Andy Santerre Motorsports Opens BES Season with Top 10's in Greenville ASM Rides Bring Home Sean Caisse Second and Jeffrey Earnhardt Sixth CONCORD, NC (April 30, 2007) -- The Andy Santerre Motorsports team was the toast of the town in ...
Andy Santerre Motorsports Opens BES Season with Top 10's in Greenville
ASM Rides Bring Home Sean Caisse Second and Jeffrey Earnhardt Sixth
CONCORD, NC (April 30, 2007) -- The Andy Santerre Motorsports team was the toast of the town in Greenville, SC, last June when Sean Caisse brought his Casella Waste Systems #44 Chevrolet to Greenville-Pickens Speedway's victory lane in the first race of the 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series season.
Even though team ASM was not able to defend its win at Greenville in the 2007 BES season opener Saturday night, Andy Santerre Motorsports certainly made an impact with its two entries, Caisse's Casella #44 and the #1 Chevrolet for DEI Development Driver Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Caisse dominated the first half of the Greased Lightning 150 at Greenville before losing the top spot to Joey Logano on lap 73. Despite his best efforts on late restarts, Caisse had to settle for second behind Logano, while rookie driver Jeffrey Earnhardt took an ASM-prepared machine to an impressive sixth-place finish in his Busch East Series debut.
"It was a great night for us," said ASM team owner Andy Santerre. "I was really excited to see both our cars running up front like that. I knew Sean was going to have a good car, would run up front and contend for the win, but I was really impressed to see Jeffrey run that well."
Both cars out of the ASM stable qualified inside the top-10, with Earnhardt starting eighth and Caisse narrowly missing the Busch Pole Award. Caisse immediately made his way to the front and checked out from the field early on. Earnhardt, however, had a bumpier road with his DEI-owned #1, but the 17-year-old handled himself with the precision of a veteran, working his way back up to sixth late in the race at a track that his great-grandfather Ralph Earnhardt was a two-time track champion.
"I'm pretty pumped up about this one," said Earnhardt. "I just came here planning on finishing maybe in the top-15 and just keeping all the fenders on the car and finish every single lap. The guys put a heck of a car beneath me. It was great on long runs all night long. We were stout on those long runs and that helped us out in the end."
"Jeffrey did an awesome job," added Santerre. "He stayed out of trouble, and I don't think he had a scratch on the car. He ran up as high as fifth. He struggled a bit on the restarts just because he wasn't used to that sort of thing in these cars, but he did have one heck of a qualifying lap, and he ran a good race all night long. I'm real proud of him tonight.
"I think he's got a lot of talent. DEI obviously saw it and now I'm seeing it too. We're excited about that."
As impressive as Earnhardt was, Caisse was the one who had the best shot at Greenville's victory lane for a second consecutive year. Even after losing his early lead, Caisse never gave up, patiently focusing on eventual winner Logano's bumper.
Several late-race restarts afforded Caisse chances to retake the lead. On each restart, Caisse would get strong jumps in the high lane, but the 20-year-old star was never able to get enough of a run off the corner to claim the top spot.
Even though Caisse came up one spot shy of the position he wanted, it was still a positive day for him and the entire ASM organization.
"I talked to Joey after the race and he said he saved it and that was the difference," said Caisse. "I'm struggling with it because I thought I saved my stuff too. I'm just a little confused that he could be a full second faster than us at the end of the race. That's pretty impressive, I guess. Congratulations to him, though. He did a great job of wheeling it, and he ran me clean. He had a great piece under him and they did their homework. We're just going to have to work that much harder.
"I'm points racing this year and we want this championship pretty bad. You can't put your head down over a second-place finish. We just have to work harder. It's a long season, so we're going to do some work and come out and get them at Elko."
"Sean had a good night," said Santerre. "We were off just a tick from where we should have been, but we were no different than the other 28 cars in the field -- we just weren't as good as Joey. I've got a lot of homework to do if I'm going to run with that number-20 car.
"I've been in this business a long time, and I've never been beaten by a full second on a short track in my life. More power to them. Joey's a heck of a driver and I know that; I've worked with him. But to beat the 44 car by a full second a lap there at the end of the race on old tires, then that's a tip of the hat to their team."
Both Sean Caisse and Jeffrey Earnhardt will be out to back up their strong runs at Greenville in their ASM-prepared machines when the NASCAR Busch East Series returns to Elko Speedway in Minnesota on May 18th.