BNS: Stafford: News of note, schedule

NEWS OF NOTE * The New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 is the first of 12 Busch North Series events scheduled for national telecast by SPEED Channel in 2003. The broadcast will be seen on Monday, May 12, at 8 p.m., with the SPEED Channel ...

NEWS OF NOTE

* The New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 is the first of 12 Busch North Series events scheduled for national telecast by SPEED Channel in 2003. The broadcast will be seen on Monday, May 12, at 8 p.m., with the SPEED Channel Craftsman Truck Series team of Rick Allen, Phil Parsons, and Ray Dunlap calling the action.

* This marks the first time the Busch North Series has raced at Stafford on Mother's Day weekend. The event continues the sequence of NASCAR 150 Busch North races formerly run in late July. Dale Shaw is the defending winner of this race.

* Stafford Motor Speedway was the only track on the Busch North Series schedule where the track qualifying record was not broken in 2002, the first year on Goodyear Eagle tires. The record stands to the credit of Kelly Moore from June 22, 2001 at 19.674 seconds, 91.491 mph.

* The New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 will be the 21st race for the series at Stafford. The track was a part of the inaugural season in 1987, but did not return until 1991. No driver has won more than two races. Tied for the lead are Mike Stefanik, Andy Santerre, Brad Leighton, Kelly Moore; and Mike Johnson. Both Moore's wins came in the last two seasons; Johnson's in the last three years.

* One-time winners at Stafford are Tommy Houston, Mike McLaughlin, Keith Lamell, Tom Bolles, Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller, Dennis Demers, Ted Christopher, Martin Truex Jr., and Dale Shaw. For Houston, Lamell, Fuller, and Demers, their Stafford wins are their only Busch North triumphs to date. Houston, one of the founding fathers of the Busch Series and uncle of Teresa Earnhardt, stopped for the 1987 weeknight race at Stafford on his way home from Oxford, Maine.

* Stafford graduates who race regularly with the Busch North Series in 2003 include Mike Stefanik, Matt Kobyluck, and Scott Bouley. Ted Christopher, Denny Doyle, Jerry Marquis, and Tom Bolles are Stafford alumni who run limited to occasional schedules. "TC", of course, is still a Friday night Stafford regular and the all-time feature win leader in the SK modified division.

* A quick recap of the 2002 trio of Busch North races at Stafford... In June, Kelly Moore won the Bud Pole and the race after swapping the lead three times with Dale Shaw, who did not pit and faded to sixth. Andy Santerre and Dale Quarterley were second and third.... In July, it was Dale Shaw's turn as he pitted and muscled his way past Santerre and Quarterley in the closing laps. Matt Kobyluck was sent to the tail for contact with Dennis Demers on the initial start, but fought his way back to second with Tracy Gordon third... September's Carquest Fall Final showed the no-pit strategy can succeed as Mike Johnson held off Moore and Santerre. Martin Truex Jr. pitted from the lead on lap 87 and could never get back into contention.

* Tim Andrews' fourth place at Lee USA Speedway was the highest finish for a Raybestos Rookie candidate since 2000, when both Mike Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. won races in their freshman year.

* The last Busch North Series driver to win the first two races of the season was Brad Leighton in 1999, at Lee USA and NHIS. Santerre came within six inches of doing that last year before losing to Leighton at NHIS. He'll have the chance to atone for that loss in the New England Dodge Dealers 150.

ALUMNI IN ACTION:

Martin Truex Jr., the 2002 Bush North Series Bud Pole champion and runner-up for the 2000 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award, qualified sixth for last Friday's Hardees 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Richmond International Raceway, driving a Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet. He ran consistently in the top five and led several laps before breaking his transmission on a late restart. He finished 31st. Truex is expected to run seven Busch Series races for the DEI team.

WHAT'S THE WORD?

"We love going to Stafford. It's a great facility with a great surface and it's only an hour from home." -- Matt Kobyluck, runner-up in the 2002 New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 after recovering from a first-lap stop-and-go penalty. He has run twice in 2003 with the Winston West Series, traveling to Arizona and Nevada.

FAST FACTS:

New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series Race #2 of 18.
Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Conn.

Friday, May 9, 9:00 p.m. (approx.)
150 laps, 75.0 miles
SPEED Channel, Monday, May 12, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT

Schedule: Friday, May 9 -- Practice 3:00 to 4:00 pm., Bud Pole Qualifying 5:30 p.m., New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 9:00 p.m. (approx.)

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Mike McLaughlin , Martin Truex Jr. , Dale Quarterley , Matt Kobyluck , Phil Parsons , Mike Johnson , Tim Andrews , Scott Bouley