BNS: Thunder Road: Andy Santerre race notes

Santerre takes second place and the points lead at Thunder Road. Waterbury, CT - Andy Santerre pulled into Vermont's Thunder Road International Speedway with momentum on his side. A win two weeks ago in New York and a good starting spot for the...

Santerre takes second place and the points lead at Thunder Road.

Waterbury, CT - Andy Santerre pulled into Vermont's Thunder Road International Speedway with momentum on his side. A win two weeks ago in New York and a good starting spot for the rain-delayed race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway has him pumped up about making the run for the NASCAR Busch North Series championship title. "I haven't been to Thunder Road since 1997 and even then it was a tough little track to race on. The fans in Vermont are so much fun to race in front of and I'm really looking forward to tonight's race. If we can just stay up front and out of trouble and come out of here with a top 5 finish we can keep the momentum going when we return to Beech Ridge next week," Santerre commented.

The days activities started out with 3 separate practice sessions in which Santerre spent the first 2 sessions working on his race set-up opting to wait until the 3rd session to prepare for time trials. "We made a lot of small changes to our car hoping to find the best set-up for tonight's race. I think it is going to be a sprint race with a lot of cautions and short green flag runs. Your car needs to be good for those short runs but if we have a long green flag run you have to be ready," said Santerre.

Santerre brought his LesCare Kitchens Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the green flag in the True Value 150 in 12th position with hopes of contending for the win before the evening was over. He was determined to finish the race and try not to get caught up in anyone else's mess. When the first caution of the race flew at lap 24, he found himself in 11th position with plenty of fast cars between himself and the leader Mike Olsen. Santerre continued to show his trademark quality of patience and persistence by remaining in the top 10 of the running order.

Santerre continued his charge to the front when the green flag waved again moving his LesCare Kitchens Chevrolet Monte Carlo towards the front of the pack. By lap 75 he was looking on the inside of the 47 in an effort to secure the fifth position on the track. Two laps later Santerre found he was in the top 5 of the running order and steadily moving his way through lap traffic and pursuing the leaders. He continued his move to the front picking off each position with ease. When the final green flag flew on lap 129 he was in third position and pursuing the 45 car of Brian hoar. Ten laps later Santerre was able to put the LesCare Kitchens Chevrolet Monte Carlo into second position and start reeling in the leader Mike Olsen.

However the 60 car of Dale Shaw hindered his forward progress. Even after being directed by NASCAR officials Shaw refused to move his 2 laps down car out of the groove and allow Santerre the chance to pursue the leader. When the checkered flag waved to signal the end of the True Value 150, Santerre found himself with a second place finish and in the lead of the tightest points races in several years on the Busch North Series.

Andy was very satisfied after climbing from his car. "I have to congratulate the winner Mike Olsen on his commanding performance. Nobody had anything for him tonight. He has had some bad luck this year so it's great to see him pull it all together and win. I don't think I have ever been this happy to run second as I am tonight. We were very concerned about getting a good finish here and it feels very rewarding to finish this well and put on a good show for the fans here at Thunder Road. They are so passionate about racing and I'm pleased to give them a thrilling race."

When asked to comment on Dale Shaw's action over the last few laps Santerre was extremely apologetic in his response. "Dale and I were racing hard in the middle of the race. He roughed me up whenever I tried to pass him, as he usually does. When I finally dove under him coming off turn 4, I made the pass cleanly. Then he got a good run on me and came back on the outside and I just didn't know he was that close. My spotter said outside, but I was already moving up and I guess I rode him higher then expected. I am really sorry I did, but it's so tough on these short tracks, even when your spotter clears you, it's so tight that anything can happen. I know he wanted me to try and pass him on those last few laps, but I know the way he thinks, and I wasn't going to put myself in that position. I'm sure he thinks it was payback for what happened in Stafford a month ago, but I don't race that way. It's a shame he does. If it was payback, then what was he thinking about doing on the last few laps?"

Santerre continued, "I am thrilled to come out of here with the points lead. It's still going to be a tough battle from now on. Nobody is walking away with it. I think anyone in the top 5 still has a chance at winning. This is such a competitive series now, that anyone who has the least amount of bad luck is the one that will win the point's race. We've been lucky the past few weeks and have some good tracks coming up for us so we are really looking forward to the next few weeks. My crew is really pumped up after tonight. We have crewmembers from 7 different states working on this team. It is our first year with all of us working together so to even be in contention is a great feeling for all of us. We get along great and that is so important in today's racing. This is what it is all about."

-asm-

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Series NASCAR