BNS: Lake Erie: Post-race notes

Two important Busch North Series debuts took place in Sunday's race. First of course, was the speedway itself. The state-of-the-art facilities were matched by the warm welcome accorded by the management, media, and fans who filled the front...

Two important Busch North Series debuts took place in Sunday's race. First of course, was the speedway itself. The state-of-the-art facilities were matched by the warm welcome accorded by the management, media, and fans who filled the front straight during the pre-race autograph session. The track configuration brought comparisons to Riverside Park, Lee USA, and most often to Seekonk, where the series moves this week. Those who have been out west pointed out the similarity to Irwindale Speedway, where the Toyota All-Star Showdown matches the best of the Busch North Series with their Winston West Series counterparts on Saturday, November 8.

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The other debut was the halfway break, best remembered from the early days of the Craftsman Truck Series but also employed in the Winston West Series earlier this season. The purpose of the five-minute break was to enable teams to make chassis adjustments and a two-tire change at the infield pit area, which does not have space for live-action pit stops for the whole field under caution. Teams were permitted to station their pit cart and three crew members in the infield for minor repairs and changing NASCAR-approved cut or damaged tires during the race, which saved laps for Kelly Moore and Mike Olsen.

When the break was called, actually under the caution for Olsen at lap 72, the pace car led the field down pit road and the remaining crew members crossed the track from the garage area outside turn two. SPEED Channel pit reporter Brett McMillan was nearly as busy as the tire changers, as he enjoyed the rare opportunity to interview drivers who were still very much in contention for the win.

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Andy Santerre's start to the 2003 season, two wins and a second, is impressive but not unprecedented. Dave Dion made exactly the same start in 1996 and so did Brad Leighton in 1999. Leighton almost kept the streak going, finishing third in race number four of '99. Both Dion and Leighton won the Busch North Series championship in the year of their hot start.

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Santerre's 15th career Busch North Series win breaks the tie with Bobby Dragon for fourth on the all-time list. Ahead of Andy on the list are Dale Shaw with 19, Brad Leighton with 20, and Kelly Moore with 23.

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Kelly Moore's 46th Bud Pole simply resets the record he has held continuously for more than a decade. Kelly's first Busch North Series race win was also in Pennsylvania, at Jennerstown Speedway on June 12, 1987 in the fifth Busch North race ever run.

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Ryan Moore has two more races to get his first win as quickly as dad, and the way he has run so far in his rookie season, it's not a long shot. The modern record for fastest win by a Raybestos Rookie contender is eight races, by Martin Truex Jr. in 2000. Mike Johnson, who edged Truex for Raybestos honors that year, won the next race. Brad Leighton won the ninth race of his 1996 rookie season but he had previously run three races in '95.

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This duplicate finish thing is catching on. Brian Hoar and Paul Wolfe were fifth and sixth, respectively, in each of the first two races of the season. Now Matt Kobyluck and Eddie MacDonald have been fourth and eighth in both races two and three. They should hope their string isn't broken at Seekonk the way Hoar and Wolfe saw theirs end at Lake Erie. Hoar was 15th and Wolfe 17th on Sunday.

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The misfortunes of Hoar and Wolfe, along with Joey McCarthy and Kelly Moore, saw a major shakeup in the point standings behind Santerre. Aided by his 10 bonus points for leading the most laps, Stefanik moved from eighth to second, and Johnson advanced from eleventh to fifth. Ryan Moore moved up one spot to third, while McCarthy dropped from second to fourth. No one joined the ranks of the top 15 drivers who will be invited to the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in November. Mike Olsen is 15th, 39 points ahead of Jimmy Renfrew and 42 in front of Carey Heath.

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Two drivers made their 2003 debuts at Lake Erie. Mike Gallo had his first outing of the year in the Woodworks/Archer Corp. Ford driven at Lee USA by owner Fred Skaff, qualifying ninth and finishing 13th. Western New York driver Troy Williams made his first appearance since his spectacular accident at Watkins Glen last August. The Thompson Terminals Chevrolet was scored 20th.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Wolfe , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson , Ryan Moore , Eddie MacDonald
Teams Williams