RUBEN PARDO SCORES FIRST BUSCH EAST SERIES VICTORY BY HOLDING OFF MATT KOBYLUCK IN MOHEGAN SUN 200 AT LIME ROCK; MIKE OLSEN'S THIRD PLACE NAILS DOWN SECOND SERIES TITLE LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Ruben Pardo completed a brilliant rookie...
RUBEN PARDO SCORES FIRST BUSCH EAST SERIES VICTORY BY HOLDING OFF MATT KOBYLUCK IN MOHEGAN SUN 200 AT LIME ROCK; MIKE OLSEN'S THIRD PLACE NAILS DOWN SECOND SERIES TITLE
LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Ruben Pardo completed a brilliant rookie season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series by holding off defending race winner Matt Kobyluck to win Saturday's Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park's 1.53 mile road course. Mike Olsen's third place finish made him the series champion for the second time, five years after his first title.
Pardo qualified second and trailed Busch Pole winner Kobyluck until the latter pitted after 16 laps. Pardo surrendered the top spot to Olsen after 32 circuits, with Kobyluck cycling back to the front five laps later. The last half of the 82-lap, 200-kilometer race was primarily a three way battle among Kobyluck, Pardo, and Brian Hoar, who finished fourth. Their duel was punctuated when Pardo and Kobyluck tangled in turn one on lap 56. Pardo emerged second and passed Hoar for the lead ten laps later. Kobyluck rolled the dice on a stop for tires with 13 laps remaining and nearly made the gamble pay off, losing by only 0.184 seconds as Olsen passed Hoar for third on the last lap.
Sean Caisse, Olsen's main rival for the title all summer, finished fifth and did not lead a lap for the first time all season. Unofficially, Olsen's championship margin was 124 points. Tracy Gordon's sixth place moved him to 15th in the unofficial final standings, giving him the final automatic invitation to the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, October 20-21. Pardo's teammate, John Freeman, Bryon Chew, Joey McCarthy, and Jeff Anton completed the top ten.
Pardo won $10,496 while clinching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for 2006 and winning the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for exceeding his performance at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last week by 23 places.. The Mexico City native also became the first international driver to win a race in the Busch East Series. He averaged 73.845 miles per hour as five caution periods lasted 27 laps. The top four finishers- Pardo, Kobyluck, Olsen, and Hoar- exchanged the lead seven times, as just 18 of the 30 qualifiers were running at the finish, with 12 on the lead lap. Barney McRae advanced from 30th to 11th to earn the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award.