BNS: Stafford: Andy Santerre race notes

Andy Santerre 2nd in Aubuchon 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, two-time NASCAR Busch North Series Champion and driver of the ...

Andy Santerre 2nd in Aubuchon 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway

Harrisburg, North Carolina - Andy Santerre, two-time NASCAR Busch North Series Champion and driver of the #6 Bessey Motorsports, Aubuchon Hardware Chevrolet, finished a close second to veteran, Kelly Moore, in the Aubuchon 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday, June 18, 2004.

Santerre and crew were not sure what to expect for time trials. They had experienced a minor engine issue during the day's only practice session and never got a good handle on the car.

"We had a problem with the distributor cap during practice," the 35-year old Santerre explained. "The motor was skipping and causing concern. We diagnosed the problem and decided to fix it once practice was over, but it still cost us precious time." Santerre continues, "We went out to qualify, not really sure how the car was, but it must have been better than we thought as I clocked the 3rd fastest time of the day, three tenths faster than my practice time."

Prior to the race, Santerre made an appearance at the Aubuchon Hardware hospitality event where he met and mingled with over 100 Aubuchon employees.

"It is great to have such support from our sponsor and their employees," Santerre confirmed. 'It might have added a little pressure, just because I wanted them to have a good time and I wanted their car to run well as a thank you for all they do for the team."

Santerre started the main event in the 3rd position, but quickly moved into the runner-up spot. After a lap-34 restart, Santerre raced into the lead, only to lose it the very next lap.

"I got a great run on Kelly (Moore) on the restart," said Santerre, a Cherryfield, Maine native. "I got a run off four and made the pass going down the front stretch, but there was oil or something on the track in (turn) two so I was a little cautious heading into (turn) three, Kelly got a run and got back by the next lap."

Santerre knew he had a 2nd place car unless he got fresh tires, so when a caution came out at lap 88, Santerre dove into the pits for two fresh Goodyear Eagles.

"We had to pit," Santerre admitted. "We were only a 2nd place car otherwise. I could have gone through Kelly, but I wasn't going to get by clean unless I had new tires.

Besides, I have the best pit crew on the tour and I have every confidence that they will continue to get me out first."

Santerre restarted the event in 8th position and made short work of racing back into the runner-up position. It looked, for a short time, that Moore was a sitting duck.

"The tires were awesome for about 20 laps," Santerre explained. "I came through the pack like a bullet, but by the time I got back to 2nd behind Kelly, I had used the tires up." Santerre continues, "Kelly is a veteran and has been around the block, I was much faster through the corners, but Kelly kept his car right on the bottom. I had just enough room to get my nose under him, but the car was just too tight to complete the pass without leaning on him and I don't race that way."

It looked, for a brief time, that Santerre would finish 3rd as Matt Kobyluck mounted a challenge late in the race when he passed Santerre for the 2nd position with less than 20 laps to go.

"I lost a throttle spring," Santerre exclaimed after the race. "I was heading into three and the throttle felt real spongy. I was a little cautious for a lap or two until I knew what the problem was and that I had a back up spring." Santerre confides, "I actually had my hand on the kill switch for a lap wondering if the throttle was going to stick wide open. I didn't want any part of that and was prepared to forfeit my position on the track if I needed to."

Once Santerre diagnosed the problem and was able to put it out of his mind, he went back racing and passed Kobyluck for the position.

The 2nd place finish proved to be a good points night as Santerre extended his lead in the NASCAR Busch North Series Championship standings to 34 over 2001 Champion, Mike Olsen. Dale Quarterly sits 117 back in 3rd .

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