CarQuest 150, Stafford Motor Speedway, Friday, June 22 The Stafford victory couldn't have come at a better time for Kelly Moore. Since his race win and Bud Pole at Seekonk on Memorial Day weekend, the series' all-time leader in both categories...
CarQuest 150, Stafford Motor Speedway, Friday, June 22
The Stafford victory couldn't have come at a better time for Kelly Moore. Since his race win and Bud Pole at Seekonk on Memorial Day weekend, the series' all-time leader in both categories had been in a tailspin. An accident, not of his making, at Holland, a flat tire at Beech Ridge, a fluid leak at Star, and penalties for pit-entry violations at both the latter events had seen him finish 24th, 14th, and 25th, and tumble from a close second to a distant tenth in the standings. He made up only 34 points on leader Mike Olsen at Stafford, but he leaped to fifth on the chart. He's also in the familiar position of leading the Bud Pole standings.
* * *
Another fixture at the top of the Busch North chart is beginning to make his presence felt. Dale Shaw suffered through a 37th at NHIS and a 19th at Beech Ridge, dropping as low as 15th in the standings. Now he's put top-five finishes back-to-back and climbed to ninth in points.
* * *
Part-time employment can still be profitable, as Dennis Doyle and Jerry Marquis proved by finishing third and fourth in the CarQuest 150. It was Doyle's second Busch North Series race of the year and Marquis' third. Doyle equalled his best career finish, set at Lime Rock Park in 1997.
Marquis was runner-up for the BNS title in 1997, but now he and the Vecchio team fit a limited Busch North Series schedule around Jerry's Featherlite Modified Series commitments. He's the defending champion of the FMS and currently in the top five in points, despite hopping from ride to ride in 2001.
* * *
The leaders in the "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all" department are now Martin Truex Jr. and Bill Penfold. Truex left NHIS in May second, five points out of the lead. He's had only one top ten since then and has dropped to 14th. Penfold was never out of the top ten in the first three races of the season, but he's gone 13-30-12-27 in the last four and slid from seventh to 15th in points.
* * *
Brian Hoar continues to impress with both speed and consistency. In taking five straight Raybestos Rookie of the-Race Awards, he's been between fifth and seventh overall and on the lead lap in each race. He's all the way up to seventh in the Busch North Series standings.
* * *
Five drivers made their 2001 Busch North Series debuts in the 42-car field for the CarQuest 150, but none were able to crack the 30-car race lineup. Tom Bolles, a former Stafford BNS winner, has been busy managing the family's newest Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealership in Union, Conn. Todd Wilkinson had planned to run for Raybestos Rookie honors in 2001, but a fire at the family's business in Pittsfield, Mass., has set back the plans of the dirt track star.
Also missing the cut in their first 2001 outings were veteran Scott Bouley and newcomers Tim Strojny, the former crew chief for Dale Quarterley who has acquired an ex-Jimmy Spencer car, and Dave Kokindo.
* * *
Defending CarQuest 150 winner Ted Christopher cut a tire and finished 22nd, but he had the satisfaction of passing all the leaders on the track to regain one of his three lost laps. He also won his 54th career Stafford SK Modified feature earlier in the evening.
* * *
It wouldn't be a 2001 Busch North Series race without a weather story. This time the skies threatened all day but didn't drop precipitation on the speedway until Bud Pole Qualifying was in progress. Unlike Beech Ridge two weeks ago, qualifying was completed and the race began under clearing skies. True to form, it rained again as the final service vehicles were leaving the garage area. It has now rained on race day at five of seven events, yet all have been completed on schedule.