Marquis followed Olsen and Caisse to the checkered flag, while Tracy Gordon finished fourth in his first BES start of the season. Eddie MacDonald was disqualified in post-race technical inspection from his fifth-place finish (stay tuned for more on MacDonald in Busch East Leftovers later in the week on Speed51.com), moving Brian Hoar into the top five.
The Busch East Series is back in action on July 29th when it invades Adirondack International Speedway (NY).
MIKE OLSEN WINS ONE FOR "STUB" By Matt Kentfield
Emotional BES Veteran Bests Caisse on Last Lap
When Mike Olsen began his NASCAR Busch East Series career 18 years ago, he was a youngster just trying to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in the series. He hoped to one day win races on the series, but most of all he was the kid under the wing of Northeastern racing legend Stanley “Stub” Fadden.
The 60-something Fadden was still racing in the same series when his grandson was getting his feet wet in the series, but before long it was time for Fadden to hang up the helmet and put his full support behind Olsen. In the years since, Fadden has played an integral part of Olsen’s development as a force in the BES, leading him to the 2001 championship in what was then known as the NASCAR Busch North Series.
In the summer of 2005, Stub Fadden suffered a stroke. His grandfather’s health problems weighed heavily on Olsen throughout the 2005 season. When the new Busch East Series went back to Fadden’s and Olsen’s home state of New Hampshire on Saturday, Olsen gave his grandfather the ultimate get-well and thank-you gift at the same time by winning his first-ever race at New Hampshire International Speedway with a thrilling last-corner pass of Sean Caisse Friday afternoon.
An emotional Olsen dedicated the win to his grandfather in Victory Lane. Even though Fadden couldn’t be there, because his health doesn’t allow him to travel too far from home, Olsen had a pretty good memento of his grandfather’s racing career with him as he crossed beneath the checkered flag.
In fact, Olsen was sitting inside that memento.
Mike Olsen emerges from his car as a first-time NHIS winner. (51 Photos)
“This was originally one of my grandfather’s cars,” said Olsen. “When I got Little Trees as a sponsorship back in 1995, I only had one car and I actually took this one from him. We rebuilt this one a few years ago, but it was one of his originally.
“That’s why I got pretty emotional once I got the checkers. I was really trying to keep my emotions in check. It was hard, that’s for sure.”
When Olsen and Fadden first raced together in the then-Busch North ranks, the series raced at their home-state tracks such as NHIS, Star Speedway, Lee USA Speedway and Monadnock Speedway during their season. In 2006, the NHIS “Magic Mile” is the only Granite State track on the schedule. Fittingly, it came down to Olsen and another New Hampshire driver for the victory.
Sean Caisse dominated most of the New England 125 at NHIS on Friday, but lapped cars allowed Olsen to catch up to Caisse. Just one week before at Lake Erie, the two battled for the victory with the veteran Olsen holding off the sophomore sensation Caisse. On Friday, Olsen steadily gained on Caisse, putting a bumper to him starting with five laps remaining. The two raced hard but on the final corner of the race, Olsen found the racing room that he needed.
“He couldn’t stay on the bottom. Depending on how hard he got into the corner, I could see how he couldn’t protect
the bottom. That last lap, I didn’t think there would be that big of a hole as I got. I floated in there and I was trying to time it right, because I didn’t want to go too quick. All of a sudden I saw the hole and I went in there.”
For Caisse, an ill-handling racecar and an incident with a lapped car just a few laps short of the finish cost him what could’ve been his third victory of the season.
“We were awesome the whole race, but we got into a lapped car a little bit on the backstretch and I think it bent up the right-front fender and that was hurting me in the center of the corner.
“I was trying to save my equipment all day, and I had built up a pretty good lead a bunch of times. I was just running about 70 percent and not trying to burn my stuff up too bad; apparently something happened with about 15 to go. I don’t know what happened, but something happened with the car that we weren’t as dominant as we were before. I don’t know if we just missed the setup or what, but still I’m just thrilled that we got another top-three finish and it was another great points run.”
Once Olsen caught Caisse with just a handful of laps remaining, the two played bumper tag each corner. Olsen reversed the roles that the two played at Lake Erie as this time it was Olsen that peppered Caisse’s bumper. The battle for the lead allowed Jerry Marquis to gain on the two front-runners to enter the fray over the final laps.
“They were battling pretty hard up there,” said Marquis. “Mike got through when Sean got up the racetrack and I just put it down there and raced to the finish with those guys. Our car got a little tight around halfway, but it really came around at the end of the race and I had fun racing with those guys.”
Jerry Marquis (#52) races inside Peyton Sellers (#31)
The two-straight Olsen-Caisse 1-2 finishes proved that the 2006 NASCAR Busch East Series championship will likely come down to the two Granite Staters.
“I’m kind of old,” said Olsen. “Sean’s young and has a bright future, and I’m kind of on the opposite end of that. We’ve raced each other pretty hard for two weeks in a row now.
An emotional Mike Olsen burns out to show his emotion after the race. (Ken Spring photo)
“Seeing the #61 Little Trees car coming is a scary sight,” said Caisse. “That thing is really yellow. I have a lot of respect for Mike. I’ve looked up to him for a long time, so I really enjoy racing with him.”
Fadden never had the opportunity to win at NHIS, but while he recovers at home elsewhere in New Hampshire, Olsen went out and won one for his grandfather.
“He misses working on the cars and coming to the track all the time,” said Olsen. “He comes over to White Mountain whenever he can to see my brother Todd race there weekly, but I wanted to dedicate this to him because he really helped me in my career.”
Sean Caisse (#44) led most of the race, but Olsen (#61) led the last corner when it counted.