BNS: Stafford: Andy Santerre race notes

Andy Santerre Takes Second Place at Stafford Motor Speedway Harrisburg, North Carolina - Cherryfield, Maine's Andy Santerre, fresh off a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season-opening win two weeks ago at Lee USA ...

Andy Santerre Takes Second Place at Stafford Motor Speedway

Harrisburg, North Carolina - Cherryfield, Maine's Andy Santerre, fresh off a NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season-opening win two weeks ago at Lee USA Speedway, finished second in the season's second race of the year, the New England Dodge Dealers NASCAR 150 held Friday night at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway. Santerre started the race eleventh, but charged to the front following a pit stop made just after halfway, taking second with just seven laps left. With this finish, he extends his points lead to 41 over Joey McCarthy.

"We've just got to keep that momentum going," Santerre said after the race That's what we need to do on those nights when the car's off a little bit. We do what we have to do to get into the top three, and somehow get through it, and I think we'll be shooting for another championship."

Practice found the Aubuchon Hardware/Brickmill Marketing Services/Castle Chemical Chevrolet team struggling, with changes taking longer than expected and losing valuable track time.

"We were trying some new stuff with the suspension and it just didn't work. .It was worth a shot, but it took us longer to change it in practice than I thought and we lost a lot of valuable time. But the guys learned how to do it now and they'll be a lot quicker next time," Santerre said.

Qualifying found the team eleventh out of thirty-one cars present after turning in a lap of 20.44 seconds (88.063 MPH) in time trials.

"The car was really loose," Santerre confirmed. The track changed quite a bit, the sun came out and hurt us. I think we'll be good in the race, we always find a way to race good. The car's real consistent, and I think for the race that's where you have to be."

Santerre was running in eighth place when caution flew on lap 77 of the 150-lap race, and he took this opportunity to come down pit road where his Bessey Motorsports crew replaced right- side tires and made chassis adjustments. He returned to the track in twelfth place.

He was quickly back in the top ten shortly after the race went back to green, then put on a charge as the laps started winding down. He was up to fifth with thirty laps to go, and took fourth on a lap 122 restart. Moving up to third with twenty to go, he started working on Matt Kobyluck for second as laps wound down. He pulled alongside Kobyluck with seven to go, completing the pass two laps later. He didn't have enough time to chase down eventual winner Martin Truex, Jr., and finished in the second spot.

"It was a good race," he said afterwards. The Aubuchon Hardware/Brickmill Marketing Services/Castle Chevy went real well tonight. We missed the setup a little bit, but we worked on it when we came in, put two tires on it, and got back out. It helped us, it improved our position, so it was a good night for us.

"I really had no choice but to come in and pit," Santerre continued. I had an eighth or tenth place car if I would have stayed out. I knew I didn't really want to finish there. I knew if I came in, the worst I'd have been was tenth so it was a no-brainer to come in and try to make it better. And we did, we made a chassis adjustment and made it better, and it helped us in the end. I didn't think I'd come all the way up to second, but we had a few good breaks and it worked out for us."

Santerre will take his points lead to a new venue for the Busch North Series, Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania, next Sunday for a 150-lap event. For more information on Santerre, the 2002 Busch North champion, visit his website at www.andysanterre.com.

-jbm-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.