NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH NORTH SERIES POST-RACE NOTES Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150, Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Va., Saturday, August 20, 2005 The Busch North Series debut in Virginia was ultra-competitive to say ...
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH NORTH SERIES POST-RACE NOTES
Star Country/Dominic's Sausage 150, Motor Mile Speedway, Radford, Va., Saturday, August 20, 2005
The Busch North Series debut in Virginia was ultra-competitive to say the least. Six drivers led the race and the most laps were led by first-time Busch Pole winner Sean Caisse, who paced the first 40 circuits before spinning on fluids dropped by Joey McCarthy's blown engine in turn one. Winner Andy Santerre led the last 19 laps with Brian Hoar, Ryan Moore, Mike Olsen, and Matt Kobyluck all enjoying spells at the front. Hoar lost the lead due to an engine failure but all the other changes were on-track passes.
Pit and tire strategy was all-important. All the leaders pitted for two right side Goodyear Eagles at lap 83 except leader Mike Olsen. "Our strategy was that if I was leading I was going to stay out," Olsen related, adding "My car would have been fine if the race had stayed green. But that's all would've, could've, should've..." Olsen finally pitted with 20 laps to go and came back from 13th to fourth.
"I felt sorry for Mike Olsen because without pitting he was a sitting duck out there," said Matt Kobyluck, who passed Olsen on a lap 98 restart. "Our strategy was that if we were running in the top five, we weren't going to pit unless the leaders pitted."
Kobyluck and Santerre would provide the highlight of the race by running laps 130 through 135 side-by-side. "We all ran each other hard," Santerre said in describing both his duel with Kobyluck and the earlier battle with his own teammate, Mike Stefanik. . "It was a little rough out there, but it's short track racing. Nobody took anybody out, and nobody left with a destroyed car."
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It looked like Stefanik had adopted a ultra-early pit strategy when he came down pit road at lap 45, but he was actually overheating and needed to remove tape from the front of the car. He later pitted for tires with the leaders at lap 83 and finished fifth.
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Sean Caisse's Busch Pole run came late in the session when cloud cover rolled in, but it was no fluke as Ryan Moore ran under the same conditions and could do no better than fourth. In the race, Caisse was in a class of his own until the incident that sent him behind the wall. The Motion Racing crew got him out to pick up one place by completing a single lap more than Brian Hoar.
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None of the top three qualifiers made it to lap 50 without falling many laps down. Hoar never moved after pitting from the lead on lap 49, and Mike Johnson suffered overheating from the first lap and wound up running at end, 83 laps off the pace. Bryon Chew, sixth in the lineup, followed Hoar to the pits and was done for the night with rear end failure.
Although they finished from 19th on back, none of the drivers mentioned lost a place in the point standings. Johnson is still; sixth, Chew seventh, Hoar eighth, and Caisse tenth. What all did lose was substantial ground to the leaders.
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Motor Mile Speedway is impressive from any angle. A large new suite complex sits atop the concrete grandstand, and a brand-new drag strip has just opened parallel to the back straight, requiring the side of a large hill to be blasted away. The infield is fully paved and accommodated all 28 Busch North Series haulers plus about 40 enclosed rigs serving the two NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series classes which raced later in the evening. Formerly known as New River Valley Speedway, it takes its current name from a group of car dealerships operated by the new track owners in nearby Christiansburg.
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Both the drivers meeting and Busch North Series practice were hit with sudden rain showers, but the rest of the day was sunny and very hot. The track has two jet dryers available for use.
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There was actually a tie for the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award as both John Salemi and Carlos Pardo advanced ten spots from start to finish. Salemi won the tiebreaker with his higher finishing position.
Not to be outdone, the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award also saw a tie with both Matt Kobyluck and Jerry Marquis improving 18 positions from the last race at Stafford. Kobyluck (20th to 2nd) gets the tiebreaker over Marquis (25th to 7th).
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Milestones... Rogelio Lopez and John Salemi scored their first career top ten finishes... Carlos Pardo's 11th matched his debut at Adirondack.... Although the cars of the two Mexican drivers are painted with identical sponsors, they come from different teams- Lopez was running for Dave Davis and Pardo for Troy Williams... Laine Chase enjoyed a double career best in qualifying 14th and finishing 14th... Joe Masessa's 15th improved on his previous best by one spot... Eddie MacDonald's sixth and Dale Shaw's eighth were their best runs of the season.... The cars of Shaw and Chase traveled together on Chase's hauler... Jason Lawrence made a strong qualifying run at his home track but pitted early and never really got to mix it up with the regulars in his Busch North debut. Almost the same description applies to Lawrence's late model efforts later in the evening... Lawrence said his Busch North car was bought on eBay!