Mike Bruno Notches Sixth Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award Mike Bruno continued his strong rookie season in the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring Division, with another top ten performance in the Carquest 150 at Stafford Motorspeedway Friday...
Mike Bruno Notches Sixth Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award
Mike Bruno continued his strong rookie season in the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring Division, with another top ten performance in the Carquest 150 at Stafford Motorspeedway Friday night. It was just his second visit to the half mile track in a Busch Series car.
Mike started the Carquest 150 behind the "eightball". Mike was one of several drivers that were late for the drivers meeting earlier in the day, so he was penalized one lap in qualifying. Each team would be allowed two laps of qualifying, with the second lap normally being the fastest. Not only would Mike only get one lap of qualifying, but rain delayed qualifying causing NASCAR to hold just one round of qualifying -- meaning only the top 26 cars would make the field on time. Mike was able to drive the #3 Summit Racing Equipment Chevy to the 23rd fastest lap of the 39 cars that attempted to qualify, earning a solid spot in the field.
"I only had the one lap for qualifying," Mike said, "and it put us way back in 23rd. We've been qualifying a lot better than that. Missing that lap hurt us. I knew I was going to have to drive the wheels off it, and I did."
Mike quickly started moving his way up through the field once the green flag waved. By lap 50 he had moved all the way up into the top ten, then by the half-way point he had the #3 Summit Racing Equipment Chevy all the way up into the top five! He would run in the top five for the next 20 plus laps before slowing up for a big wreck involving many of the leaders. Mike did an outstanding job avoiding that wreck, which caught up many of the cars around him at the time.
"We got up to fifth and there was the big spin in front of us," Mike remarked after the race. "We wound up having to cut through the grass. I spun it around but got it going in the right direction. We came in for new right side tires and just tried to pick our way up through the field. We raced them guys clean and as hard as we could. With ten to go, the gloves are off -- they raced me and I raced them!"
Mike worked his way back up into the top ten and brought the Summit Racing car to the checkered flag in seventh place, winning his sixth Raybestos Rookie of the Race award of the season, four more than his nearest ROY competitor.
The CJ Richards Motorsports Team will next race this weekend at the New Hampshire International Speedway. Mike finished 12th and 7th in his two starts at NHIS this season -- winning the Rookie of the race award at both events. While Mike has only two starts at the "Magic Mile", he has plenty of seat time there. He is an instructor for the Richard Petty driving school at NHIS. The whole team is looking forward to returning to Loudon, where they feel they have a great shot at a win.
"New Hampshire is definitely a track we look forward too," Mike said confidently. "I've made hundreds of laps in Richard Petty's cars there and feel pretty good about our chances in the Summit Racing Chevy."