pit stop and strong finish to score his second career NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series victory in the TSI Harley-Davidson 150. Brian Hoar, Ted Christopher, Andy Santerre, and Mike Olsen chose not to pit and finished second through fifth. Pit visitors Mike Stefanik, Bryon Chew, and Eddie MacDonald were next in line, with Sean Caisse and Kip Stockwell completing the top ten.
The win was particularly sweet for the second-generation driver, since he was the first car out of the season opener at Stafford, leaving him 28th in points after one race. Wednesday night's win pushed him to fourth in the standings, just 88 points behind leader Stefanik.
Santerre closed to within ten points of Stefanik, benefiting from the ten point bonus for leading the most laps. Matt Kobyluck, only seven points behind Stefanik entering the night, was involved in a first lap incident with Busch Pole winner Mike Johnson and front row mate MacDonald, which put him 13 laps behind. Kobyluck ran at competitive speed for the rest of the race, but could only salvage 20th place, putting him 54 points behind the leader.
Johnson and MacDonald stayed on the lead lap after their tangle, although a separate accident would relegate Johnson to 23rd. Hoar came out of the first-lap melee to lead until lap 23, when Santerre took over. A caution flag at lap 65 shaped the rest of the race as Moore, running fourth, led eight cars to pit road for new right-side Goodyear Eagles. By the halfway point Moore was back to fourth. A lap later he followed Hoar around Santerre, who had lost the lead to Christopher on lap 77, and soon dispatched Hoar as well.
Moore settled into second and stalked Christopher, an unusual position for Stafford's all-time leading NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series race winner who is more often the hunter than the hunted. He made his move on a restart with 28 laps to go and passed Christopher on lap 123. The margin of victory was 1.456 seconds.
Five caution periods for 49 laps held the average speed to 64.888 miles per hour. The caution laps included a red flag at lap 83 after a second turn incident involving top runners Johnson, Jerry Marquis, Joey McCarthy, and Brad Leighton required extensive clean-up of spilled fluids. Dave Dion was also forced to the sidelines by a late-race accident but no injuries were reported. Of the 28 starters, 21 were running at the finish with 14 on the lead lap.
Moore earned $7,500 in joining Kobyluck and Stefanik as multiple winners in 2005. Scott Bouley captured the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award for advancing 13 places, from 26th at the start to 13th at the finish. Brian Hoar pocketed the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for improving 15 spots from his finish at Adirondack International Speedway on July 30.
Stefanik holds 1148 points to 1138 for Santerre and 1094 for Kobyluck entering the Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150 at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., on Saturday, August 20.