Loudon, NH -- The NASCAR Busch North Series visited the newly configured New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, May 11 not knowing how their cars, also equipped with the new tour Goodyear Eagle tire, would handle on the 1.058 mile ...
Loudon, NH -- The NASCAR Busch North Series visited the newly configured New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, May 11 not knowing how their cars, also equipped with the new tour Goodyear Eagle tire, would handle on the 1.058 mile superspeedway. When the checkered flag was thrown Saturday afternoon, race fans were treated to a spectacular race that included eight lead changes, lots of racing in the corners and a photo finish between Andy Santerre and Brad Leighton. Kelly Moore was in the thick of the green/white/checker race finish, starting third on the final restart and battling Santerre for the second spot. Santerre fought right back and at the finish line it was Leighton, Santerre and Moore.
The NAPA Auto Parts/Village Candle© Chevrolet Monte Carlo was fast off the truck during the pre-race practice sessions. Moore backed it up on Friday afternoon by winning his tour record 43rd Bud Pole award. "The car was pretty fast off the truck, we made a few changes but nothing that drastic," said Moore. "Winning the pole here at NHIS is big and after our opening event at Lee, our team is looking for consistency and a good finish at NHIS."
Moore led the field of 34 cars to the green flag, with Paul Wolfe taking the early race lead. Moore took the top spot on lap 4 and was not challenged until lap 24 when Martin Truex, Jr. tried to get under Moore in turn one. Moore's fought off the challenge and pulled away from Truex. Truex began to fell pressure from Dale Quarterly and Brad Leighton. Entering turn one, contact was made between a couple of cars sending Truex, Jr. into the outside wall. The caution flag was thrown for the second time and some cars pitted for tires and gas. Moore and his team had plans to pit after lap 50 and stayed on the track.
Racing resumed on lap 40 and Moore felt the challenge of Leighton very quickly. Leighton powered by Moore on the front stretch to take the lead on lap 42. Moore settled into second, and then forfeited the position during a caution flag on lap 62 when he headed to the pits for a pit stop. The pit crew changed the right side tires and fueled the car. Moore returned to the track and pitted again for left side tires. The team was very optimistic that this pit strategy would payoff and allow Moore to take home the checkers.
Moore fought his way through the field and when a caution flag was displayed on lap 96, Moore was again on the board, posted in the sixth position. The long caution flag for fluid on the track proved costly. "We really didn't need that caution flag," Moore stated. "Our car worked really good on the longer runs and though we were a bit tight in the corners, I would've had a better shot at leaders if we'd have stayed green."
It took only a few laps for Moore to move into third and begin to challenge Santerre and Leighton for the top spot. Two caution flags late in the race provided a green/white/checker challenge between Santerre, Leighton and Moore. Moore put a move on Santerre and got by him, but Santerre challenged Moore again and took the spot back.
With his third place finish, Moore took home his first top-5 finish of 2002 and moved into the top-10 in the championship point standings, 58 points behind leader Andy Santerre.
The Busch North Series travels to Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pennsylvania for a 100-lap race on Saturday, May 18.