Coca-Cola 150, Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass., Sunday, August 5 NASCAR racing is a fickle business. For most of the month of July, Dale Shaw, Mike Johnson, and Paul Richardson raced in hard luck, while Martin Truex Jr. seemingly could do no ...
Coca-Cola 150, Seekonk Speedway, Seekonk, Mass., Sunday, August 5
NASCAR racing is a fickle business. For most of the month of July, Dale Shaw, Mike Johnson, and Paul Richardson raced in hard luck, while Martin Truex Jr. seemingly could do no wrong. Sunday at Seekonk, the tables were turned as the first three received the post-race accolades, while the latter loaded up after a 26th place finish.
Four races earlier, Johnson was second in points, Shaw was sixth, and Richardson was less than 20 points out of the top 10. Entering the Coca-Cola 150, Johnson had fallen to fourth, Shaw was tenth, and Richardson was 150 points out of the top 10, and said by some to be sitting one out after his hard crash at Stafford.
When they closed the gates on the Cement Palace, Johnson was back in second, albeit 189 points behind Mike Olsen, while Shaw had his first win of the season and was up to eighth in points. Richardson stayed 13th, but closed a ton of ground on Jamie Aube and Brian Hoar.
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Also just one month ago, the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contest looked like a race for second, with Brian Hoar firmly in command. Now Eddie MacDonald has won rookie honors two races in a row, and it's become a three-way race, with Hoar leading Joey McCarthy by four points and MacDonald by five. Although he may be too far back to make noise in the Raybestos award race, Travis Benjamin has become a contender every week, finishing right behind MacDonald and McCarthy at Seekonk.
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Saturday's postponement at Seekonk was the first complete, never-off-the-truck rainout for the Busch North Series since Star Speedway in August 1999. Last September, the Thunder Road event was started on Saturday and completed on Sunday.
While Sunday afternoon's temperature at Seekonk was not as hot as race day at Star this June, that was a night race. This time the drivers were racing in the hottest part of the day.
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John Cerbone finally got to race. The Busch North Series' only driver from the Big Apple never made a starting lineup in 2000 and only fired up on the grid to get credit for last place at Thompson last month. This time he ran clean to he finish, just two laps down in 21st place.
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Two drivers made career BNS debuts at Seekonk. Matt Dewey, a local resident and Saturday night pro stock star, drove Chris Clark's dayglo Chevy run earlier this year at NHIS by Tommy Cravenho. He qualified 11th and finished 22nd, three laps down. Gregg Massini, a former Lebanon Valley Speedway dirt track runner and more recently crew chief for Brett Roubinek, brought Roubinek's car out for his first try at asphalt. He struggled with a monster push for 70 laps before settling for 29th.
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Thursday night before the Seekonk race, several Vermont-area BNS drivers took advantage of an open practice at Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Mike Olsen, Brian Hoar, Dennis Demers, and Kip Stockwell were joined by Stub Fadden, who hot lapped grandson Olsen's second car, lending support to the rumor that ol' Stanley may pull the belts tight one more time at T-Road on September 1. He officially retired at the end of the 1998 season, but was able to make an exception at NHIS in 1999.
Olsen, Hoar, and Shelburne Limestone crew chief Trampas Demers all raced in the late model feature a Thunder Road as well.