Andy Santerre captures Busch North Series title; Denny Doyle scores first race win in Lime Rock'S rain-delayed, darkness-shortened Burnham Boilers 200. LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Denny Doyle of nearby Plymouth, Conn. scored his first Busch North...
Andy Santerre captures Busch North Series title; Denny Doyle scores first race win in Lime Rock'S rain-delayed, darkness-shortened Burnham Boilers 200.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Denny Doyle of nearby Plymouth, Conn. scored his first Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring race win in Saturday afternoon's Burnham Boilers 200 at Lime Rock Park. Meanwhile, Andy Santerre captured his first Busch North championship by a mere nine points, the third closest margin on series history. Santerre finished 14th while rival Matt Kobyluck was sixth, failing by three positions to overcome Santerre's 38 point lead entering the season finale.
Doyle started 23rd and took the checkered flag 0.466 seconds ahead of Bryon Chew, who also enjoyed his best career finish. Brad Leighton was third, leaving him only 36 points short of a third championship. Paul Wolfe closed with a rush to take fourth, with Greg Schaefer fifth. Behind Kobyluck, Dale Quarterley, Mike Olsen, Bill Penfold, and Martin Truex Jr. completed the top ten.
A late start and hour-long red flag, both due to rain, forced NASCAR officials to shorten the race to 63 laps from its scheduled 82 due to impending darkness. The race had previously been postponed on two occasions.
The 35 laps run under caution, mostly to dry the track after the midrace shower, held Doyle's average speed to 55.080 miles per hour. Of the 34 starters, 30 were running at the finish and 24 were on the lead lap.
Leighton and Kobyluck swapped the lead in the early laps, with Kobyluck pitting at lap 19. Six laps later, Leighton dove to pit road just as a caution flag appeared for debris on the track. He never stopped, but lost four places while at pit road speed. Rain began falling during the caution period, and the red-flag delay and track-drying laps under caution created a situation where Doyle, Chew, and Leighton's teams realized they could make the distance without a stop. A further caution for Mike Johnson's crash produced a five-lap dash to the checker, which saw Wolfe advance from seventh to fourth and Kobyluck from ninth to sixth.
Doyle, who scored his first Busch North Series win in his 117th start, was the winner of both Gatorade Front Runner and Flowmaster Star of the Race Awards. Rick Bell was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race. No Bud Pole Award was made, as qualifying had been rained out last Saturday.
Although the point race tightened at the top, the only change among the top ten saw Quarterley advance from eighth to sixth in the final standings at the expense of Dale Shaw and Mike Johnson, who were 25th and 31st respectively. Mike Olsen clinched the $7,500 annual Gatorade award for race leadership, and Kip Stockwell locked up a similar check for topping the year-long Flowmaster standings based on position improvement.
Santerre will officially receive his championship awards, and the top 20 drivers and car owners will be honored at the Busch North Series Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 9, at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Mass.