BNS: Little Trees 150 Watkins Glen post-race notes

Busch North Series, Nascar Touring Post-Race Notes Little Trees 150 presented by Pepsi, Watkins Glen, N.Y., Sat., Aug. 11 Early results indicate the Busch North Series debut on NBC-TV was a success. A clean and competitive race produced an ...

Busch North Series, Nascar Touring Post-Race Notes
Little Trees 150 presented by Pepsi, Watkins Glen, N.Y., Sat., Aug. 11

Early results indicate the Busch North Series debut on NBC-TV was a success. A clean and competitive race produced an exciting finish, with plenty of time for interviews and wrap-up within the two-hour "window". This was the first experience by NBC in covering a NASCAR road race, typically more difficult than an oval track race because of the number of camera positions required.

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By coincidence, the average speed of the Little Trees 150 (88.744 mph) was almost identical to Sunday's Winston Cup race (89.074 mph).

There were only four caution periods for 12 laps, and none was for that nemesis of past years, "beachings" in the Glen's gravel beds. The yellow flags were for the Olsen-Boissonneault incident in turn 1, a stalled car on the pavement at the Inner Loop, debris at two points on the track, and the Chew-Kohler double spin at turn 11. Boissoneault was the only car needing a wrecker.

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The three leading contenders for the Busch North Series title all dodged a bullet or two during the weekend. They qualified in a mid-pack group, with Mike Johnson 16th, Mike Olsen 19th, and Kelly Moore 21st. Olsen's chances of contending ended on lap six when he spun in turn one and was clipped by Brad Boissonneault, who tried to miss Olsen as he backed up to turn around but hit the inside tire wall and rebounded into him. Johnson and Moore pitted with the first wave. Johnson got as high as fifth but needed a gas-and-go stop with three laps remaining which dropped him to ninth. Moore was one of the beneficiaries of the late stops by Johnson, Denny Doyle, and Greg Schaefer, taking the checkered flag in seventh, his highest position of the race.

The net result is that Olsen, who went into the Glen leading Johnson by 189 points and Moore by 190, now leads Moore by 165 and Johnson by 172.

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Paul Wolfe's third place finish was a BNS career best, while Matt Kobyluck's fourth tied his lifetime mark set at NHIS last month.

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None of the drivers making their first Busch North Series start played a major role in the Little Trees 150. John Finger and Denny Wilson were 22nd and 23rd to lead the debutants, with John Kohler 27th, Bobby Gerhart 32nd, Mike Fanatcone 35th, and C.T. Hellmund 37th in the 40-car field. Adding two drivers making their first start of the 2001 season- John Wall Sr. (16th) and Rick Bell (17th), the total number of drivers participating in the series this year has now risen to 74, of whom 70 have qualified for at least one race.

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At one point, Travis Benjamin wasn't sure he was coming to Watkins Glen. He's glad he did. The Morrill. Me., driver earned his first Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award and also won the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award in a three-way tiebreaker. Benjamin, Kip Stockwell, and Denny Wilson all improved 16 positions, but Benjamin gets the nod based on his highest overall position.

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Tommy Beamer's line in the race report - started 38th and finished 38th- doesn't begin to tell the story of the New Jersey teenager's weekend. When the car returned to the garage after a blow-and-crash in turn one during practice, the left rear corner was virtually gone. The crew thrashed, and soon the story was around that Beamer would take one lap in the race. By Saturday morning, the car was raceworthy, and Beamer passed several cars before a transmission oil leak ended his day.

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Jerry Marquis' Friday shuttle between Watkins Glen and Chemung (about 35 miles apart) produced a good news/bad news result. He won Friday night's Feathelite Modified Series event at Chemung, but his engine expired nine laps into the Little Trees 150, leaving him 39th.

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The Busch North Series teams have completed the grind of 12 races in 12 weeks, and now receive a week off before returning to action at Nazareth Speedway the weekend of August 25-26 in a doubleheader with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. There will be a second open practice session at Thunder Road International Speedbowl this Thursday night, August 16, to help the teams prepare for the annual appearance at the Vermont track on Saturday, September 1.

-nascar/bns-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers John Finger , Bobby Gerhart , Paul Wolfe , Matt Kobyluck , John Kohler , Mike Johnson , Rick Bell