Mike Johnson Captures Irving Oil 150 At Beech Ridge, Closes To Within 19 Points Of Busch North Series Lead; Dion Completes Ford Sweep With 2nd, Quarterley 3rd SCARBOROUGH, Me. - Mike Johnson underlined his stature as a prime contender for the...
Mike Johnson Captures Irving Oil 150 At Beech Ridge, Closes To Within 19 Points Of Busch North Series Lead; Dion Completes Ford Sweep With 2nd, Quarterley 3rd
SCARBOROUGH, Me. - Mike Johnson underlined his stature as a prime contender for the 2001 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring championship by winning Saturday night's Irving Oil 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway before a capacity crowd. It was the second victory in a row for the 2000 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year.
Dave Dion finished second, 2.9 seconds behind Johnson, to complete a rare Ford sweep of the top two places. Dale Quarterley was third and Martin Truex Jr., who led over 100 laps, took fourth. Mike Olsen won his first career Bud Pole and finished fifth, but saw Johnson cut his Busch North Series lead to just 19 points.
Dale Shaw, Bryan Wall, Brian Hoar, Kip Stockwell, and Kelly Moore completed the top ten in a race which saw only three caution periods for 26 laps. Johnson's winning average speed was 54.945 miles per hour, and he earned $10,275 for his evening's work.
Johnson started fourth but made no move for the lead until past the 100 lap mark. Truex passed pole starter Brian Hoar for the lead on lap 3 and held it until most of the leaders pitted under caution at lap 74. Stockwell chose not to pit and assumed the lead, but was passed by Olsen on the restart. Two laps later, Truex regained the point and appeared ready to resume his domination.
The green flag waved for the final time on lap 101 with Truex leading Quarterley, Dion, and Johnson. Working the outside of the wide, one-third mile oval, Johnson took third from Quarterley on lap 112 and then surged around Dion and Truex in one power move to take the lead on lap 119. Although Dion was soon around the fading Truex, he could do no more than keep Johnson in sight for the remaining laps.
One major accident marked the event. The lapped car of Laine Chase was being overtaken at the start-finish line on lap 66 when Chase was tapped from behind and spun in traffic. Defending Busch North Series champion Brad Leighton could not miss the spinning car and the resulting impact destroyed the front of Leighton's car and the rear of Chase's machine. Mike Rowe was also involved and later retired due to the accident damage. No injuries were reported.
Olsen won his first Bud Pole at the track where he scored his first Busch North Series race win less than one month ago. He set a track record of 15.586 seconds at 76.992 miles per hour. Truex received the Gatorade Front Runner Award, and Bryan Wall won the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award for advancing from 26th in the starting lineup to seventh at the finish. Brian Hoar was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race.
Unofficially, Olsen's total of 1414 points keeps him in the Busch North Series lead over Johnson's 1395. Kelly Moore advanced to third with 1263.
The Busch North Series visits Thompson International Speedway for the Pepsi Racing 150 on Saturday night, July 14.