BNS: Stafford III: Race notes, standings

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. -- Mike Johnson ended a year of frustration by winning Sunday's Carquest Fall Final 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Stafford Motor Speedway, leading all but the first lap. Bud Pole winner Joey...

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. -- Mike Johnson ended a year of frustration by winning Sunday's Carquest Fall Final 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Stafford Motor Speedway, leading all but the first lap. Bud Pole winner Joey McCarthy was second, while Andy Santerre's third place finish was sufficient to clinch his second consecutive Busch North Series title.

Matt Kobyluck and Brian Hoar completed the top five, followed by Bill Penfold, Kelly Moore, Mike Stefanik, Tracy Gordon, and Eddie MacDonald. Johnson averaged 56.998 miles per hour as the pace was slowed seven times by the caution flag for 52 laps. After surviving mid-race pressure from McCarthy, Johnson pulled away to win by .96 seconds, as Santerre mounted a charge for second in the closing laps. While falling short in that mission, he gained a much larger victory by expanding his point lead to 196 over Stefanik with one race remaining. Since the maximum score available in next Saturday's final event at Lime Rock Park is 185 points, Santerre is assured of retaining the title he first won in 2002.

McCarthy won his first career Bud Pole in qualifying for the Carquest Fall Final in September 27, before the event was twice postponed by inclement weather. Stefanik earned the PowerAde Power Move of the Race Award for advancing ten positions from his starting spot, while Ryan Moore was the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race for the 12th time in 2003.

Johnson's sixth career Busch North Series victory made him the tenth different winner in 16 races this season, and moved him past Hoar into fourth place in the point standings behind Santerre, Stefanik, and Kelly Moore. McCarthy made a major move from ninth to sixth in points, and Raybestos Rookie runner-up Mark Durgin entered the top 15 for the first time in 2003, giving him at least a temporary hold on the final invitation to the Toyota All-Star Showdown against the NASCAR Grand National Division, Winston West Series at Irwindale, California, November 6-8.

All positions in the top 15 except Santerre's championship and Kip Stockwell's 14th place are open to change in the season-ending Burnham Boilers 200 presented by the New England Dodge Dealers at Lime Rock Park's 1.53 mile road course in Lakeville, Conn., next Saturday, October 11.

TIME OF RACE: 1 hour, 18 minutes, 54 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 56.998 mph
MARGIN OF VICTORY 0.96 seconds
CAUTION PERIODS: 7 for 52 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 1 between 2 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Joey McCarthy 1, Mike Johnson 2-150

BUD POLE AWARD: Joey McCarthy, TrustCompany Bank Chevrolet (20.087 sec @ 89.610 mph)
POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE AWARD: Mike Stefanik, Burnham Boilers Chevrolet
RAYBESTOS ROOKIE-OF-THE-RACE AWARD: Ryan Moore, R.C. Moore Chevrolet
CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Albert Johnson (Owner), Johnson Lumber Ford

<pre> UNOFFICIAL BUSCH NORTH SERIES POINT STANDINGS (wins) 1. Andy Santerre (3) 2487 2. Mike Stefanik 2291 3. Kelly Moore (2) 2270 4. Mike Johnson (1) 2248 5. Brian Hoar (1) 2236 6. Joey McCarthy (1) 2193 7. Dale Quarterley (1) 2169 8. Ryan Moore 2151 9. Mike Olsen (1) 2150 10.Eddie MacDonald 2146 11.Matt Kobyluck 2096 12.Dave Dion 1982 13.Bryon Chew 1947 14.Kip Stockwell 1741 15.Mark Durgin 1582

UNOFFICIAL RAYBESTOS ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR POINT STANDINGS 1. Ryan Moore 151 2. Mark Durgin 124 3. Laine Chase 106

{TX) NEXT RACE: Burnham Boilers 200 presented by the New England Dodge Dealers, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn., Sat., October 11 (season finale)

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Quarterley , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson , Ryan Moore , Eddie MacDonald , Bryon Chew