STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. - Both Brad Leighton and Mike Olsen claimed success in Sunday afternoon's Carquest Fall Final Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at Stafford Motor Speedway. Leighton became the first three-time race winner of the 2001...
STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. - Both Brad Leighton and Mike Olsen claimed success in Sunday afternoon's Carquest Fall Final Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at Stafford Motor Speedway. Leighton became the first three-time race winner of the 2001 season by outrunning Dale Shaw and Mike Johnson, while Olsen clinched his first Busch North Series title by nursing an ailing car home 11th, one place in front of his nearest challenger, Kelly Moore.
Leighton, who started sixth, took the lead from Shaw on lap 87 of the 150 lap event and went on to win by 2.2 seconds. Shaw, who led the most laps, was second, with Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and Bryan Wall completing the top five. Dave Dion, Bryon Chew, Bill Penfold, Matt Kobyluck, and Ted Christopher were sixth through tenth. A dozen cars finished on the lead lap, and 25 of the 30 starters were running at the finish. Only two caution periods slowed the pace for 12 laps, enabling Leighton to set a track record of 75.758 miles per hour for the distance.
Ironically, Leighton's 17th career victory came on the day his two-year reign as Busch North Series champion officially ended, thanks to Olsen's clinching of the 2001 title.
Olsen needed only to finish close behind Moore to claim the title, and much of the race saw him solidly in the top five while Moore struggled to regain the lead lap after a stop-and-go penalty for a mid-race pit violation. With less than 40 laps to go, Olsen began to slow with a vibration he thought to be a blistered tire. The closing laps found the championship contenders as the last two cars on the lead lap, but that was enough for Olsen to claim the crown. With one race awarding 180 points to the winner remaining, Olsen leads Moore by 197 points and Shaw by 199.
Moore extended his career record by claiming his 42nd Bud Pole with a time of 19.827 seconds at a speed of 90.785 mph. Shaw won the Gatorade Front Runner Award, and Wall was the Flowmaster Star of the Race by improving 16 positions from start to finish. Wall also locked up the season-long Flowmaster award. Joey McCarthy was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race, but could not deny Brian Hoar the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year title, which he clinched by qualifying for the Stafford race.
The first caution flag was brought out by a harmless Brad Boissonneault spin. The second, however, produced a tense moment as Dale Quarterley slid across the infield and back onto the track in turn two, directly in front of Kip Stockwell. Stockwell's car became airborne over the nose of Quarterley's machine, but came down on its wheels. Neither driver was injured.
The Busch North Series concludes its 2001 season on Saturday, October 13, with the Burnham Boilers 200 presented by New England Dodge Dealers on the road course at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.