NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES POST-RACE NOTES The Edge Hotel 150 Adirondack International Speedway, Beaver Falls, N.Y., Sat., July 29,...
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES POST-RACE NOTES
The Edge Hotel
Adirondack International Speedway, Beaver Falls, N.Y., Sat., July 29, 2006
BREAKING AWAY: It's perilous to say any competitor is out of contention until they are mathematically eliminated. Red Sox fans, who make up a big portion of the Busch East Series community, savor the proof of that statement from October 2004. However, it wll take a comeback on the scale of that authored by the Sox against the Yankees to dislodge Mike Olsen and Sean Caisse from the top of the Busch East Series points table in the remaining four races of the 2006 season.
Brian Hoar, who took over third in the standings at Adirondack thanks to his own fourth place and the late-race accident which took Matt Kobyluck and Mike Johnson out of contention, is unofficially 185 points behind Olsen. That number is the total scored by a race winner who does not lead the most laps. Hypothetically, Olsen could miss the next race at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl on August 19, and still lead Hoar in the standings unless Brian won and led the most laps. Olsen will be at the 'Bowl for sure, but that bit of statistical trivia shows just how much distance Olsen, and Caisse, 34 points behind him, have put on the field.
BONUS POINTS: By taking the lead on lap 100 at Adirondack, Caisse continued his remarkable record of leading every race so far in the 2006 campaign. The No. 44 Casella Waste Services Chevrolet has led the most laps in four of the seven races, scoring 55 bonus points. Olsen, meanwhile, has led four races, but not the most laps in any of them, giving him just 20 bonus points. The main effect of Caisse's advantage in bonus points has been to cushion the impact of his 28th place finish at Thompson in June.
While there are no championship points involved in Busch Pole Qualifying, Caisse continued his equally remarkable streak if never qualifying worse than third so far in 2006, which has obviously helped him lead many of those laps.
A NIGHT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Bryon Chew's second place finish meant more than a move to fourth place in the standings, one point out of third. As he told SPEED pit reporter Jim Tretow, the No. 99 Buzz Chew Auto Group Chevrolet team has dedicated the 2006 season to his stepmother, who suffered serious injuries last winter in a snowmobile accident only ten miles from the speedway. He could have added that two years ago he was in position to win his first Busch East Series race at Adirondack until he and Ryan Moore were eliminated in an accident with a lapped car. Moreover, while the Chew family's home and business are on Long Island, the Buzz Chew Racing shop run by crew chief Ron Ste. Marie at Inlet, N.Y., is only a little over an hour's haul from Adirondack's pit gate.
A MIXED DAY IN LITTLE TREES COUNTRY: The Adirondack event is always a big one for Mike Olsen and his team, since the sponsor of the No. 61 Little Trees Chevrolet, Car-Freshner Corp., has its headquarters just 35 miles away in Watertown, N.Y. Besides arriving as the point leader, this was to be a special day for two other reasons: Mike's brother, Todd Aldrich, was set to make his Busch East Series debut,and their grandfather, Stub Fadden, had made the trip from North Haverhill, N.H., to watch them in action.
At first glance, it looks like Olsen's day was uneventful- he qualified third, ran there most of the race, and finished third. But it got real exciting shortly after lap 140 as Mike Johnson, Carlos Pardo, and Bryon Chew went flying past. Then the lap 147 incident involving Matt Kobyluck, Pardo, and Johnson took place right in front of him. That left Olsen third again on the green-white-checker restart, but with Dale Quarterley and Brian Hoar on newer tires right behind. Fortunately for Mike, they raced each other for the decisive two lap dash and he was able to hold the show position, minimizing the loss of points to race winner Caisse.
Todd Aldrich, stepping up from late model stock cars in New Hampshire, qualified a solid 19th and had a learning experience which included a couple of harmless spins until lap 127, when he was in the middle of a hard crash in turn two with Rich Gould and Jeremy Clark. Damage was heavy to all three cars but the drivers were not injured.
Fadden, recovering from a stroke suffered last year, spent the afternoon as the main celebrity in the garage area, as a steady stream of well-wishers shook his hand and posed for pictures with the living legend.
The BIG "Q" IS BACK: Dale Quarterley's first start of the season at NHIS was a workmanlike effort, but at Adirondack, where he won the 2003 event with a dramatic late-race pass of Martin Truex Jr., he really showed the form that made him a title contender until scaling back his own racing to concentrate on Jeff Anton's team. Again he took tires at mid-race and quietly worked his way through the field, not appearing on most teams' radar screen until the last ten laps. He was up to fourth place, passing his protege Anton along the way, but conceded one spot to Brian Hoar, on even fresher tires, at the checker.
Anton's sixth place finish was a career best. Just like Quarterley, Anton entered the Busch East Series with most of his experience on two wheels, although in Jeff's case it was motocross rather than road racing. In a year and a half, he has become a solid short-track stock car racer.
OH BROTHER: In addition to the Olsen-Aldrich duo, two other sets of brothers were in action. The only pair who had ever raced together in the Busch East Series were Carlos and Ruben Pardo. Carlos gave Troy Willams' No. 21 tia Bonita Chevrolet the ride of its life, moving into third place before contact with Matt Kobyluck cost him a lap held in the pits. For Ruben it was a difficult night as he was the first car off the track, leaving him to watch both his string of three straigjht top-ten finishes and his Sunoco Rookie point lead melt away.
Meanwhile, Dion and Ray Ciccarelli could hardly have been happier as Dion moved into a tie with Ruben Pardo for the Sunoco Rookie lead and Ray captured the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award in his first series start. For those who are keeping score, Dion drove the composite-bodied No. 84 Star Sales Ford, while Ray's No. 83 Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Ford was a steel-bodied Jamerson Motorsports car.
MILESTONES: In addition to Jeff Anton, Joe Masessa (11th) recorded a best career finish... Brian Hoar's third place in the Busch East Series standings is his highest ever. He finished fourth in 2003... By manufacturer, the top ten include seven Chevrolets, two Dodges (Hoar and R. Pardo), and one Ford (Johnson)... John Cerbone's 14th place qualifying effort was the best of his career, and he was a strong contender to top his previous best finish, a 12th at Waterford in 2003, had he not been involved in a turn two tangle with Jeremy Clark... Kip Stockwell's third top ten finish of the season equalled his career mark set last year. Four generations of the Stockwell-Corey family were at the track on race day... After seven races, 20 teams have perfect attendance at Busch East Series events, including six Sunoco Rookies.
SAVE THE DATE: The Edge Hotel 150 will be broadcast by SPEED as part of the "Racing Across America" series at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 10.