BNS: Stafford preview

STAFFORD SPRINGS, CONN. (September 25, 2001) - Fans attending the Carquest Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 30, may be present for a coronation. Mike Olsen, who has led the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring point race...

STAFFORD SPRINGS, CONN. (September 25, 2001) - Fans attending the Carquest Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway this Sunday, September 30, may be present for a coronation. Mike Olsen, who has led the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring point race since the middle of June, can clinch his first title by leaving Stafford Sunday night with a 181 point lead in the standings. He currently leads Kelly Moore by 194 markers and third place Dale Shaw by 239.

The Carquest Fall Final, the traditional season closer at Stafford for two decades, features the Busch North Series for the first time in a 150-lap race which shares the spotlight with a race of the same distance for the Featherlite Modified Series. Stafford's NASCAR Weekly Racing Series SK modified and late model divisions are also on the Sunday program. The first green flag is set for 1 p.m., with the Busch North Series feature expected to start around 2:30.

Since the Carquest Fall Final is the next-to-last race of the 2001 Busch North Series season and the series awards 180 points for victory with no lap leader bonuses, Olsen must lead by 181 when Sunday's results are posted to put the finishing touches on the title. All the top three in the point race have two victories, so there's no assurance who would win a tie-breaker.

In the two previous Busch North Series races at Stafford this season, Olsen has posted seventh and second place finishes, while Moore has win in June's Carquest Auto Parts 150 and a third in July's ASB NASCAR 150. Shaw was seventh in the June event and tenth in July. Moore is the only one of the trio to win at Stafford, and he is also the track record holder.

To borrow a baseball analogy frequently heard at this time of year, Olsen's magic number is 13. That's the number of points he can afford to lose to Moore and still clinch the title at Stafford. If Moore wins the Carquest Fall Final, Olsen must finish second to close him out. If Moore is second through fourth, Olsen must be no more than two places behind. From that point, Olsen can lock up the title by staying within three places of Moore.

Olsen can eliminate third place Shaw by finishing 13th, fourth place Dale Quarterley by finishing 16th, and fifth place Mike Johnson by finishing 18th, even if one of those driver emerges as the Stafford winner.

Even if the champion is decided at Stafford, the rest of the top ten will be up for grabs as only 214 points separate second place Moore from tenth-place Brad Leighton. Things are especially tight from third through eighth, where only 98 points separate Shaw from Martin Truex Jr.

The season-long Bud Pole Award battle is nearly identical to the overall point contest, with Moore as Olsen's only challenger. If Moore fails to win the Bud Pole at Stafford, Olsen clinches the award.

The clinching scenario is simple for Brian Hoar in the race for Raybestos Rookie-of-theYear honors. Basically, he just needs to qualify at Stafford. With eight active rookie candidates, that would assure him of the points he needs to close out Joey McCarthy and Eddie MacDonald, who are locked in a tight battle for second.

Also likely to be locked up at Stafford is the Flowmaster Star of the Race Award for position improvement. Unless Kip Stockwell or Dennis Demers passes the most cars in the Carquest Fall Final, Bryan Wall will be assured of the Flowmaster seasonal honors.

The Carquest Fall Final schedule shows all practice and qualifying on Saturday, September 29. Busch North Series practice is set from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Bud Pole Qualifying at 3 p.m. Early-arriving fans on Sunday can enjoy Stafford's traditional Pit Party on-track car display and autograph session starting at 11 a.m. The late model feature leads off the afternoon's race program, followed by the Busch North Series at 2:30 p.m., the SK modifieds, and the Featherlite Modified Series.

The Busch North Series is one of nine NASCAR Touring Series which blanket the USA, bringing major events to NASCAR Weekly Racing Series tracks like Staffor Motor speedway as well as many superspeedways and road courses. The NASCAR Touring program is recognized as the premier training ground for NASCAR's national series, the Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, Grand National Division, and Craftsman Truck Series, while also providing career opportunities for professional racers at the regional level. Corporations making major contributions to NASCAR Touring point funds include Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Featherlite Trailers, Goody's Headache Powders, Gatorade, RE/MAX International, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Raybestos Brakes, and R.J. Reynolds' Winston brand.

--nascar/bns

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Bryan Wall , Dale Quarterley , Mike Johnson , Eddie MacDonald