BNS: Stafford III: Race report

Mike Johnson, Kelly Moore use no-pit strategy to sweep top two Busch North spots at Stafford's Fall final; Santerre's 3rd builds lead to 38 with one race left. STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn.-- Mike Johnson and Kelly Moore used the same pit strategy-...

Mike Johnson, Kelly Moore use no-pit strategy to sweep top two Busch North spots at Stafford's Fall final; Santerre's 3rd builds lead to 38 with one race left.

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn.-- Mike Johnson and Kelly Moore used the same pit strategy- no pit strategy, to be specific- and finished first and second in the Carquest Fall Final 150 Busch North Series race at Stafford Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon. Andy Santerre finished third to build his point lead to 38 over Matt Kobyluck with one race remaining.

Kobyluck finished fifth at Stafford, behind Dale Quarterley, while the other contender in the three-way title race, Brad Leighton, was ninth and now trails Santerre by 80 points. Others in Sunday's top ten were Tracy Gordon sixth, Jerry Marquis seventh, Mike Rowe eighth, and Paul Wolfe tenth.

While Johnson started first after winning the Bud Pole, his run to victory was by no means easy. He lost the lead to Martin Truex Jr. on lap 4 and son slid to third behind Dale Shaw. He reclaimed second from Shaw on the 21st circuit and chased Truex until an 85th lap restart gave him a chance to challenge. After two laps side by side, Johnson took over.

Johnson's last threat came from Leighton, who pitted with the first wave on lap 37. He made his presence felt alongside the leader shortly after the 100 lap mark, but even on his original tires Johnson was up to the task. Leighton soon faded and Moore, also on well-seasoned Goodyears, moved into the runner-up spot, finishing .47 seconds behind.

Santerre, who visited the pits with most of the field on lap 58 for his two right-side tires, held off closing heat from Quarterley and Kobyluck after Mike Olsen crashed hard in turn three on lap 131 while running fourth. Olsen was not injured. Of the 30 starters, 24 were running at the checker, with 19 on the lead lap. Johnson averaged 55.158 miles per hour as the caution flag was shown six times for 47 laps.

Truex led 83 laps to claim the Gatorade Front Runner Award, but could only come back to 12th after pitting on lap 93. Marquis was the Flowmaster Star of the Race for improving his position by 12 spots, and Jimmy Renfrew claimed his second Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Race Award of the year.

The 2002 Busch North Series title will be settled among Santerre, Kobyluck, and Leighton in the Burnham Boilers 200 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., on Saturday, October 12.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Dale Quarterley , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson