LOUDON, N.H. (July 21, 2001) - Brad Leighton, the defending Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring champion, took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on lap 121 and went win the New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday afternoon ...
LOUDON, N.H. (July 21, 2001) - Brad Leighton, the defending Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring champion, took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on lap 121 and went win the New England 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 51,000 sun-splashed fans. Leighton became the first driver to win five Busch North Series races at the series' most prestigious track. It was his 16th career BNS victory, tying him for second on the all-time list.
Leighton used a daring three-wide move entering turn one and a lapped car to overtake Truex, with whom he had swapped the lead repeatedly for most of the distance. Truex came home second with Kelly Moore third. Matt Kobyluck finished fourth, the highest of in his career. Dale Quarterley rounded out the top-five. Dale Shaw crossed the line third but was penalized to 18th, the last car on the lead lap, for his role in an incident with Quarterley on the last lap.
Completing the top ten were Dennis Demers, Bryan Wall, Jerry Marquis, Bill Penfold, and Tracy Gordon. Mike Olsen, who is the current series point leader, finished 12th and holds a 143-point margin over Moore after 11 of 21 Busch North Series races.
Leighton captured the Bud Pole, the fifth of his career but his first at NHIS, and led the first 13 laps before giving way to Quarterley. Truex, the defending race winner, took over on lap 21 but surrendered the point to Brad Boissonneault when most of the leaders pitted on a lap 33 caution.
Boissonneault was impressive in staying out front until passed by Truex the 42nd circuit. From that point, Truex and Leighton waged their own personal battle for the top honors, with Leighton prevailing by 0.346 second.
The winner averaged 100.805 miles per hour as only four caution periods slowed the action for 20 laps. Of the 41 starters, 35 were running at the finish, with 18 on the lead lap. Dennis Doyle was the only driver eliminated by accident damage, but he was not injured.
Leighton won the Gatorade Front Runner Award, and Kobyluck's drive from 22nd to fourth earned the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award. Brian Hoar of Williston was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race.
The Busch North Series moves to Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn., for the ASB NASCAR 150 this Friday night, July 27.