Pepsi Racing 150, Thompson International Speedway, Saturday, July 13 Brad Leighton received the checkered flag and Kelly Moore took the point lead, but the biggest winner at Thompson last weekend was former Busch North Series Director Bunk ...
Pepsi Racing 150, Thompson International Speedway, Saturday, July 13
Brad Leighton received the checkered flag and Kelly Moore took the point lead, but the biggest winner at Thompson last weekend was former Busch North Series Director Bunk Sampson. Over $10,000 was raised by Friday’s second annual Bunker Golf Tournament to assist Bunk in his fight against cancer, which he has waged courageously for over two years. The tournament was held at the Raceway Golf Club, adjacent to the speedway and also owned and operated by the Hoenig family, and sponsored by the Busch North Series Women’s Auxiliary. The tournament winning team included former Winston Cup star Ron Bouchard, now a highly successful automobile dealer in Massachusetts.
Martin Truex Jr.’s fourth consecutive Bud Pole Award was the seventh of his career, tying him for eighth on the all-time list with a distinguished group that includes the first Busch North champion, Joey Kourafas, two-time title winner Mike Stefanik, the versatile Robbie Crouch… and his dad, Martin Truex Sr.
Tracy Gordon is back. Since leading from flag to flag in the 2001 season opener at Lee USA Speedway, not much had gone right for the 1999 series runner-up and 2000 Bud Pole champion. The Tic Tac Chevrolet team’s frustration reached a peak at NHIS this May, when Gordon seemed to be on his way to a top-five finish until a violent crash in turn one on a late-race restart destroyed their superspeedway car. It didn’t destroy the team’s determination, and since that time they’ve rebuilt their season, one race at a time. Now they rank in the top ten for the first time in 2002.
Time off certainly seemed to work wonders for Jamie Aube and Bryan Wall. Aube and the Verres Racing team, who had not raced since the second event of the season, were fast right off the truck, setting third fastest qualifying time and running in the top five all night on the way to fourth place. It was the 60th career top five finish for the series’ only three-time champion.
Wall, who skipped the Holland and Waterford races to regroup, recorded his best finish of the 2002 season in eighth after qualifying seventh.
Ken Bouchard, Ron’s younger brother who was also a Winston Cup rookie of the year in 1988, made his first Busch North Series start in several years, finishing 30th at Thompson, where he won his only Busch North race in 1990. Earlier in the evening, he came within a few yards of winning the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge modified feature.
Thompson Milestones… Brad Leighton’s 19th career Busch North series victory broke a tie with Dale Shaw for second place on the all-time list. Leighton is the only driver among the top four in career wins, headed by Kelly Moore and including the currently-inactive Bobby Dragon, who did not win a race in the series inaugural season of 1987. Leighton’s first win came in 1996.
Tracy Gordon made his 100th Busch North Series start at Thompson, and Dennis Demers made his 100th start in a stand-alone Busch North race, i.e., not counting the "combination" races which ended with the 2000 season.
Dale Quarterley, who entered the race sixth in points, finished sixth for the third straight race. Unfortunately, he fell to seventh in the standings behind Mike Johnson.
Jimmy Renfrew, after failing to make the field in two previous attempts, finally made his Busch North Series debut with a 23rd place finish and was the second highest placed Raybestos Rookie contender.
Fred Skaff, who shares driving duties in his #33 Ford with Mike Gallo, finished 17th in his 2002 debut. Skaff ran as high as fourth after choosing not to pit at mid-race.