Watkins Glen, NY - In his 100th NASCAR Busch North Series start, Andy Santerre piloted the ...
Watkins Glen, NY - In his 100th NASCAR Busch North Series start, Andy Santerre piloted the #44 Team EJP/WHELEN/Wynn Oil Company/Team ASE Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a record setting Bud Pole Award and to his 9th career NASCAR Busch North Series victory at Watkins Glen International Speedway in the glen.com 150 presented by Pepsi on Saturday, August 12, 2000.
Santerre, a Cherryfield, Maine native, scored his first career road course Bud Pole Award on the 2.45 road course with a time of 1:15.477 seconds and a speed of 116.857 miles per hour. All three of Santerre's laps in European style qualifying were fast enough for the pole, but his third and final lap shattered the old qualifying record of 114.842 miles per hour by over two miles per hour. Santerre's lap on bias ply tires would have put him solidly in the top-25 in NASCAR Busch Series qualifying at the Glen in June.
"This is the best car I have ever had here at the Glen," Santerre confirmed during the Bud Pole press conference. "I worked real hard on the front end geometry of the car and getting the roll center where I thought it should be for this race. Billy Hess helped me a lot and together we came up with the combination I had in the car." Santerre continues, "This car is awesome. I can't wait for the race tomorrow."
Santerre led the first 18 laps of the event in demanding fashion but lost the lead to veteran road racer, Joe Varde, after a restart. Four laps later, the leaders pitted under caution. Santerre entered pit road third and even though he beat all the other leaders off pit road, Santerre restarted the race in 16th position due to off sequence pit stops.
When the green flag flew at lap 24, Santerre immediately marched through the field to the front. He passed at least one car per lap and by lap 38, Santerre was in 2nd position behind Busch North Series points leader, Brad Leighton. Santerre closed the gap between first and second in a hurry and was trying to be patient making the pass until crew chief, Ted Marsh, radioed that the rain was coming.
Santerre had the pass made on Leighton through the inner loop until a caution came out and he had to give up the pass. Several laps later, Santerre again tried the pass in turn 10. Santerre got under Leighton who did not know Santerre was there and brief contact was made. Santerre took the lead and Leighton fell to sixth. After the pass on lap 47, Santerre increased his lead over Joe Varde and Dale Quarterly.
"Brad (Leighton) was fast," Santerre commented during the red flag. "I knew I had to get by him for the win and he's running for points and I'm not. We talked before the race and I told him I would race him fair and square. I had a couple chances to get by him and I just didn't want to make the move because it was too risky. I made a move coming off the carrousel turn going down the short straight. I pulled along side and I got my nose inside of him going into the left-hander. I thought he knew I was there, but he came down on me and we made slight contact and he moved up the track."
The red-flag was thrown at lap 56 for a wreck in turn 11 and eventually for rain. The race was called about an hour after the red flag was displayed. Santerre was declared the winner.
"I am so happy for my sponsors and my crew," Santerre exclaimed after hearing he was the victor. "I promised myself I would get my sponsors a win and we did. I had a real good feeling going into this weekend and I knew we would be strong. I have to thank Ted Marsh and the guys at Marsh Racing for fielding the car and helping to prepare it. It is a car I built by myself this past winter and I know every nut and bolt on it. I worked real hard to get it set up like I thought it should be and it worked. We were dominant all weekend."
Santerre, the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series "Rookie of the Year," spent the winter at Northeast Metal Fabrication building the chassis with the help of Dave Davis and Scott Rodling. He spent the last week at Billy Hess Race Cars mapping out the front-end and establishing the roll center. Ted Marsh and Marsh Racing field the car for the four-race Busch North Series program.
Santerre was the 1993 Busch North Series "Rookie of the Year", the 1994 Busch North Series "Most Popular Driver" and the 1996 Bud Pole Champion. In 100 starts, Santerre has nine career BNS victories, 14 Bud Pole Awards, 41 top-five, and 65 top-10 finishes. He competes part-time on the NASCAR Busch Series with Team Rensi Motorsports in the #25 Lance Snacks Chevrolet.
Santerre led 27 of 55 laps and received the Gatorade Front Runner Award.