NASCAR Busch Series veteran Andy Santerre will drive the No. 31 Whelen Monte Carlo for Ted Marsh Racing this weekend when the Busch Series makes its inaugural visit to Kansas Speedway. The Cherryfield, Maine native will fill-in for driver Steve...
NASCAR Busch Series veteran Andy Santerre will drive the No. 31 Whelen Monte Carlo for Ted Marsh Racing this weekend when the Busch Series makes its inaugural visit to Kansas Speedway. The Cherryfield, Maine native will fill-in for driver Steve Park who is recovering from head injuries suffered at Darlington on Sept. 1.
Santerre and the Marsh Racing team won Busch North races in the Whelen Monte Carlo at Watkins Glen and New Hampshire last year. Marsh Racing has fielded a part-time Busch South team for Park the last two seasons.
“Andy is a friend,” said team owner Ted Marsh. “We have had success with him last year in the North Series and he’s perfect for our team in this situation. Plus, he’s one of the few drivers on Steve’s approved list. He is who we wanted, Whelen wanted and Steve wanted.”
Santerre said he looks forward to getting more seat time in a Busch Series car as well as helping out friends on the Old Lyme, Conn. team..
“I wish it were under better circumstances. I hate what happened to Steve, but I’m glad to help out,” Santerre said. “Ted (Marsh) and I have worked together in the past and had a lot of success together.
"We ran four races in the North Series last year and won two of them. We seem to work well together. This is a real opportunity for me. I know the Whelen folks and they have always been great to me. I’m glad they asked me to do this.”
The 31-year-old Santerre continues to rebuild his career from serious injuries he suffered in an accident early in the 1999 NAPA 300 at Daytona International Speedway. In 2000, he competed in 14 Busch Series events for Team Rensi Motorsports.
He posted one top-5 and four top-10 finishes. Santerre has 10 victories in the Busch North Series and was 1994 rookie of the year there. He won a Busch Series race in 1999 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He has raced in eight Busch races in 2001 with the team he owns.
Marsh said the team expects to run Phoenix and Homestead this season with either Park or Santerre.
“This is still Steve Park’s ride, but if he can’t come back then it will be up to Andy as to what he wants to do the rest of the season. We will just have to see what happens.”
Santerre said he couldn’t pick a better place to debut with his new team than Kansas City. Few drivers have even tested on the 1.5-mile oval.
“I have never even seen the track,” he said. “Everybody is on an equal playing field in Kansas City. Teddy (Marsh) is known for having great equipment. I seem to adapt pretty well to new race tracks so I don’t think we are going to have a lot of trouble. You really never know going to new race tracks though. You could be the fastest or your could be the slowest. But, I feel pretty confident we are going to have a good race car.”
Marsh has a plan as well.
“We are going to call everybody we know who has been there to test. I’m going to call (Park’s Winston Cup crew chief) Paul Andrews and Andy’s got friends he can call. We will take all that information and put it into one pot then decide which way we want to start and that’s the way we will start.”
NBC will televise Saturday’s race at 2 p.m.