STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. - Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Mike Johnson led every lap to win Friday night's 10th annual NASCAR 150 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at Stafford Motor Speedway. It was the Salisbury, Mass. driver's...
STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. - Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Mike Johnson led every lap to win Friday night's 10th annual NASCAR 150 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at Stafford Motor Speedway. It was the Salisbury, Mass. driver's first Busch North Series victory.
Johnson won the Bud Pole Award at 90.239 miles per hour on the half-mile oval, secured the number one starting spot in the redraw among the top eight qualifiers, and took the lead at the initial green flag. For most of the race he was pursued closely by Dale Shaw, who made one bid for the lead on lap 117. Shaw got alongside Johnson in traffic, but was unable to complete the pass. Johnson averaged 61.265 miles per hour and won $14,075, including Bud Pole, Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race, and Gatorade Front Runner Awards. Ironically, the last Busch North Series race, at New Hampshire International Speedway three weeks ago, had seen Johnson's rookie arch-rival Martin Truex Jr. score a nearly-identical clean sweep.
The race took a dramatic turn when Shaw's engine erupted in smoke just before the two-to-go signal was ready to be shown. Shaw's departure elevated defending Busch North Series champion Brad Leighton to second, in spite of a solo spin on lap 143 in which he did not lose a position. Leighton chased Johnson on the final restart, which saw the race extended to 155 laps to achieve a green flag finish but had to settle for second, one car length behind. It was a profitable night for Leighton, however, as his two closest rivals for the 2000 title, Shaw and Tracy Gordon, finished 20th and 17th, respectively, Unofficially, Leighton increased his point lead to 85 points over Shaw and 87 over Gordon.
Dave Dion advanced from 15th at the start to finish third, with Kelly Moore and Jerry Marquis fourth and fifth. Moore and Marquis were the highest placed drivers who chose to pit for tires at mid-race. A 63-lap green flag run until Shaw's misfortune doomed their chances of catching the leaders. Dennis Doyle, defending race winner Dennis Demers, Bill Penfold, Mike Rowe, and Matt Kobyluck completed the top ten and the lead-lap finishers.
The night's most serious accident took place after the checkered flag. Kobyluck slowed suddenly as he approached the checker, setting off a chain reaction which resulted in Bobby Dragon and Dan Koonmen crashing hard in turn one. No injuries were reported.
The Busch North Series returns to action in the Budweiser Busch North 150 at Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford, Conn. this Saturday night, August 5. <pre> BUSCH NORTH SERIES, NASCAR TOURING 10TH ANNUAL NASCAR 150 - Friday, July 28, 2000 - $76,173 Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Conn. (.500-mile paved oval)
UNOFFICIAL FINISH (finishing position, starting position, driver, hometown, manufacturer, laps, reason out if any, money won)
1.(1) Mike Johnson, Salisbury, Mass., Ford, 155, 61.265 mph, Running, $14,075 2.(10) Brad Leighton, Center Harbor, N.H., Chevrolet, 155, $7,005 3.(15) Dave Dion, Hudson, N.H., Ford, 155, $4,670 4.(8) Kelly Moore, Scarborough, Me., Pontiac, 155, $1,500 5.(9) Jerry Marquis, Broad Brook, Conn., Chevrolet, 155, $1,700 6.(20) Dennis Doyle, Plymouth, Conn., Chevrolet, 155, $1,200 7.(5) Dennis Demers, Shelburne, Vt., Chevrolet, 155, $1,610 8.(18) Bill Penfold, Yarmouth, Me., Chevrolet, 155, $1,450 9. (7) Mike Rowe, Turner, Me., Chevrolet, 155, $1,400 10.(13) Matt Kobyluck, Oakdale, Conn., Chevrolet, 155, $1,450 11.(12) Bobby Dragon, Milton, Vt., Chevrolet, 155, $1,400 12.(22) Dan Koonmen, Fairport, N.Y., Pontiac, 154, $850 13.(21) Barney McRae, Colchester, Vt., Chevrolet, 154, $1,150 14.(30) Louie Mechalides, Tyngsboro, Mass., Chevrolet, 154, $1,075 15.(28) Kip Stockwell, Randolph, Vt., Pontiac, 154, $1,050 16.(19) Tom Bolles, Ellington, Conn., Chevrolet, 153, $1,025 17.(4) Tracy Gordon, Strong, Me., Chevrolet, 153, $1,100 18.(25) Jeff Barry, Norwich, Conn., Chevrolet, 152, $590 19.(11) Mike Olsen, N. Haverhill, N.H., Chevrolet, 151, $1,080 20.(2) Dale Shaw, Center Conway, N.H., Chevrolet, 149, Engine, $1,070 21.(17) John Preston, Wyalusing, Pa., Chevrolet, 147, Running, $960 22.(24) Greg Schaefer, Hatboro, Pa., Chevrolet, 145, $550 23.(23) Dale Quarterley, Westfield, Mass., Chevrolet, 141, $940 24.(5) Martin Truex, Jr, Mayetta, N.J., Chevrolet, 131, Brakes, $930 25.(27) Bryan Wall, Plaistow, N.H., Ford, 130, Running, $1,020 26.(3) Ted Christopher, Plainville, Conn., Chevrolet, 88, Accident, $510 27.(16) Jamie Aube, Manchester, N.H., Chevrolet, 72, Overheating, $910 28.(29) Mike Bruno, Castleton, Vt., Chevrolet, 68, Engine, $910 29.(14) Brad Boissonneault, Meriden, Conn., Chevrolet, 43, Oil line, $510 30.(26) Todd Wilkinson, Sheffield, Mass., Chevrolet, 27, Accident, $510
Time of Race: 1 hour, 15 minutes, 54 seconds Average speed: 61.265 mph Caution periods: 5 for 36 laps Lead changes: None Lap Leaders: Mike Johnson 1-155 Margin of victory: 1 car length Bud Pole Award: Mike Johnson, Johnson Lumber Ford Gatorade Front Runner Award: Mike Johnson, Johnson Lumber Ford Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race: Mike Johnson, Johnson Lumber Ford Flowmaster Star of the Race Award: Louie Mechalides, Mid-City Paving Chevrolet
UNOFFICIAL POINT STANDINGS
1. Brad Leighton 1418 2. Dale Shaw 1333 3. Tracy Gordon 1331 4. Dave Dion 1276 5. Mike Olsen 1227 6. Mike Johnson 1133 7. Dennis Demers 1128 8. Bryan Wall 1122 9. Matt Kobyluck 1080 10.Bobby Dragon 1063