* Sean Caisse Wins NASCAR Busch East Series Buckeye State Inaugural * Three-Car Chase Over Final 75 Laps Features Challenges From Kobyluck, Logano * Two Superspeedway Races To Determine 2007 Championship; Showdown On...
* Sean Caisse Wins NASCAR Busch East Series Buckeye State Inaugural
* Three-Car Chase Over Final 75 Laps Features Challenges From Kobyluck, Logano
* Two Superspeedway Races To Determine 2007 Championship; Showdown On Horizon
MANSFIELD, Ohio (Aug. 28, 2007) - The see-saw NASCAR Busch East Series season for 21-year-old Sean Caisse of Pelham, N.H., took another upswing Saturday in Mansfield, Ohio. In the series' inaugural Ohio appearance, Caisse drove the No. 44 Casella Waste Systems Chevrolet to his third win of the season in the Mansfield 150 at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Through the 11th race of the season, Caisse has either finished in the top five (six times), or outside the top-15.
Although Caisse won the Busch Pole Award and dominated the race in leading 138 of 150 laps, he had to withstand the constant pressure from the previous week's winner, Matt Kobyluck, in the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet right through the race's final restart with three laps remaining. Kobyluck finished a close second with series point leader Joey Logano (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet) right behind.
"Matt ran me clean and he ran me hard," Caisse said. "You've got to expect that from me and Matt. My respect level for him is just huge.
"You've got to do your own thing, run your own race, and let the cards fall. If you need to give a spot back, give a spot back. If you play games on a restart, you're going to get beat."
With nine caution periods dotting the 150 laps and fourth-place starter Kobyluck omnipresent, the two shared plenty of give and take. The duo exchanged the lead four times, and restarted side-by-side five times.
"The restarts are frustrating but this is a short track and you have to expect it," Caisse said. "You have to be mentally prepared and know you're going to have to battle on restarts and possibly get beat. You just hope you don't get beat on the one that counts."
Kobyluck said he left nothing on the table in being a constant threat to Caisse's lead.
"I ran as hard as I could from the drop of the green flag to the very last lap," Kobyluck said. "I had nothing left and I don't think Sean or Joey did either.
"I was thrilled to see a restart with three laps to go because I was on the outside for the restart. You could really get wound up on the high side and get a good run. I figured I had a chance to get him."
Kobyluck's final surge ended a couple of car lengths short, but he said he enjoyed the competition.
"It was fun racing with them, Kobyluck said. "We did a lot of side-by side racing between us. We all came out of here with top-three finishes and clean race cars. It was good, clean short-track racing."
Logano was not unhappy with a third-place finish after his 23rd place cost him 92 of his 188 point lead over Kobyluck at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park in the previous week's race. He departed Ohio with an 82-point lead.
"We ran hard and clean," Logano said of his battle to retake second place from Kobyluck, who had grabbed the number two spot midway through the 150-lap, 75-mile event. "We beat the fenders, but that's racing, especially at Mansfield where it's so hard to pass.
"I think I was better than Matt on long runs and he was better than me on short runs. The restarts? It depended on what position you were in. I think the high line was kind of preferred unless you were restarting on the front row."
Jerry Marquis finished fourth for his best showing since joining the No. 35 Waste Management/Recycle America Chevrolet team four races ago. Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet) finished fifth for the second-consecutive week. It was his third top-five finish in the four most recent races.
Completing the top 10 were Marc Davis, Peyton Sellers, Jamie Hayes, Bryon Chew and Belgian Max Dumarey, who posted his first top 10 this season. Dumarey, Hayes, Davis and Logano are all NASCAR Busch East Series rookies this year.
Logano leads Kobyluck, Caisse, Sellers and defending series champion Mike Olsen in the race for the 2007 title with 11 of 13 events complete.
Two races remain on the regular season NASCAR Busch East Series schedule, both on superspeedways. On Sept. 14, New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H., hosts the Aubuchon Hardware 125 presented by HardwareStore.com. The season finale will be hosted by Dover (Del.) International Speedway's Sunoco 150 on Sept. 21.
The prestigious postseason NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown for the NASCAR Grand National Division East and West series is set for Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Oct. 20.