BNS: Holland: Andy Santerre race notes

Santerre shows mettle in dominating win at Holland. Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, driver of the ...

Santerre shows mettle in dominating win at Holland.

Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, driver of the #44 LesCare Kitchens/Castle Chemical Chevrolet, became the first two-time winner on the NASCAR Busch North Series tour by claiming the checkered flag in the Gernatt Asphalt 150 at Holland International Speedway in Holland, New York on Saturday, June 29, 2002.

Santerre qualified 6th and was one of the fastest cars during the days two practice sessions. "My car was good in practice. It was my choice whether to qualify on sticker tires or scuffs," the 33-year old Santerre explained. "I thought scuffs would be the way to go and the five guys that out-qualified me qualified on stickers. I made the wrong call for qualifying, but knew we had a good, stable set-up for the race."

Santerre took the green flag on the outside of row three and quickly made it known that he had a strong race car. Within the first 30 laps of the event, Santerre was up to 3rd and knew the car was capable of winning the race if he could stay out of trouble.

"My car was real good," beamed Santerre after exiting the car in victory lane. "I knew in the early stages of the race that we hit the chassis set-up. I could pass to the inside or outside and had good forward bite. I radioed the crew and told them I was just going to ride for a while and save my tires."

Santerre settled into 3rd until a restart on lap 50 provided the opportunity to dive under current leader, Mike Olsen, to take the point.

"I had a good restart and cleared Kelly (Moore) going into one and just kept the momentum and got under Mike (Olsen). I made the pass and pulled out a head of the field by quite a few car lengths."

Santerre had a dominant car, but his road to victory lane wasn't without a bump or two along the way. His "Achilles heel" was cold tires on the restarts. The LesCare Kitchens/Castle Chemical Monte Carlo was set up to be neutral in long runs so the car was loose on cold tires. It took two or three laps to build heat in the tires so restarts were exciting. Santerre lost the lead on three different restarts to veteran drivers - Matt Kobyluck, Kelly Moore and Brad Leighton respectively.

On one particular restart, the #47 of Kelly Moore got underneath Santerre and they battled side-by-side for several laps. Contact was made on the front stretch and Santerre hit the wall.

"We were racing pretty close," Santerre recalled of his duel with Moore. `Kelly got into the side of me and took me to the fence. I had to back out of it and make sure my car wasn't damaged. It caved the side in pretty good, but luckily it didn't do any significant damage."

Another close call came shortly after the altercation with the #47. Current series point leader, Matt Kobyluck got a good bite coming off turn four and just touched the back of Santerre's #44 Monte Carlo.

The contact caused Santerre to slide up the race track and when he tried to correct it, he hit the kill switch by accident.

"Matt and I touched coming off (turn) four," the Cherryfield, Maine native commented. "It wasn't anything intentional on Matt's part, just close, short-track racing. I tried to correct it because it got me loose and my hand hit the kill switch. I hit the ignition to fire it up when I realized what I'd done. Luckily, we didn't lose much ground."

Still, even after the two close calls, Santerre convinced his crew and the crowd that he was the class of the field.

"Our car was unbelievable," Santerre exclaimed. "I could put my car anywhere on the race track and it would go. You don't get a car to handle like that every week so you have to capitalize when you do get a car that good." Santerre continues, "It was a great race and I couldn't be happier with the car or my team. My crew is based in Massachusetts and Connecticut and I travel to and from North Carolina. The only time we see each other is at the race track and they did a fantastic job for me."

"As a sponsor and most notably a fan, I couldn't be more pleased with Andy's performance so far this season," says James Lestorti, Chairman and CEO of LesCare Kitchens, Inc. "We're pleased with our decision to partner with ASM and look forward to more victories and the championship."

One of our associate sponsors, Castle Chemical, based out of Rochester, New York entertained 40 guests at the track and they had never seen Santerre race. "They all got to come down to victory lane and were thrilled with their first experience at the race track. I couldn't have scripted a better race for them."

Santerre's victory is his 12th career Busch North win and earned him $10,325.


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Drivers Matt Kobyluck