BNS: Beech Ridge race report

SCARBOROUGH, Me. - Mike Olsen of North Haverhill, N.H. scored his first career Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring victory Sunday afternoon in the PTM Racing 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Olsen, who spun early in the race, passed Paul...

SCARBOROUGH, Me. - Mike Olsen of North Haverhill, N.H. scored his first career Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring victory Sunday afternoon in the PTM Racing 150 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Olsen, who spun early in the race, passed Paul Richardson for the lead on lap 123 and survived a caution flag in the closing laps which extended the distance to 153 in order to achieve a green flag finish. Richardson also established a personal best with his second place finish, while Mike Johnson was third, preserving one-point lead over Olsen in the Busch North Series standings.

Dave Dion was fourth and Brian Hoar recorded his first career top five, nailing down his third straight Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award in the process. Brad Leighton, Bryan Wall, Dennis Demers, Dale Quarterley, and Tracy Gordon completed the top ten. Olsen averaged 45.774 miles per hour as six caution periods slowed the field for 46 laps. At the checkered flag, 26 of the 30 starters were running, with 19 on the lead lap.

The lineup was set by point standings when an afternoon thunderstorm washed out Bud Pole Qualifying, giving Johnson and Olsen the front row spots. Johnson took the lead at the initial green flag, and Olsen spun out of second place on the 13th lap, but recovered in mid-pack and began to work his way forward. At the halfway mark he was seventh, as Johnson led Martin Truex Jr., who was soon to blow his engine, Richardson, Kelly Moore, and Dale Shaw. Richardson passed Johnson for the lead on lap 88, but surrendered it on the 99th circuit as all the lead lap cars except Quarterley, Paul Wolfe, and Matt Kobyluck pitted for right side tires under caution.

Richardson, Dale Shaw, and Olsen emerged in fourth through sixth places, and the next 20 laps produced intense short track action as first Richardson fought his way past Quarterley on lap 120, then Olsen gained the top spot for good with 28 laps remaining. With the goal which had eluded him for 12 years so close at hand, Olsen never let up and led Richardson to the line by .16 second in the final two lap sprint made necessary by Shaw's spin in turn two.

Johnson's fifth straight top-six finish enabled him to keep the Busch North Series lead by a single point over Olsen. Gordon is third, 50 points behind the leader. Johnson also won the Gatorade Front Runner Award as he paced the field for 85 laps. Paul Wolfe's drive from 30th and last in the lineup to 11th at the finish earned the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award.

Hoar moved further ahead of his pursuers in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings. Hoar now has 46 points, while Eddie MacDonald and Joey McCarthy are tied for second with 41.

The Busch North Series next sees action Saturday, June 16, in the Star 150 at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.

-Al Robinson

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Bryan Wall , Dale Quarterley , Paul Wolfe , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson