BNS: USA-Lee: Race report

Santerre is back in Busch North Series, announces return with victory in Sanel Auto Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway; Olsen & Johnson again run 2nd & 3rd. LEE, N.H.-- Andy Santerre celebrated his full-time return to Busch North Series, NASCAR ...

Santerre is back in Busch North Series, announces return with victory in Sanel Auto Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway; Olsen & Johnson again run 2nd & 3rd.

LEE, N.H.-- Andy Santerre celebrated his full-time return to Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring competition by winning the 2002 season opener, the Sanel Auto Parts 150 at Lee USA Speedway Sunday afternoon. Santerre passed Matt Kobyluck with 42 laps remaining and held off defending champion Mike Olsen by .53 seconds.

Mike Johnson, Dale Shaw, and Kobyluck completed the top five, with Brad Leighton, Dave Dion, Joey McCarthy, Greg Schaefer, and Dennis Demers making up the balance of the top ten. Olsen and Johnson repeated their finishes from the same event in 2001.

Santerre started 11th and averaged 50.149 miles per hour as eight caution periods slowed the pace for 64 laps. Olsen began the defense of his Bud Pole Award title by setting a track record of 15.305 seconds, 86.206 miles per hour, in the series debut race on Goodyear Eagle tires. After Dale Quarterley led the first five laps, Olsen took the point and held it against challenges by Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. Santerre advanced to third by lap 63 but pitted with the leaders at lap 89 as Kobyluck and McCarthy stayed on the track.

The lap 96 restart was decisive as Santerre and Johnson both got around Olsen. Santerre took the lead on lap 108 after a side-by-side battle with Kobyluck. Olsen regained second from Johnson with a dozen circuits remaining, but a final caution flag in the waning laps worked to the leader's advantage by taking Santerre out of heavy traffic.

Olsen captured the Gatorade Front Runner Award by leading 84 laps, and Schaefer was the Flowmaster Star of the Race by advancing 18 positions. Gary Shackford became the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race by finishing 12th, the highest of four rookie contenders.

The Busch North Series resumes with the Busch 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., on Saturday, May 11.

-nascar/bns-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Greg Schaefer , Dale Quarterley , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson