Baker wins Pepsi 150 at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 1998) Veteran road racer Kim Baker of Wilbraham, Mass., evaded a multi-car accident in the last turn two laps from the end and scored his first victory in the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, in the Pepsi 150 Saturday at Watkins Glen International.

Fans watching the Pepsi 150 had to wait until the final lap to know who would win the race as there were several lead changes in the last 10 laps of the 62-lap event over the 2.45-mile road co urse. Two major off-course excursions took off the top-two cars in separate incidents.

NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Ricky Craven, a Busch North Series alumnus and the Bud Pole winner, elected to start on the outside row and beat the field into the firs t turn. Bryan Wall used the road racing skills he learned before becoming a Busch North Series regular to pass Craven, leading laps two through six, while Brad Bennett slipped into the lead from lap seven to 16.

Wall rose back to the top for laps 17 through 24 while another road racing-to-Busch NorthSeries convert, Lou Rettenmeier, sat on the point from laps 25 through 31 -- the halfway mark.

Jerry Marquis then ran up front for 14 laps, with Craven returning to lead laps 46 through 52.

With 10 laps remaining, the fireworks started. Wall muscled his way past Craven to take the lead back. As the race wound down, Wall led up to lap 59 before spinning off the track in the first turn, which also knocked Craven back in the running order.

The spin resulted in a shuffle that found Kelly Moore, Bennett and Marquis heading into Turn 11 with two laps remaining. Bennett and Moore made contact with Moore spinning and collecting Marquis. Bennett led across the line on lap 60, but was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for the Turn 11 incident.

At the finish, Baker, who was fifth with two to go, found himself driving under the checkered flag first.

Bennett was assessed a post-race penalty of one lap for ignoring the black flag and was posted in the 18th finishing position after the race. John Preston, another Busch North Series graduate, finished second, with Joe Pezza in third. Eric Bodine and point leader Tom Carey rounded out the top-five after coming back from separate early-race setbacks.

Baker's win was worth $20,600 from the $148,765 in posted awards. Rounding out the top-10 were Martin Truex, Tom Bolles, Brian Simo, Mike Olsen and defending series champion Mike Stefanik.

Source - NASCAR Online