Health-wise, we’re in pretty good shape. If we were able to race this weekend at Lime Rock, we would definitely be there.”
“There were two to go and I had been running behind him (Chew) for a couple of laps, just waiting for him to make a mistake. He made a mistake and tried to go to the outside of Mike Johnson and I capitalized on it. I got underneath him and we got side-by-side and came together. I got out of the gas to let him gather it up, but when I drove into the next corner I didn’t realize that I had a right-front flat, so I pretty much put it in the wall from there.”
MCRAE PROVES THE NAYSAYERS WRONG
For two years, Barney McRae has had to listen to everyone talk about the performances of Sean Caisse and John Freeman behind the wheel of his equipment. He’s had to hear them talk about how Barney could never pull it off himself. This week, he proved them all wrong with a sixth place finish at Dover – his best finish since 2001.
BUSCH EAST LEFTOVERS: DOVER By Penny Aicardi& Matthew Dillner
Caisse's Title Bid Dampened, Seaman's Scary Ride & More
CAISSE OUT OF CHASE?
Sean Caisse had a mechanical failure at Dover International Speedway that just might have ended his bid for the season title. At lap 115, Caisse slammed the wall when a bolt that connects the A-frame to the chassis broke off.
“I was running it real hard. The car was on the tight side all day, and I don’t know if we had a shot at winning or not, but I was saving my stuff there for the end. I drove it into one and two hard on top and all of a sudden something let go in the front end. Apparently, on the upper A frame there’s supposed to be steel slugs in there and one of them was aluminum. It was starting to pivot its way out, and it wound up breaking. We went up and tagged the wall, and then all of a sudden something broke. Going into turn three and four, the car didn’t turn at all, and the A-frame actually disconnected from the chassis on the right front.”
Caisse ended the event with a 22nd place finish while Olsen posted his career-best finish at the ‘Monster Mile’
Caisse's crew pushes the #44 behind the wall at Dover. (51 Photo)
with fifth. Olsen’s championship bid is not sealed yet, but he takes a strong advantage into Lime Rock Park this weekend.
“It’s still mine to lose,” said Olsen. “We’re not celebrating yet. All it takes is a broken transmission or something out of our control, like what happened to Sean this weekend, to ruin everything for us. I hated to see that happen to Sean (at Dover). He’s a strong competitor, and things just didn’t go his way today. We’ve all had those days as drivers. His just came at a bad time.”
PARK AT LIME ROCK?
It’s been a while since Dover’s runner-up finisher Steve Park has been behind the wheel of a Busch East Series car, but he had so much fun at Dover, that rumor has it he plans on doing it again at Lime Rock Park. It’s a lot different in the Busch East since Park last ran in 1996, but it didn’t take him long to adjust and continue just where he left off – out front.
“When I ran the series, it was the Oldsmobile days and they were just going to the Monte Carlo’s. The cars were a lot different than they were down south. Now, the guys are getting their cars from down there and they are getting their bodies done with the technology that some of the guys have down south,” he said. “But you know, I think it’s the new face of NASCAR. You’ve got these young guys coming up and racing the wheels off of these cars.”
Park ran an entry fielded by NDS Motorsports, which coincidentally stands for “Not Down South”. Park will again compete in a car fielded by car owners Bob Torriere and Steve Hibbard as a teammate to Brad Leighton at Lime Rock Park this weekend.
MACDONALD STILL UNDER WATCHFUL EYE
Eddie MacDonald, who was suspended for two races following the NHIS event in July, posted an 11th place finish at Dover International Speedway, and like the week before, passed inspection with flying colors. NASCAR readmitted the driver to competition two weeks ago with the expectation that he complete technical inspection no matter where he finished. NASCAR again put the team through the rigorous process, typically reserved for the top-five finishers, at Dover. MacDonald’s No. 48 machine was there with a flat rear and all.
“We had a problem with the right front so we had to come in and we lost three laps doing that,” MacDonald said of his race. “We got two of the three laps back. The car was awesome, but on the very last lap we lost a left rear tire. We just can’t get a break this year.”
ROUGH DOVER DEBUT FOR CHALEW
Charles Lewandoski saw his race at Dover International Speedway going quite a bit different than the way it actually did this past weekend. Even though the 21-year-old driver had never been to the high banked one-mile concrete track, he had gotten plenty of setup and driver tips from some of the best racing minds in the business. With a fast racecar, comfort inside of it and some strong advice fresh in his mind, Lewandoski was focused on making his mark on Dover.
But he never imagined things going the way they did. Everything seemed fine when he hit the track for practice Thursday afternoon, but within a few laps, an unexpected and atypical mishap beneath the hood of the #01 Chevrolet forced Lewandoski to seek a backup plan for his first Dover start.
Lewandoski called upon friend and four-time BES champion Andy Santerre, for help and ended up starting the Andy Santerre Motorsports backup car, renumbered #01.
“It was really a weird deal. We have one of the strongest motor programs in the series. Until the spec motor came out, we’ve never been out-motored at the racetrack since day one. I’ve never had a motor problem with our motors all the way back to my Late Model days. We were trying to get ahead for 2007, so we made a business decision to sell our backup motor earlier in the week, so we were without a backup at Dover. It’s too bad because I got a lot of help at the racetrack from drivers and crew members so I knew what I needed to do well there.
“I do really appreciate Andy letting me run his backup car at Dover. He has always been one of my biggest supporters and he’s always been there for me, so I really appreciated him letting me run his car.”
Lewandoski was credited with 30th and remains eighth in the BES points standings with one race remaining.
SEAMAN OKAY AFTER WILD RIDE
It was a close call for Ryan Seaman Friday evening when his car slammed into the wall before catching fire and coming to a halt. The driver had to be assisted at the scene and checked out by medical personnel.
The accident occurred after contact with Bryon Chew the lap before.
“It’s unfortunate that we got into Ryan (Seaman)," said Chew. "The 96 car (Mike Johnson) just stopped in front of me and moved up the groove. Here I am, and I’m supposed to go around him. My spotter said down low, but by that time, I had already had contact with Ryan."
Lewandoski's #01 pre-blown motor. (Hodge Photo)
Ryan Seaman's bent and burned racecar. (51 Photo)
The contact caused a flat tire on Seaman’s #06 ERS Motorsports Chevrolet that sent him slamming into the retaining wall in the next corner and bursting into flames. Seaman got out on just adrenaline, but gave the fans a scare when he fell to the ground next to the car. After a short trip to a local hospital, Seaman was released with nothing but a sore back and a bent-up racecar.
“Everything’s good to go,” said Seaman. “I had a little bit of minor back pain, but everything else is fine. I’m walkingaround fine and I’m ready to get back to work. The car’s all unloaded and we surveyed the damage and it’s not as bad as we thought it was going to be.
Steve Park gave Tim Andrews a congratulatory Gatorade shower in victory lane. (Howie Hodge Photo)
“I never gave myself the same kind of equipment that I gave Sean and John. We got the best transmission we could have for this particular kind of racetrack and I’ve got the good motor. I bought the racecar from Andy Santerre so it’s great,” McRae said. “I’ve raced here twelve times and I never came here with anything that was competitive. We’re very, very happy. I got to show off that I can do this.”
Despite his solid performance, McRae was still more intent on talking about the achievements of the drivers that he worked with.
“Three weeks ago, we found out that John (Freeman) was going to go on to this other deal, and I’m really happy for him. It’s a great team and everything. It’s similar to the thing with Sean – they’ve got more depth than I have. Both of them (Caisse and Freeman) were on the front row so I couldn’t have been prouder.”
Ironically, McRae finished better than both his protégé’s at Dover.
FREEMAN HAS SOLID RUN GO AWRY
Since John Freeman joined with the Fitz-Bradshaw team last week at New Hampshire International Speedway, everyone involved with the series has taken notice of Freeman's abilities. Unfortunately, Freeman doesn't have the finishes at NHIS and Dover to show for it. Again at Dover Freeman had a fast racecar and was racing up front, but a late-race incident forced the #22 Dodge into the wall with heavy impact, relegating the young driver to a 23rd-place finish.
Barney McRae (#5) proved he can still get the job done at Dover. (Hodge Photo)
Freeman took a hard hit with his #22, as Matt Kobyluck (#40) and Ryan Seaman (#06) just sneak by. (Hodge Photo)
“We sat on the outside pole and had an awesome car all race long,” said Freeman. “We just rode around in third and could just catch them at a whim. We were trying to conserve tires so we could be there at the end. We got behind when we got caught speeding in the pits. It’s the big topic in NASCAR on any level right now. I followed a guy all the way dead on his bumper all the way out. We got caught speeding, but then we came back from it and were just breezing through the field. We were going to have an incredible car for the end.”
“We just had a restart and had a great run coming up through the field. I was passing Kobyluck and I was told ‘clear’ and started moving up (to get back in the groove). I guess he had gained some momentum up high coming
out of turn four and got a bumper on the outside of me. We came up and Kobyluck stayed in it. We got turned around and put in the wall. It was a pretty hard hit."
Despite the hard impact, Freeman is thankful for his optimistic.
“Ron Otto and these guys just did an amazing job with this car and I can’t say enough about that and these guys putting it back together from last week. I was happy to be able to put this car up front for them. This was the car we ran in New Hampshire and it they turned it around real quick to get it here. The car had some major damage on it from new Hampshire and turned it around and came up here and we almost had a win. I just can’t say enough about these FitzBradshaw guys. I wish we could have put the car where it deserved to be today because these guys deserved a victory lane celebration.”
GORDON INCHING CLOSER TO GOAL
Tracy Gordon hasn’t made it a secret that he would like to compete at the 4th annual Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway next month. In order to do that, however, he first has to get to the top-15 in points. His tenth place finish at Dover last week helped him inch closer to that goal, but even he would admit that a top-five might have sealed the deal for him.
Following the red flag at Dover, Gordon’s car would not start. He had to relinquish a top-five spot to go behind the wall for fuel, and as a result had to settle with a tenth place finish just three laps later.
“I don’t know if I ran out of gas or if just sitting on the incline like that caused it to run over. We weren’t real great all day, but we were a top-five car. I was thinking maybe I could get a top-three here when the race started. I couldn’t believe it when (the car) stalled. I was thinking to myself ‘hey, wait a minute here, what did I just do?’ Hopefully, we’ll get enough points to get us to Irwindale.”
Currently, Gordon is 17th with 1004 points. Scott Bouley holds on to 15th with 1048 points with only one race remaining.
Tracy Gordon (#33) races with Eddie MacDonald (#48) at Dover. (Hodge Photo)
FATHER AND SON MOMENT A SPECIAL ONE FOR KYLE PETTY
While the Gatorade flew in victory lane, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty stood on his golf cart watching the Andrews family celebrate their special moment. He watched with a smile as Paul Andrews, who works for Petty Enterprises, shared his son’s first major win in racing. You could see it in Kyle’s face that he enjoyed watching Paul celebrate with his son, much like he did with his late son Adam, who passed away in a crash at New Hampshire International Speedway in the spring of 2000.
“It’s Incredible,” said Petty while watching the Andrews family taking victory lane pictures. “Adam won at Charlotte and that is one of the fondest memories I have of Adam. It’s just like that. There were a hodgepodge bunch of guys helped him (Adam) work on the car. Paul and Tim work on the car themselves but when they come to the racetrack they use guys off of our team, guys off of the #4 Busch car that Tim works for, guys off of the #43 and everywhere. To hodgepodge and put a group of people together to win a race is huge. For Paul and that crowd it is just amazing.
“I am standing here just about to cry when I saw them hug because I remembered me and Adam.”