BNS: Busch North Series banquet preview

PORTLAND, Me. (January 3, 2001) - Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H., and members of the Grizco Racing team who support him will receive the accolades of their second consecutive Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring title at the series' 14th ...

PORTLAND, Me. (January 3, 2001) - Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H., and members of the Grizco Racing team who support him will receive the accolades of their second consecutive Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring title at the series' 14th annual championship banquet on Saturday night, January 13, at Portland's Holiday Inn By The Bay. As in 1999, car owners

Steve and Peg Griswold, co-crew chiefs @!Brian Latuch and Karl Osha, and engine builder Robbie Paterson will share the head table.

Leighton won three races, scored twelve top five finishes, and recorded a perfect 17 top ten finishes in 17 starts while completing every lap of the 2000 season. His total winnings, including point fund and post season awards, exceeded $178,000. Leighton won the title by 219 points over 1994 Busch North Series champion Dale Shaw of Center Conway, N.H., who edged Tracy Gordon of Strong, Me., by 16 points for second. Dave Dion of Hudson, N.H., the 1996 title winner, was fourth, and Mike Olsen of North Haverhill, N.H., was fifth.

Tracy Gordon will receive the largest special award, the $10,000 Bud Pole Award for his series-leading five fast qualifying times. Leighton will pick up the $7,500 Gatorade Front Runner Award check, based on race leadership, and Olsen will receive the $7,500 Flowmaster Star of the Race Award for position improvement during the season. Robbie Paterson of PCCW Racing Engines will be honored with the $5,000 Clevite Engine Builder of the year Award.

Mike Johnson of Salisbry, Mass., will net a $7,000 check for his Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year title while runner-up Martin Truex Jr. of Mayetta, N.J., will pick up $2,000. Johnson was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race ten times and finished eighth in the overall point standings, while Truex was the leading rookie finisher five times on his way to twelfth in the final rankings. Each won a race during the 2000 season.

Several other awards will be announced at the banquet. They include the Most Popular Driver, as selected by the NASCAR membership, and the Most Improved Driver and Sportsmanship awards, chosen by the series officials.

Craig Armstrong , operator of the NASCAR-sanctioned Portland (Ore.) Speedway and an MRN Radio broadcaster, will serve as master of ceremonies, as he does for NASCAR Touring banquets from coast to coast.

-Al Robinson

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Mike Johnson