Harrisburg, North Carolina -- Defending NASCAR Busch North Series Champion, Andy Santerre, drove his ...
Harrisburg, North Carolina -- Defending NASCAR Busch North Series Champion, Andy Santerre, drove his #6 Castle Chemical/Aubuchon Hardware/Brickmill Marketing Services Chevrolet to an 8th place finish in the Burnham Boilers 150 at Holland International Speedway in Holland, New York on Saturday, June 28, 2003.
Santerre headed to Holland with the hopes of defending his 2002 race win and become only the 2nd driver in Busch North Series history to win back-to-back races at the high-banked short track.
At the end of the first practice, Santerre felt his chances of visiting victory lane again were great. "The car was real fast right off the truck," the 34-year old Santerre confirmed. "The car was real balanced and I thought it was going to be a great night." At the end of the second practice, Santerre's feelings had changed. "I don't know if the track changed or something happened to the car, but we were off in the second practice. I'm a little baffled right now."
Santerre was the second car to take time in qualifying and the early draw was detrimental to his hopes of a top-10 starting position. Santerre qualified 16th in the 23-car field.
At the drop of the green flag, Santerre began moving up in the field, gaining five positions within the first 20 laps. However, an extremely loose condition stalled his efforts to get to the front.
"We were loose, loose, loose," Santerre commented after the race. "I haven't had a car that loose in I don't know how long. I didn't have any forward bite and couldn't even begin to step on the throttle." Santerre continues, "I think most guys were having the same problem I was having, it seemed only two or three guys were able to make the bottom work and pass cars".
Santerre has raced the 3/8-mile track seven times in his Busch North career and has never seen the track loose. "I don't know if the track changed or what, but that was the first time I have ever raced here (Holland) and had a loose race car. We usually race later at night and maybe starting the race with the sun out caused the loose condition, but even when the sun went down the car didn't tighten up like it usually does at Holland."
Due to the lack of a traditional pit road, teams were not permitted to change tires during the race and that rule set the precedent for not pitting during the 150-lap event. Santerre struggled with the decision to bring his Castle Chemical Chevrolet in to make an adjustment, but opted to stay out.
"Track position was crucial," Santerre said of his decision not to pit and make adjustments. "Not many guys could pass so I knew we could stay in the top-10 if we stayed out." Santerre adds, "If we can continue to take bad nights like tonight and turn them into top-10 finishes, we will have done our jobs."
Santerre is now the only NASCAR Busch North Series competitor to score top-10 finishes in each of the six Busch North events in 2003. He sits atop the point standings by 112 points. For more information about Andy Santerre and his Castle Chemical Chevrolet, log onto to www.andysanterre.com or www.castle-comply.com.