SANTERRE TO DRIVE IN '05? HOAR ADDS CREW & MORE by Mike Twist
Grizco Forms a Superteam - The Ripples are Felt Through the Garage
SANTERRE TO DEFEND CROWN AS DRIVER?
You can’t keep a good racer down. At least not for very long.
Andy Santerre has won the last three NASCAR Busch North Series championships and when he accepted a job with the Grizco Racing team as their team manager earlier this month, it looked like a fourth consecutive one might be something that he would not be able to go after. Instead, he would oversee the teams of Mike Stefanik and Brad Leighton.
However, Santerre told Speed 51 that when the Busch North Series hits the track for the first time of the 2005 season, the chances of him being in a Grizco car and not on the pit box are pretty good.
“It’s looking really good,” said Santerre. “Steve and Peg Griswold own the team and they were down in North Carolina a week ago. I asked Steve what we were going to do and if it looked like we’d be able to get a sponsor and he told me he’s working hard on it, but he wants me to run full-time. He told me to give him a week or two to put some things together and to give him a budget and he thinks that we will end up doing it regardless of sponsorship.
It looks like Santerre will be back where he belongs in 2005. (51 Photo)
Right now, we’re moving forward like I’ll be running full-time, Mike will run full-time and Brad will do six races.”
The Grizco operation might be the biggest “superteam” in short track racing this season. Their three drivers have a total of 13 NASCAR Touring titles between them and have won all but one Busch North championship since 1996.
“That’s pretty amazing to have three drivers who have won that many championships together and to have a crew member like Tom [Carey] who has also won Busch North races as a driver is pretty awesome really.”
GRIZCO CHANGES TRICKLE DOWN TO HOAR
With Santerre leading up Grizco Racing along with the team’s move to North Carolina and the hiring of Tom Carey as a key member of management, that left former co-crew chief Karl Osha on the market.
Brian Hoar saw an opportunity there and snatched up Osha for his #45 team.
Rock might be in jeopardy. Another question mark is the possibility of a Labor Day doubleheader with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Rumors of the event were strong before Christmas, but now it appears that the race is far from a done deal.
Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl will probably host events, but neither track has confirmed that as of yet.
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) and Lee USA Speedway (NH) have also released their 2005 racing schedules and neither track has a Busch North race penciled in. However, it is possible that either facility might add a race in the event that the series schedule looks bare.
Without a Memorial Day weekend date at Lime Rock, it is likely that the Busch North season will not start until June 12th at Thompson as part of a Modified Tour doubleheader. The Modified portion of that event has been confirmed by NASCAR, but the Busch North portion remains officially unknown at this point.
“When Grizco moved their team south, it freed up a couple of individuals and one of them has come to work for us,” said Hoar. “Karl Osha has joined our team. We’ve known him and respected him for a long time. He’s a great guy and we’re pretty excited to have him on our team.”
Hoar’s family-owned team moved up to Busch North competition from the ACT ranks in 2001 and this latest move gives them an instant boost in experience.
“Karl is fantastic,” said Hoar. “He is so knowledgeable because he has been there and done that. My crew chief
[Neal Woodward] is going to learn a lot from him. They have been friends for years. Carl just started this week and the chemistry is all ready there.
SCHEDULE STILL NOT OUT, TWO TRACKS ANNOUNCE DATES
Without a formal schedule released yet from NASCAR, teams have been depending on individual tracks to announce their dates when it comes to piecing together an unofficial slate of 2005 events.
Stafford Motor Speedway (CT), Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) and Motor Mile Speedway (VA) have all announced their Busch North races for 2005. The companion events at New Hampshire International Speedway and Dover Downs Raceway are thought to be pretty set in stone as well.
Hoar (#45) races with the #47 of Kelly Moore at New Hampshire. (51 Photo)
It's not clear at this point whether or not the nose-to-tail Busch North racing at Lime Rock will fit into the schedule or not this year.
In the past week, two New York tracks have also announced their Busch North races for 2005. Holland International Speedway will hold a 150-lap race on June 25th and Adirondack International Raceway will host the Busch North teams on July 30th.
These announcements bring a total of eight semi-confirmed events to the schedule for the coming year.
Lime Rock Park had announced a Memorial Day event and it was thought that a second date in the fall would be likely as well, but Speed 51 has heard that any event at Lime