Dale Shaw comes out on top in wild NASCAR 150 Busch North Series finish at Stafford; Kobyluck storms from last to second; Leighton holds narrow point lead. STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn.& ...
Dale Shaw comes out on top in wild NASCAR 150 Busch North Series finish at Stafford; Kobyluck storms from last to second; Leighton holds narrow point lead.
STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn.– Dale Shaw chose the right moment to pit and asserted himself in the closing laps of the NASCAR 150 Busch North Series race Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway. The result was his first win of 2002, the 19th of his career, and a major revival in his hopes for a second Busch North title.
Nearly as successful as Shaw was Matt Kobyluck, who was sent to the tail of the field for spinning polesitter Dennis Demers on the first lap but battled back to second, just .60 seconds behind Shaw at the checkered flag. Kobyluck entered the night 68 points behind leader Brad Leighton, with Shaw 109 points out of the series lead. By the end of the evening, Kobyluck had moved within 22 points and Shaw within 53 as Leighton finished 13th. Other championship contenders fared poorly, as Kelly Moore who entered the event second in points finished 24th and third-place Andy Santerre, a late-race leader before spinning, wound up 16th. Moore and Santerre are now tied for fourth.
Tracy Gordon, Dale Quarterley, and Dave Dion were third through fifth in the NASCAR 150, with Martin Truex Jr., the Bud Pole winner who led most of the distance, fading to sixth. Greg Schaefer, Bryan Wall, Demers, and Eddie MacDonald completed the top ten. Shaw averaged 65.230 miles per hour as seven lead changes were recorded among five drivers. The caution flag was shown five times for 26 laps, and all but one of the 26 starters was on the track at the finish.
Lead changes and caution flags were bunched in the final 25 laps. Truex, who had led since lap 41, surrendered the top spot to Santerre on the 123rd circuit. Shortly thereafter, a caution following 80 consecutive green flag laps sent Shaw and Kobyluck to the pits. Along with Quarterley, they ran down Truex and Santerre easily, with Quarterley briefly taking the top spot in side-by-side duel with Santerre. When Santerre spun in turn two, Shaw slipped under for the lead and held it as the race was extended three laps to achieve a green flag finish.
Truex won his fifth Bud Pole of the season and his second at Stafford with a non-record lap at 19.781 seconds, 90.996 miles per hour, and also captured the Gatorade Front Runner Award. Carey Heath was the Flowmaster Star of the Race, and Brendt Matzel took the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award.
The Busch North Series takes next week off before returning to action in the Little Trees 150 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 10.