BNS: Waterford race report

WATERFORD, Conn. - Mike Johnson worked his way from 15th in the starting lineup to win Saturday night's Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at the Waterford Speedbowl by half a second over Kelly Moore. The second career Busch North Series win...

WATERFORD, Conn. - Mike Johnson worked his way from 15th in the starting lineup to win Saturday night's Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race at the Waterford Speedbowl by half a second over Kelly Moore. The second career Busch North Series win for the 2000 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year, combined with a 13th place finish by series leader Mike Olsen, allowed Johnson to close within 44 points of the top spot in the standings.

Dennis Demers, who started on the pole after the redraw among the top qualifiers and led 73 of the first 103 laps, finished third with defending Busch North Series champion Brad Leighton fourth. Kip Stockwell recorded his best finish since 1997 to complete the top five. Bryan Wall, Bud Pole winner Dale Shaw, Bryon Chew, Tracy Gordon, and Dan Koonmen filled positions six through ten.

Johnson averaged 65.045 miles per hour as only four caution periods slowed the action for 29 laps. There were five lead changes among four drivers, with just six cars on the lead lap at the finish. The scheduled 150 lap distance was extended to 155 circuits to enable the last two laps to be run under the green flag, as required by Busch North Series rules.

Except for one lap when Olsen nosed ahead, Demers led until he surrendered the top spot to Shaw on lap 44. Demers regained the lead on lap 73 and stayed out front until Johnson completed his climb to the front on the 104th circuit. Moore, who started 12th, also made his way around Demers and chased Johnson to the checkered flag.

Shaw won the Bud Pole Award with lap of 15.006 seconds at 79.888 mils per hour. Demers captured the Gatorade Front Runner Award, and Stockwell's advance from 22nd to 5th secured the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award. Joey McCarthy's 12th place finish was rewarded with his second Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award of the 2000 season.

Unofficially, Olsen now leads Johnson by 44 points, 1259 to 1215, in the race for the 2001 Busch North Series title. Tracy Gordon and Brad Leighton are tied for third with 1153 points.

The Busch North Series continues this Saturday night, July 7, with the Irving Oil 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Me.

-Al Robinson

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Bryan Wall , Mike Johnson , Bryon Chew