BNS: Beech Ridge II: Post-race notes

The Irving Oil 150 was preceded by ceremonies of remembrance honoring former Busch North Series Director Alfred "Bunk" Sampson, who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. An eloquent tribute by track announcer Bruce Elder was ...

The Irving Oil 150 was preceded by ceremonies of remembrance honoring former Busch North Series Director Alfred "Bunk" Sampson, who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. An eloquent tribute by track announcer Bruce Elder was followed by the playing of the poignant song, "Room With A View". The field made its pace laps in "missing man" formation, with the pole position left open, and after 150 laps, the field pitted together so starter Billy Ryder could wave the checkered flag symbolically for Bunk.

Friends of the Busch North Series wishing to make donations in Bunk's memory may obtain information on his preferred charities by visiting nascar.com's Busch North Series web page.

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It was fitting that Eddie MacDonald should win the Irving Oil 150, for Bunk Sampson was an official at the Lee USA Speedway, operated by Eddie's parents, Red and Judy MacDonald, before assuming the reins of the Busch North Series. The Sampson and MacDonald families make their homes a few miles apart in the northeastern corner of Massachusetts.

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"Eddie Mac" scored his first top-five Busch North Series finish at Beech Ridge in this spring's PTM Racing 150. His car is the Jason Janvrin chassis that Paul Richardson campaigned so successfully in 2001 under the same Bellingham Sheet Metal colors, although the team is now headed by Mark Durgin. MacDonald becomes the tenth Busch North Series winner of 2002, and the first new winner of the current season.

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Two qualified drivers failed to return for the Irving Oil 150 raindate. Bob Brunell was awaiting parts delivery, while Jerry Marquis was occupied with qualifying for Sunday's Thompson 300 Featherlite Modified Series event. Marquis, of course, is a leading contender for the modified title.

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Mike Olsen moved into the Gatorade Front Runner Award lead by pacing the field for the most laps for the second week in a row. On four occasions in 2002, the defending Busch North champion has led the most laps, although he holds only one race win.

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Although he was scored 25th in a 26-car field, Robbie Harrison virtually clinched the 2002 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award. Harrison now has 93 points to 55 for runner-up Rick Bell with four races to go. With ten points to the leading rookie in each race, Harrison will shut Bell out by starting one more race, even if Bell runs the table.

By the way, Rick Bell was racing something completely different this week. The veteran sports car racer competed in the Zippo Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen driving a DeTomaso Pantera, Ford-powered Italian GT car of the 1970's.

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The depth and quality of the 2002 Busch North Series field was on display again at Beech Ridge. Not only were 24 of the 26 cars running at the finish, but Kelly Moore was the only driver running who made an unscheduled pit stop. After Moore broke his front sway bar early in the race, it took over 30 laps of green flag action for another car to be lapped on the one-third mile. No car needed the assistance of an emergency vehicle during the Irving Oil 150.

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Brad Leighton had a busy night, as he drove in both the regular and make-up 40-lap Beech Ridge pro stock features, substituting for Jason Fowler. That's 221 laps of green flag racing, including the Busch North race. Leighton, who won at his former home track with Fowler's car last year, didn't crack the top five, but he had a good seat for a remarkable track championship deciding pass. David Oliver won the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge track title by one point after picking up two places with a three-wide move on the final turn.

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The Irving Oil 150 was the last night race of the 2002 Busch North Series season. Of the remaining events, NHIS and Dover are on Saturday and Friday afternoon, respectively, as consequence of their Winston Cup weekend schedules. Stafford's Fall Final is a Sunday afternoon show, while Lime Rock, as always, will be run on Saturday due to a local ordinance prohibiting Sunday racing at the northwestern Connecticut road course.

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Finally, a correction. The unofficial results sent from the track listed the reason out of race for 26th place Bobby Dragon as "engine". Dragon actually retired due to suspension damage from contact with the back straight wall.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Rick Bell , Eddie MacDonald , Eddie M