MOORE WINS GOOD, CLEAN SHORT TRACK BATTLE by Mike Twist
Santerre Stays on His Bumper Most of the Race
Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway (CT), Kelly Moore and Andy Santerre showed that it is possible to have a good wheel-to-wheel, nose-to-tail short track battle without bumping and running or blocking and chopping down on your competitor. The Maine duo of drivers battled to the lead throughout the Busch North Series race at the facility and treated fans in attendance to some good, clean racing fun. At the end of the night, it was Moore standing in victory lane with point leader
Santerre finishing second.
"That's the way that we're supposed to race out there," said Moore. "We're not supposed to beat each other up. We're supposed to drive around each other. You can't drive through a guy - that's just ruining the race. We raced side-by-side, passed each other twice and went inside and outside. This is the way racing is supposed to be."
Santerre popped the nose of his #6 car into the lead momentarily on lap 35 to spoil a wire-to-wire victory for Moore, who led from the start from the outside of the front row. Despite only leading one lap at the start-finish line, Santerre was in contention all night long and did inch ahead
ahead of Moore unofficially several times during the evening.
"It was a good race and Kelly had a perfect line," said Santerre. "If he'd have moved up another foot, I'd have gotten in there. He raced me clean and didn't tear the fenders of it. I threw everything I had at him. "
Speed 51 asked Santerre if it was tempting to lay a fender to Moore for the win.
"Oh yeah," laughed Santerre. "But it wouldn't have been right. Nobody is leaving here mad, so it was a good night."
Moore and Santerre got to their finishing positions by taking different paths. Moore ran the entire 150 laps on the same set of tires, while Santerre was one of many drivers to pit for new rubber during a lap 86 caution.
On the surface, it might appear that the call of whether or not to pit
for tires was the key factor to the race and that may have been true for many competitors when it came to their finishing positions. However, the battle for the win probably was not decided on pit road. Santerre was close behind Moore for the first half of the race on equal tires, and ended the event close to his rear bumper on newer tires.
"We ran our tail off all night long," said Moore. "We elected not to
pit and that was the strategy from the get-go. We stuck with it and
The winningest driver in Busch North scored his first victory of 2004 at Stafford.
I just drove my tail off. The car wasn't perfect, but it was really good."
Santerre's pit decision was more of a gamble in a search for anything that could beat Moore.
"Kelly had a good car obviously and he led pretty much the whole race," said Santerre. "I hounded him for awhile and couldn't get by. I knew that we'd finish second unless we put tires on, so we made it a little for interesting for us and the fans. I figured that if we got tires, we might have a shot to win. But, it just wasn't meant to be. The tires were good for about 25 laps and they then they would go back to the way they were."
Andy Santerre talks to R.C. Moore, after finishing second. The eldest Moore shook Santerre's hand on the way to his son Kelly's victory lane celebration.
The victory was the record-extending 26th career Busch North win for Moore.
Matt Kobyluck was third and kept the leaders in his sights all night long. It is the second consecutive third place finish for Kobyluck, who is hoping to put some early season bad luck behind him and break into victory lane for the first time since 2002.
"This team is stout," Kobyluck said. "We can't keep running in the top five and not pull off some wins soon. Our day is going to come."
Mike Olsen finished fourth and solidified his runner-up status
in the point standings, while Dale Quarterley took home the fifth place finish based on his decision not to pit for tires. Speed 51 will have more from both drivers later this week in our Busch North Leftovers.
The Busch North Series next heads to the Holland Speedway (NY) on Saturday, June 26th for their first trip outside New England in 2004.
The race started in the daylight and ended under the lights, Matt Kobyluck tapes his windshield to cut down on glare from the sunset.