BNS: USA-Lee: Raybestos Rookie contenders preview

Harrison, Renfrew, Shackford head Raybestos Rookies in Busch North Series opener at Lee USA Speedway, Sunday, April 21. LEE, N.H. (April 18, 2002)& ...

Harrison, Renfrew, Shackford head Raybestos Rookies in Busch North Series opener at Lee USA Speedway, Sunday, April 21.

LEE, N.H. (April 18, 2002)– One week prior to the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring season opener at Lee USA Speedway on Sunday, April 21, three drivers have indicated their intention to seek the 2002 Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year award. Robbie Harrison of Scarborough, Me., Jimmy Renfrew of Hooksett, N.H., and Gary Shackford of Center Conway, N.H. are the first to file rookie applications, with others expected to follow.

Raybestos Brakes, the Official Brakes of NASCAR, awards $1,000 to the leading registered Raybestos Rookie finisher in each of the 19 Busch North Series events. At the conclusion of the season, the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year receives a check for $5,000, and the runner-up picks up $2,000.

Drivers who have made the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year award a stepping stone to success in the Busch North Series and beyond include Ricky Craven, Andy Santerre, Jerry Marquis, Brad Leighton, Tracy Gordon, and Mike Johnson. Brian Hoar edged Joey McCarthy for the 2001 title.

Robbie Harrison is the only driver among the currently-registered rookie trio with Busch North Series experience. He competed at his hometown track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, last September, recording a ninth place finish, which was higher than any 2001 rookie in the field. At age 26, Harrison is a nine-year veteran at Beech Ridge and last year won two races in the track’s NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge feature division, the late model sportsmen. Harrison will tackle the 2002 Busch North Series season in the number 23 Lux Enterprises Chevrolet owned by Maine businessman Mike Lux.

Jimmy Renfrew gets the advantage of starting his Busch North Series career at his home track. Renfrew, 23, has been racing since 1997, primarily in New Hampshire but with trips as far afield as Thompson, Conn. Last year he was the leading winner in the street stock division at Lee USA Speedway and finished third in points. His Chevrolet will carry the number 00 familiar to Lee USA fans.

Gary Shackford, 33, is returning to driving after a ten year absence, but he has been a fixture on the Busch North Series in recent years as the truck driver for series front-runner Dale Shaw. Shackford’s driving record from 1985 to 1991 was impressive, including two consecutive limited sportsman championships at Oxford Plains Speedway, and Oxford’s 1990 Driver of the Year award. Shackford’s number 66 Chevy Monte Carlo was previously driven by Randy LaJoie in the Busch Series, Grand National Division, and by Louie Mechalides in Busch North competition.

The Busch North Series, the premier NASCAR Touring series in the Northeast for full-bodied stock cars, enters its 16th season with a schedule covering short tracks, superspeedways, and road courses in eight states, with over $2,000,000 in posted awards, not including post-season and point fund awards. Seven races will be televised nationally by SPEED Channel, and four will take place in conjunction with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Since its inception in 1987, the Busch North Series has been sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. through its Busch beer brand.


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Drivers Mike Johnson