absolutely perfect. It got a little tight there in the middle of the race but at the end after we got the red flag she came right back to me. We ran a 20-flat with just a couple of laps to go which is only a couple of tenths off of where we qualified.
“Our strategy of not-pitting was definitely the right one to make because we didn’t fall off. We are a real strong team and we are only going to get better. We still have room for improvement and that speaks for itself.
“We are going to go out there and not play any games and hopefully nobody plays any games with us. We are going to keep the nose clean and the fenders on it and run as good as I can.
“When we roll out that good it makes my job a lot easier. Our spirits were up and we were focused. That is what happens when you are prepared and we were today and will be every week.”
And after Stafford, the Busch Series now realizes that they have to be prepared themselves to battle week in and week out with Santerre’s star pupil. The tour will now head to Holland International Speedway for this Saturday’s event at the Upstate New York bullring.
LESSONS LEARNED LEAD TO ANOTHER WIN FOR CAISSE By Matthew Dillner
ASM Team Now Two-For-Two in Busch East Series
Sean Caisse is looking to make a name for himself in the NASCAR Busch East Series. Entering his second season, the talented young driver is already known for being able to mash the gas and charge hard.
His sophomore year is already different in many ways though for Caisse. He is fighting through a reputation of being a brash young racer. He is learning valuable lessons on the track and most importantly he is learning how to be a winner in a major touring series.
Caisse’s first weekend on the job with Andy Santerre Motorsports proved successful when he stole his first career Busch East win in the season opener at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) in dramatic fashion. The win, be it impressive, was overshadowed somewhat by post race incidents and harsh criticisms of rough racing on the racetrack.
Matt Kobyluck (L) and Andy Santerre (M) offer some advice to Sean Caisse (R) before the Stafford race... (51 Photo)
“I’m embarrassed to say that he’s going to race like that in this Busch East Series,” said Matt Kobyluck moments after finishing fourth at Greenville. “You can’t race like that and put on a good show for TV and the fans. You can’t wreck somebody to win a race and feel good about it.”
With Greenville’s win and controversy in his rear view mirror, Caisse’s learning process took a major step at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on Friday.
Early in the day Caisse, Santerre and Kobyluck had a chat session. Both veterans discussed on track discipline and composure and Caisse listened. All of that listening, and then the application of those lessons led to another victory for Caisse and the ASM Team.
And how apropos was it that the man he had to beat to score the win at Stafford, was Kobyluck himself. The two drivers ran several laps door to door with Caisse coming out the victor. But more importantly Caisse gained a lot of respect from his competitors.
“He did everything he needed to do tonight,” said Kobyluck. “He earned that win and he did it with style.”
Caisse was pretty excited about his first win and happy that it happened the way it did.
“Matt told me a few things that he saw that I might have done wrong,” said Caisse of his pre-race discussion with Kobyluck. “We are professional drivers and nobody should be getting into the side of anybody out there. Whether it’s a mistake or not we should be good enough to where these things start to happen.”
“We talked about certain circumstances that happened
last week at Greenville,” added Kobyluck. “I expressed to him what we expect moving forward and being able to run door to door and not be driving into or through one another like happened last week. I was very happy with the outcome tonight. He ran a great race and we ran door to door a lot. Neither one of us made any contact with each other. We had very mild amounts of rubbin’ so it was a lot of fun racing tonight.
“When you get side by side racing like that and you can just wheel it and you know there is no beatin’ and bangin’ and you are giving each other room…that is fun racing. I think he learned a lot tonight about how you can run side by side with someone and not make contact and still have a blast out there and still come away with the victory.”
“As you saw tonight looking through the field and up front it was pretty clean,” said Caisse. “Hopefully we put on a real good show for the fans. We brought our car home in one piece and are going to be able to work on setups this week and that is the way it should be. I am just happy that we had that talk. It wasn’t a two-faced deal where he told me one thing and on the track was totally different. Everything he said in our talk and the way he said he was going to run me, he did. I respect that and hopefully he respects the same. I think in respecting him and showing him that I can gain some respect from everybody because they will see how I ran Matt and know that I will run them the same way.”
Kobyluck led for much of the race but knew his win was in jeopardy after Mike Johnson’s hard crash in turn-one brought out a red flag. The incident created an oily mess that had to be cleaned up by the Stafford track crew. After a lengthy red flag, the cars were set to take the green flag. That is when Kobyluck knew he was in trouble.
“On that last restart I was calling to the tower saying we needed another lap or two to get more of the speedy dry off the track,” said a disappointed Kobyluck. “It was all over down in the bottom groove where I was and I knew
Caisse (#44) and Kobyluck battle for the victory. (Jim DuPont Photo)
coming out of turn one (on the restart) he was going to get a run on me because I couldn’t get back in the throttle.”
The race came down to a restart duel and Kobyluck’s prediction was correct. Caisse sent his #44 into the first-turn hard and came out of the next turn on top.
“Sean did what he had to do and ran a great race. He took advantage of a situation. I would have been licking my chops if I was starting on the outside on that restart as well.
“If our races are going to come down to double-file restarts like that and the leader is going to be at a disadvantage like that, they need to do a better job cleaning up the speedy dry. That is what played in the outcome of the race today.”
“My approach for that last restart was simple,” said Caisse. “I wanted to drive it in there as hard as I can and drive it out as hard as I can.”
Just before the green flag Sean asked himself, “How hard can you drive into it? When I looked under pace laps the outside lane going in to the turn was clear. So I could drive it in just as hard as I had been all race. So I didn’t have any fear getting into the corner. My biggest fear was coming off. I didn’t know where that cross-over was. Once you cross that over and you are on 75-80% throttle you are going to get yourself loose.
“It was a little more slick on the bottom and hard to keep it down when you are already tight and sliding your front end anyway. At least I had room to chase it up a little bit. He was on the bottom trying to respect me and hold it down on the bottom without getting in to me.
Caisse stands in victory lane for the second race in a row. (Jim DuPont Photo)
“My biggest thing was for me to get that lead off of two. That was my only shot and we did it.”
Caisse and his new team are certainly getting it done. The combination, which some observers doubted going into the Busch East season, is now proving everyone wrong.
“I guess there was some poll that asked who the toughest car would be to beat this year and we weren’t even in the top-five,” said Caisse. “I think if anyone would take a poll again right now we would be in that top-five.”
Coming out of the gates like they have, there is no doubt in the Busch East world that this is the team to beat right now. And the scary thing is, Caisse seems to think they will only get better as the new team continues to gel.
“I’m pretty pumped up right now,” said Caisse reflecting on the win. “I am sitting here right now thinking and I am very proud of this team and all the effort that has been put forth. To sit here and say that we have won the first two races is remarkable. It just doesn’t happen to everybody. I can’t sit here though and say that I am this awesome racecar driver though because this car was
...and they met up again, this time in victory lane after Caisse won and Kobyluck finished second. (51 Photo)