BNS: Rookie preview

LEE, N.H. (March 30, 2001)- The first four entries in what is expected to be another large and talented rookie class have filed their applications to contest the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award on the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring in ...

LEE, N.H. (March 30, 2001)- The first four entries in what is expected to be another large and talented rookie class have filed their applications to contest the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award on the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring in 2001.

The quartet includes Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt., Travis Benjamin of Morrill, Me., Carey Heath of Eliot, Me., and Joey McCarthy of Randolph, N.J., each of whom tested the Busch North Series waters with limited appearances in 2000.

Hoar has been the dominant force in late model sportsman racing in Vermont and northeastern New York in recent seasons, recording five ACT late model championships and the 1999 track titles at Thunder Road in Barre, Vt., and Airborne Raceway in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The 29-year old driver, who started racing in 1990, made three Busch North Series appearances with his Goss Dodge Pontiac in 2000, qualifying in the top ten at his home track, Thunder Road International Speedbowl.

Benjamin, 23, owns two rookie titles already, the first at Unity Raceway in 1995 and the second on the NEPSA pro stock circuit in 1997. In 2000, he ventured to Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and captured the Budweiser 100 for pro stocks. He made two Busch North Series appearances in 2000 with the Belfast Variety Ford, recording a 27th place at New Hampshire International Speedway and 24th at Thunder Road.

Carey Heath, 25, made history in 1996, becoming the first woman to win a feature in the late model division at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. She has competed in four Busch North Series races since 1998, highlighted by a 14th place qualifying effort at Seekonk Speedway last year. Heath's 2001 efforts have received a major boost with the signing of a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Aubuchon Hardware, a major retail chain in the northern New England region. Joey McCarthy, 28, registered to run for BNS rookie honors in 2000, but a mid-season injury limited his effort to five races, making him eligible for rookie consideration again in 2001. His best 2000 result was a 21st place finish in the season finale at Lime Rock Park. McCarthy, who started racing go-karts in 1985 and progressed through the NASCAR modified ranks at the Flemington (N.J.) Speedway, also made occasional Busch Grand National appearances during the 1990's. The McCarthy-Pritchard Motorsports Chevrolet will again carry Mannings USA sponsorship in 2001.

Several additional rookie contenders are expected to register before the Busch North Series season opens at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 22. All will hope to duplicate the success of 2000 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Mike Johnson, who finished eighth in points, and runner-up Martin Truex Jr., who ranked 12th. Both Johnson and Truex were race winners and Bud Pole winners during their rookie season.

The Busch North Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series which blanket the USA, bringing major events to NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks like Lee USA Speedway as well as many superspeedways and road courses.

-Al Robinson

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.