BNS: Stafford: Round three preview

BUSCH NORTH SERIES SEASON SHIFTS INTO HIGH GEAR WITH AUBUCHON HARDWARE 150 AT STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY, FRIDAY NIGHT, JUNE 17 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2005) -- When the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series teams arrive at ...

BUSCH NORTH SERIES SEASON SHIFTS INTO HIGH GEAR WITH AUBUCHON HARDWARE 150 AT STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY, FRIDAY NIGHT, JUNE 17

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2005) -- When the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series teams arrive at Stafford Motor Speedway for the Aubuchon Hardware 150 on Friday night, June 17, they will embark on a challenging summer schedule, which finds short tracks and superspeedways in a variety of shapes and sizes thrown at them week after week.

Stafford's Aubuchon Hardware 150, the first of two appearances for the Busch North Series in 2005 at the Arute family's historic central Connecticut facility, is the second of three scheduled races in a row during June. After an Independence Weekend respite, July brings four races back-to-back before another week off and then a three race August swing that extends from Virginia to Maine. The Busch North Series summer schedule is truly a marathon, and that's fine with Brian Hoar, the Willison, Vt., driver who occasionally tests his skills and endurance as a long-distance runner when he's not behind the wheel of his family-owned Goss Dodge Intrepid.

One of the keys to keeping up the pace in the summer grind is to keep it simple. Hoar plans to use the same short track car at Thompson, Stafford and Holland.

"All short tracks are basically the same. It's when you get to changing brake packages and changing transmissions that it gets real tough," Hoar explained. From that standpoint, the toughest stretch of the season should be the last three races, which find New Hampshire International Speedway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway, both one-mile tracks but with completely different configurations, and the Lime Rock Park road course in Lakeville, Conn. on consecutive weekends.

Hoar has also made a major addition at the shop in 2005 which should pay dividends at the track. Fellow Vermonter Karl Osha, co-crew chief for Grizco Racing for many years including Brad Leighton's 1999 and 2000 Busch North championship seasons, joined Goss Dodge crew chief Neal Woodward full-time in January and the result has been clearly felt in preparation for the 2005 campaign.

"We've had two guys in the race shop," Brian noted, "but usually it's been someone with no racing experience working with Neal." Now experience is the team's strong suit instead of a weak link. "First of all (Karl) brings the great knowledge from working with great drivers and great teams," Hoar continued, adding that the intangible factors of confidence and reassurance are just as valuable to a young team which faces the added challenge of being the only Dodge team running the full Busch North Series.

When asked if Stafford is a handling track or a horsepower track, Hoar replied "It's a combination of both, but for me it's more of a horsepower track." That, he says, is due to the fact that the driver spends relatively less time in the corners at Stafford, meaning more time on the straight. Forward bite off the corners is crucial, and the teams don't yet have enough experience with the revised Goodyear Eagle tires for 2005 to know if new tires or old tires and track position will be the preferred strategy for the closing stages.

The long distance runner in Brian Hoar aims to run the New York City Marathon one day, and he's prepared to make the commitment that can place him in that select company. He's already made the commitment to excellence in the Busch North Series, and hopes to reap that reward starting with the Aubuchon Hardware 150 at Stafford.

The Aubuchon Hardware 150 is scheduled as a one-day event on Friday, June 17, with one long practice session from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. leading to Busch Pole Qualifying at 5:15 p.m. and the green flag at 9:00 p.m. Stafford's regular NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series classes will also be in action during the evening. The race will be televised live, in high definition, on HDNet. SPEED Channel will provide an enhanced replay on Friday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m

NEWS OF NOTE

* The Aubuchon Hardware 150 was the only visit to Stafford Motor Speedway by the Busch North Series in 2004. Kelly Moore led all but on lap -- the 35th circuit - but it was a tough battle with Andy Santerre in the closing stages. Santerre, after briefly passing Moore to gain his 5-point leader bonus, decided he could only win with new rubber. He pitted on lap 89, coming out eighth, and was back in second 14 laps later, but the series' all-time leading winner had enough to hold him off with his older tires. Following K. Moore and Santerre to the checkered flag were Matt Kobyluck, Mike Olsen, and Dale Quarterley.

*Bryon Chew won his first career Busch Pole at the 2004 Aubuchon Hardware 150 but finished 17th, one lap down.

* The Busch Pole Qualifying record at Stafford Motor Speedway is held by Kelly Moore at 19.672 seconds, 91.491 miles per hour, set in June 2001. It is the oldest track record in the Busch North Series record books among active tracks.

* Stafford Motor Speedway has hosted the Busch North Series since its inaugural season of 1987, with at least one race annually since 1993. Mike Johnson and Kelly Moore have each won three Busch North races at Stafford. Double winners are Mike Stefanik, Andy Santerre, Brad Leighton, and Martin Truex Jr. Single wins belong to Tommy Houston, Mike McLaughlin, Keith Lamell, Tom Bolles, Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller, Dennis Demers, Ted Christopher, Dale Shaw, and Tom Carey. The victories by Houston, Lamell, Fuller, and Demers are their only Busch North triumphs.

* Mike Stefanik in 1998 and Brad Leighton in 1999 are the only drivers to win at Stafford during a Busch North Series championship season.

* Under the ownership of the Arute family, Stafford Motor Speedway has become known as one of the most modern short tracks in the country, yet it is one of the oldest active racing venues as well. Built as a fairgrounds horse track in 1870, it operated as a dirt speedway from 1948 to 1967, when asphalt was laid over the existing track, keeping the flat and sweeping configuration. At the urging of racing great Bill Slater, still a familiar face at Stafford's pit gate today, Jack Arute Sr. bought the speedway in 1969 and his family has operated it since that time with constant upgrading to the facility, including state-of-the-art lighting, sound system, and video production unit. Stafford has been a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series track continuously since the dirt track era of the 1960's.

FAST FACTS

What: Aubuchon Hardware 150, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series Race 3 of 14

Where: Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, Conn.
When: Friday, June 17, 9:00 p.m.

Track layout: .500 mile paved oval
Race distance: 150 laps, 75.0 miles

Television: HDNet LIVE
SPEED Channel enhanced replay, Friday, July 8, 2:00 p.m.

Schedule: Friday, June 17 -- Practice 2:30 to 4:00 p.m., Busch Pole Qualifying 5:15 p.m., Aubuchon Hardware 150 9:00 p.m.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Martin Truex Jr. , Dale Quarterley , Matt Kobyluck , Mike Johnson , Ted Christopher , Bryon Chew