Tracy Gordon ends drought with first NHIS win at New Hampshire 125; Santerre edges Leighton for second & moves further ahead in Busch North title race. LOUDON, N.H.-- Tracy Gordon, winless since opening day of the 2001 season and always jinxed...
Tracy Gordon ends drought with first NHIS win at New Hampshire 125; Santerre edges Leighton for second & moves further ahead in Busch North title race.
LOUDON, N.H.-- Tracy Gordon, winless since opening day of the 2001 season and always jinxed at New Hampshire International Speedway, buried both of those demons with a gritty victory in Saturday's New Hampshire 125. Gordon's 12th career Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring victory may have been his sweetest, as he broke Brad Leighton's three-race NHIS winning streak and fought off the closing challenges of Matt Kobyluck and Andy Santerre. The race was extended from the scheduled 125 laps to 137 in order to achieve a green flag finish. Gordon became the eleventh winner in 16 Busch North Series races during 2002.
Santerre was second, just 0.157 seconds behind Gordon, with Leighton third after leading the most laps in quest of his fourth straight "Magic Mile" win. Bud Pole winner Kelly Moore and defending series champion Mike Olsen completed the top five. Paul Wolfe, Mike Rowe, Mike Johnson, Kobyluck, and Dave Dion made up the balance of the top ten and the lead lap finishers. A race of heavy mechanical attrition saw only 22 of 34 starters receive the checkered flag.
Gordon averaged 95.307 miles per hour on the way to a $16,975 pat y day aboard his Tic Tac Chevrolet. Four caution periods slowed the pace for 31 laps as six drivers exchanged the lead nine times. Dale Quarterley and Dale Shaw were among the early leaders, but both were in the garage area before lap 100. Leighton dominated the middle stages, but Gordon seized the advantage on lap 103. The drama built on a lap 121 restart when Kobyluck took advantage of an open outside to slingshot from sixth to first, only to see the caution appear again immediately.
The next caution flag was for a hard crash by Dennis Demers that also involved Carey Heath, made Gordon sweat through one more restart, but the diminutive driver from the north woods of Maine was up to the task.
The green flag found Gordon dive to the bottom of turn one to reclaim the lead. Contact was made with Kobyluck, who executed a smoky spin in front of the field but resumed without further damage.
Moore topped qualifying at a non-record speed of 125,686 miles per hour, claiming the record 45th Bud Pole of his career. Leighton earned the Gatorade Front Runner Award, and Olsen was the Flowmaster Star of the Race after advancing from 21st to fifth.
Santerre added five points to his lead over Leighton, leaving it at 32, while Kobyluck dropped 66 points behind the leader heading to Dover International Speedway for next Friday's MBNA All-American Heroes 150.