SEAN CAISSE SCORES FIRST NASCAR BUSCH EAST SERIES WIN IN 2006 SEASON OPENER AT GREENVILLE-PICKENS; HUGE CROWD CHEERS RETURN OF GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION TO HISTORIC SPEEDWAY GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Sean Caisse, the 2005 Sunoco Rookie of the...
SEAN CAISSE SCORES FIRST NASCAR BUSCH EAST SERIES WIN IN 2006 SEASON OPENER AT GREENVILLE-PICKENS; HUGE CROWD CHEERS RETURN OF GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION TO HISTORIC SPEEDWAY
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Sean Caisse, the 2005 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, won his first career NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway Saturday night. Caisse, driving for four-time champion Andy Santerre, took the lead for the final time on lap 142 of An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet. A near-capacity crowd at NASCAR's second--oldest speedway, including racing legends David Pearson and Jack Ingram, enthusiastically enjoyed the classic short track bumping, grinding, and three-wide racing on the nearly flat half mile track where the first live NASCAR telecast on a major network took place 35 years ago.
Brian Hoar, Mike Olsen, Matt Kobyluck, and Bryon Chew completed the top five after all took a shot at victory in the hectic closing stages, along with hard-luck Ryan Moore who spun as he lost the lead to Caisse and finished 24th. Hoar, who challenged with an inside move on the final restart, was just .268 seconds behind. The most audacious bid came from Kobyluck, who waited until the final 40 laps to pit for fresh tires and restarted 13th. He fell short of catching Olsen for third by half a car length.
Mike Johnson was sixth, followed by Jeff Anton in seventh, John Salemi eighth, and Charles Lewandoski ninth, representing best career finishes for all three. Kip Stockwell completed the top ten. A dozen caution periods, mostly for minor spins, slowed the race which saw 25 of 30 starters running at the finish, with 18 on the lead lap. The only significant accident came when Doug Krpata crashed in turn one without injury.
Olsen won his ninth career Busch Pole Award, setting an automatic track record at 20.579 seconds, 86.709 miles per hour to edge Caisse for the time trial honors. Jeremy Clark, in his first series start, advanced 14 positions from start to finish to capture the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award. Brian Hoar was the Featherlite Most Improved Driver, moving up 25 spots from the final race of 2005. By leading the most laps, Caisse scored the maximum 185 points to lead Hoar and Olsen by 15 markers heading to next Friday's TSI Harley-Davidson 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn.