Brad Leighton captures Busch 125 thriller at New Hampshire Intl Speedway by a bumper over Andy Santerre; Santerre retains Busch North Series lead. Loudon, N.H.-- Brad Leighton edged past Andy Santerre on a restart with two laps remaining and...
Brad Leighton captures Busch 125 thriller at New Hampshire Intl Speedway by a bumper over Andy Santerre; Santerre retains Busch North Series lead.
Loudon, N.H.-- Brad Leighton edged past Andy Santerre on a restart with two laps remaining and held off Santerre by the width of a bumper to win the Busch 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway Saturday afternoon. It was Leighton's record sixth NHIS triumph and his 18th career Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring victory, tying him for second on the all-time list with Dale Shaw.
All-time win leader and new track record holder Kelly Moore closed with a rush to finish third, while Shaw came from 33rd in the lineup to take fourth. Matt Kobyluck completed the top five.
The winning margin of 0.021 seconds was the closest in 36 Busch North Series events at the track, which has hosted the series more often than any other facility. Leighton averaged 80.511 miles per hour as six caution flags slowed the pace for 52 laps. Five drivers traded the lead eight times, coming down to a duel between Santerre, who pitted early for track position, Leighton, who took two tires at mid-race, and Moore, who made an extra stop under caution to complete a four-tire change.
Leighton took the top spot on a lap 109 restart, but Santerre forced his way back in front three laps later. Leighton received one more chance when Tracy Gordon's first turn crash sent the race into overtime to achieve the final two laps under racing conditions, as required by Busch North Series rules. Leighton claimed the lead as the green was shown with two laps to go, but Santerre battled back once again and the pair drag raced to the checker with Leighton's nose a scant foot in front at the line. Moore, needing more laps to take advantage of his fresher rubber, was just a length behind.
Moore's 43rd career Bud Pole was achieved in 30.039 seconds at 126.799 miles per hour, easily eclipsing the old mark. Santerre took the Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading the most laps, and Shaw copped the Flowmaster Star of he Race Award for a advancing 29 positions. While he finished 23rd overall, Robbie Harrison secured the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award.
In addition to Gordon, Joey McCarthy and Martin Truex Jr. were involved in significant accidents, but no driver injuries were reported.
Santerre, winner of the season opener, maintained the Busch North Series point lead after two events with 350 points to 330 for Leighton and 320 for Shaw. The series continues next Saturday with the Burnham Boiler 100 at Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, Pa.