Rising NASCAR star Mike Bruno added yet another Raybestos Rookie of the Race award to his resume over the weekend at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. The Busch North Series, Touring Division made it's only visit to the quarter mile short...
Rising NASCAR star Mike Bruno added yet another Raybestos Rookie of the Race award to his resume over the weekend at Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. The Busch North Series, Touring Division made it's only visit to the quarter mile short track this season for the Auto Town 150 -- one week after rain postponed the originally scheduled date.
Bruno was making his tenth start of the season in the Busch North Series. Mike skipped the series last event at Watkins Glen, but was looking forward to returning to the track with his #3 Summit Racing Chevrolet.
"I was disappointed about not going to the Glen, but we knew going into the season we were only going to run a limited schedule," Mike said before the race. "We hope to run the remainder of the schedule now. Our goals this week are to qualify well in the first round, keep the car in one piece while we get some experience and win another Rookie of the Race award."
After the first round of practice early in the day, the #3 Summit Racing Chevy was a little off. The crew worked hard making some adjustments to try to pick up some speed before qualifying. When Mike went out for his two laps of qualifying, there where many top drivers that had already posted some very good laps. But Mike turned a very fast lap that ended up being the 16th fastest out of the 36 cars that attempted to qualify. Mike's speed put him solidly in the field, in the first round of qualifying -- meeting the team's first goal.
When the race started, Mike dropped down into the inside groove, settled in and started making fast laps. As he started picking up positions on the track, trouble found him on lap 51. The 86 car made contact with Mike's car sending him spinning out of turn four. Mike quickly gathered up the car and he was able to continue, but one lap down. Luckily, there was no significant damage to the Summit Racing Chevy.
"It was just a racing accident," Mike said after the race. "It wasn't anyone's fault, just one of those things. I didn't receive any real damage and was able to get back up to speed quick."
As the race continued, Mike kept gaining positions, but was unable to get back onto the lead lap. When the checkered flag waved, he had landed the Summit Racing Chevy in 15th place, one lap down with no damage to the car -- meeting the team's second goal. He was also the highest finishing rookie for the eighth time in the series fourteen events, which was Mike's third and final goal for the day. Tracy Gordon was the race winner.
"I'm happy with the outcome," Mike said while signing autographs for some young fans. "You always want to win, but we were able to leave here with a car in one piece and win another Rookie of the Race award so I'm pretty pleased."
Mike's good finish moved him up a spot in the point's standings, into 19th place -- even though he has just ten starts in the series fourteen races. Mike has qualified for all ten events he has entered and has four top ten finish's and now has seven top fifteen's in those ten races. His worst finish is a nineteenth place at Jennerstown. The team now looks forward to the series next event at Thunder Road this weekend.
"We've been looking forward to going up to Ken Squire's track - Thunder Road," Mike said with a big smile. "That's a very special track to me. It is my home track and I've had a lot of seat time there. I'm looking forward to going there with the Summit Racing Busch North team and seeing all the friends, fans and supporters I haven't seen in a while. We will be bringing this car, our short track car and we'll be aiming for at least a top ten there."