Carey Heath, Liane Lombardi - first female driving duo in Busch North Series history as Burnham Boilers 200 at Lime Rock Park tries again this Saturday. LAKEVILLE, Conn. (October 23, 2002) -- When the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring concludes...
Carey Heath, Liane Lombardi - first female driving duo in Busch North Series history as Burnham Boilers 200 at Lime Rock Park tries again this Saturday.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (October 23, 2002) -- When the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring concludes its season this Saturday with the twice-postponed Burnham Boilers 200 at Lime Rock Park, history will be made as two female drivers are in the starting lineup for the first time. Carey Heath, in her second year as a series regular, is slated to start 17th in the 36-car field. Meanwhile, Liane Lombardi, a competitor in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge competition at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, makes her first Busch North Series start from 26th in the Barsalow Insurance Pontiac owned by Busch North veteran Barney McRae.
The Burnham Boilers 200 lineup was set by car owner points last Saturday when rain prevented Bud Pole Qualifying from being completed in the second try to run the season's final event. On the original date, October 12, weekend-long rain prevented the cars from taking to the 1.53-mile road course at all. The tentative schedule for this Saturday, October 26, calls for practice at 9 a.m. and the 82-lap, 125-mile race at 12 noon. The Burnham Boilers 200 will decide the 2002 Busch North Series championship among leader Andy Santerre, Matt Kobyluck, who trails by 38 points, and two-time title winner Brad Leighton.
More than one female driver in the field is not new to some NACAR Touring divisions, notably the Goody's Dash Series, but Carey Heath has been alone in the Busch North Series since her debut in 2000. "It hasn't been a concern to me," the Aubuchon Hardware Chevrolet driver said, adding "I'm happy for Liane that she had the opportunity to get into the show. I believe she turned a faster time than me, but Liane has a road racing background. That's an untapped resource. Maybe I'll get to talk to her Saturday before the race."
To a greater extent than Watkins Glen, the other road course visited by the Busch North Series, Lime Rock is what is called a "technical" course in road racers' jargon. That is, many of its turns come in rapid succession, without any real straight in between, so an error anywhere in the series of corners can haunt a driver for most of the lap. "Road racing background is always helpful," Carey Heath observed. "I wish I had more; I haven't been to road racing school or had any training." On the other hand, she noted one limitation of most road racing schools- they are usually taught in lightweight single-seaters or sports cars made for the purpose; a much different breed from a 3100-pound Busch North Series stock car.
Whatever the outcome at Lime Rock, Carey Heath has assured herself of a top-20 finish in the Busch North Series point standings, earning a share of the series point fund and a trip across the stage at the annual awards ceremony next month in Lowell, Mass. She also reached the goal of a top-ten race finish for the first time at Holland (N.Y.) International Speedway last June. "Definitely, Holland was the highlight of 2002, and I wish we had more top tens to go with it," she related. "It's something we can plan and work toward next year."