ASM and Sean Caisse Overcome For Second-Place at Irwindale Driver and Team Wrap Up First Season Together With a Strong Performance CONCORD, NC (October 23, 2006) -- Most teams and drivers would be "down in the dumps" and think about throwing in...
ASM and Sean Caisse Overcome For Second-Place at Irwindale
Driver and Team Wrap Up First Season Together With a Strong Performance
CONCORD, NC (October 23, 2006) -- Most teams and drivers would be "down in the dumps" and think about throwing in the towel if they got involved in a second-lap crash and ruined one of their best and favorite cars. But that is what separates Sean Caisse and the Andy Santerre Motorsports team from most teams out there.
After Caisse was the innocent victim in a second-lap crash in Friday night's qualifying races for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in California, the team didn't hang their heads. Instantly, Caisse, Santerre and the entire team got to work on preparing their backup car for Saturday night's 150-lap feature.
The hard work paid off, as Caisse and the team picked up a second-place finish after battling for the lead late in the event.
"To take a backup car that had not run all year and that I had never sat my butt in all year just shows how strong of a team we are," said Caisse. "These last 10 laps were wild. Me and (eventual race winner) Matt (Kobyluck) were running side-by-side. We were running great. Then, me and Eric (Holmes) got together there on the last lap. Unfortunately, he chased it up the hill and got into the wall a little bit. I hate it for him because he raced me clean all night long and he should have gotten a top-three finish out of it, too. You don't like to see that happen when we are racing up there and we are all running good.
"It was a great run for us. I can't say enough about my team. With a Toyota pickup truck on the line, there isn't much I won't do to win a race, but I'm not going to flat wreck someone. I had a great time running with Matt, and it was an awesome run for us."
Friday, Caisse was the quickest car in both rounds of Grand National Division practice. He had to start in the back of the first 50-lap qualifying race on Friday night. On lap two, a big accident occurred near the front of the field. Caisse appeared to have the wreck cleared, but one of the cars involved came down across the track and turned the #44 Casella Waste Systems Chevrolet into the outside wall, destroying the car. That forced the team to the backup car.
Making the transformation from the primary car over to the backup even more interesting was the fact that the team's backup car was one that Caisse hadn't raced all year long. In fact, the backup car was one of the oldest in the ASM stable, a car nicknamed "Faith," which team owner Andy Santerre drove to numerous victories during his Busch East Series career. Before Saturday, Caisse had never even sat in the car before. The team never utilized it during the 2006 season.
"I have faith in 'Faith' now," added Caisse. "Faith was a good racecar. I know why Andy loves her so much. I just wish we would have had a little bit of more practice to get used to her."
Caisse wasted little time getting to the front of the field on Saturday night in the 150-lap feature. On lap 103, Caisse found himself second before taking the lead for the first time on lap 125. Caisse was one of three drivers that swapped the lead over the last 25 laps. Ultimately, Caisse wound up second behind his onetime rival Kobyluck.
"We were tight in the center and a little bit loose off. If we would have had one more adjustment, we could have been a winning car.
"Me and Matt have gone leaps and bounds over where we used to be. I gained a lot of respect for him tonight and I hope he did for me. I'm glad an East guy won it. It's great. We spent more money than we needed to this year, and I'm pretty sure he did, too.
"It's great to come out here and get a top-two finish. I finished fourth out there last year, so I guess we are improving each and every time out. All I can ask for is the opportunity to run up front and compete for the win. These races aren't easy. If they were easy, everyone would do it."