Elko, Minn. - Just 21 years old, Sean Caisse is reluctant to admit he's a "veteran." But in his third season in the NASCAR Busch East Series, and with an influx of teenagers joining the ranks, Caisse has begun to show the patience and poise that...
Elko, Minn. - Just 21 years old, Sean Caisse is reluctant to admit he's a "veteran."
But in his third season in the NASCAR Busch East Series, and with an influx of teenagers joining the ranks, Caisse has begun to show the patience and poise that he hopes will carry him to the championship.
Friday night was a prime example, as Caisse had enough left in his car and tires to pull away from the rest of the Grand National Division field on a green-white-checkered finish and win the historic Minnesota 150 at Elko Speedway.
"I actually saved my stuff for the first time in a while," Caisse said.
The race marked the first time that the West Series and Busch East Series ran in the same event with points on the line.
The win earned Caisse a spot in the postseason Toyota All-Star Showdown in October. Prior to Friday's race, the two Grand National series had only met in that annual non-points event.
While rookies dominated qualifying, taking seven of the top 10 spots, it was the veterans that ended up front in the end. Longtime Busch East driver Bryon Chew and West Series points leader Mike David finished second and third respectively. Chew started 23rd and David started 18th.
"I tried to avoid the accidents and put myself in position to win," Chew said. "I felt I got myself in position on that last lap, but Sean restarted a little better."
Caisse started on the pole Friday and after swapping the lead several times with Mike Olsen, led the final 52 laps. He weathered three cautions in the final third of the race, which went 156 laps because of the final yellow flag.
"Our car was really good on long runs," Caisse said. "The restarts were really tough on the bottom, but it worked out for us."
Rogelio Lopez was the highest finishing rookie in fourth and Olsen ended up fifth.
Peyton Sellers recovered from a mid-race spin to finish sixth, while Jesus Hernandez, Justin Lofton, Eric Hardin, and Michelle Theriault rounded out the top 10.
David and Lofton were the only West Series drivers in the top 10, as the Busch East took 12 of the top 14 spots. Drivers received points, though, based on their finish in relation to the other drivers in their series.
Joey Logano, who won the first two Grand National events he ran in, was involved in a lap 144 spin with West Series driver Brian Ickler while battling for second. The caution caused the green-white-checkered finish. Logano finished 19th and Ickler, who had qualified second, ended up 20th.
Forty-six cars attempted to qualify for the 30-car field. The Grand National Division will run a combination race again Sunday, at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.