Carquest Fall Final, Stafford Motor Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2001 Mike Olsen's persistence was rewarded with his first Busch North Series championship, despite a difficult race which saw him fall from fifth to eleventh during the last 40 laps.
Carquest Fall Final, Stafford Motor Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2001
Mike Olsen's persistence was rewarded with his first Busch North Series championship, despite a difficult race which saw him fall from fifth to eleventh during the last 40 laps. Olsen sewed up the title in his 195th career Busch North Series start. By way of comparison, Brad Leighton clinched his first title (1999) in his 77th start, and Mike Stefanik locked up his first crown (1997) in his 102nd BNS appearance.
Brad Leighton not only became the first three-time race winner of 2001, he also moved to the top of the Busch North Series unofficial money-won list with over $88,000, despite ranking only ninth in points. Winning always pays well, and one of Brad's wins was a $19,000 pay day at New Hampshire International Speedway I July. He's also entitled to a $600 bonus per race in 2001 as the defending champion. Of course, the final money-won statistics will reflect post-season awards, where Mike Olsen's championship will likely send him to the head of the class.
Ted Christopher had a chance to equal Mike McLaughlin's unique achievement of two NASCAR Touring wins in one day in the Carquest Fall Final, but his spin while trying to take the lead from Dale Shaw put that out of reach by the time the day as ten laps old. He had a bad race in the SK modified feature as well, but took out his frustrations on the Featherlite Modified Series field, leading 137 of 150 laps.
Bryon Chew's seventh place finish was a career best for the big Long Islander, while Bill Penfold equaled his career mark of six top ten finishes.
This meeting of the club had nearly perfect attendance. Of the top 30 drivers in the Busch North Series point standings after the Carquest Fall Final, 27 were in Sunday's field. Dale Quarterley's early retirement coast him two spots, to Johnson and Wall, and Paul Richardson's non-appearance dropped him three places, from 14th to 17th. Joey McCarthy gained two positions to 15th, his best points ranking of the season.
The Gatorade Front Runner Award for race leadership will go right down to the wire at Lime Rock. Olsen leads with 14 points to 12 for Leighton and Martin Truex Jr. Three points are awarded for leading the most laps at each event, with one point to all other race leaders. Last year Leighton and Dale Shaw tied on points, but Leighton got the nod based on his higher overall position in the Busch North Series point standings.
For the second year in a row, the runner-up spot in the standings will be settled at Lime Rock, and again Dale Shaw is part of the equation. Last year, Shaw edged Tracy Gordon in the season finale, while this year the contest is between Shaw and Kelly Moore, who leads by two points. They won't finish in a tie, since the smallest separation between any two finishing positions is three points.
A correction and an apology are due to Dale Shaw's engine builder for an error in the Dover Downs results. The correct name is of the company is Power Research.