"It does a little bit," he admitted.  "Although I hate to jinx myself.  It is early, but I've got a good car and a good crew.  If we can keep it up, we'll be in good shape later this season."


Olsen Gets Ready for Run at Title, Mod Men Head to Stafford and More

Mike Olsen ran with leaders Kelly Moore and Andy Santerre during the first half of the Aubuchon 150 Busch North race at the Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on Friday night.  Just past the halfway mark, he was faced with the decision of whether to pit for tires or stay out for track position.  The New Hampshire short tracker elected to bolt up four new tires and try to make his way to the front after that. He finished the race in the fourth position.
"We lost the brakes - they got hot and I got under the #45 (Brian Hoar) and had no brakes at all," said Penfold.  "I went it, couldn't slow down and I had to follow it up the track.  He gave me plenty of room and we didn't even touch.  I when over and thanked him after the race for giving me room."

Ironically, Penfold scored his best finish of the season, a fourth at Lime Rock, after injuring his foot working at his family's bus company a few days before the race.

"I can't keep doing this hurt because it's a battle," Penfold said.  "My arm was killing me, the brakes were gone and
"It was the right call," said Olsen.  "You can always second guess it later and say I should have, could have, would have.  I thought that I had something for them and right at the end I tried to go a little harder and I just kept slipping up.  I might have used my tires up coming through traffic.

"it's a big thing to keep finishing in the top five and to let things fall when they will,"  said Olsen.

Olsen is now sitting second in the Busch North point standings.  Speed 51 asked Olsen if the start to his season felt anything like the start of the 2001 season where he won the series championship.
Mike Olsen is sitting right behind Andy Santerre in the point standings. (51 Photo)

Bill Penfold was racing hurt at Stafford.  He injured his hand in last weekend's DNK 250 heat races at the Unity Speedway (ME).  Penfold did not qualify at Unity in his Pro Stock and nursed his sore hand at Stafford.  That wasn't his only challenge in posting a seventh-place finish.
Charles Lewandoski buckles up for a night under the lights at Stafford in his Busch North car.  (Ken Spring Photo)
On the opposite end of the experience spectrum from Olsen was 19-year-old Charles Lewandoski - who scored points with Speed 51 at Stafford for revealing that he is a regular visitor to the site.  Lewandoski entered his second career Busch North race Friday night and came away with a 18th-place finish.  More importantly, he also gained valuable experience.

"I wish that we could have finished better, but I need to get this learning curve out of the way first," said Lewandoski.  "Things overall are going good.  It's a solid effort, but I still need to get some seat

Since Stafford is his home track, Lewandoski was able to adapt a little bit quicker to running a Busch North car than expected.

"I feel so much more comfortable here," said Lewandoski.  "The learning process is cut in half over what it would be going to a new track. Plus we had a lot of friends, family and business associates out here.  Itwas a fun deal."

Joey McCarthy had run well through the early part of the season, but is going through each week unsure of how long his arrangement with STI Motorsports can make it to every race on the schedule.  The driver and team joined forces a few short weeks before the start of the season and
have run well with the odds against them.

At Stafford, they had a good qualifying run but dropped out early due to engine failure.

"Before the race even started something in the motor broke," said McCarthy.  "We're going to have to go back and evaluate what happened and try to not let it happen again.  We had a great racecar and the guys worked really hard.  It's too bad we couldn't show that - I hate to waste a good racecar."

The next race on the schedule is a special one for McCarthy since he scored his first career Busch North victory at Holland when the series visited the New York track last summer.  However, even that fact doesn't help cushion the sting of recent bad luck for McCarthy.

"We're going to try to go to Holland," McCarthy said.  "You never know, but for the most part we are planning on it.  We've had a few bad weeks and not much can get me pumped up right now."
Without much to stop him, Penfold runs under Brian Hoar (#45).  (NASCAR Touring Photo)
sparks were coming up through the shifter boot.  I didn't even know if the car would hold together.  The adrenaline was keeping me going and the crew did a hell of a job.  Actually we had about a tenth place car and got to finish seventh without a mark.  That makes it a good night.


Dale Quarterely pitted earlier than most drivers did to take on tires, but it really did not have much of an effect on his #32 car, which he drove to the fifth finishing position.

"We better in practice and made a few changes that hurt rather than helped," said Quarterley.  "The car didn't seem to drive as well, but it never slowed down.  I was going 20.7s in the beginning and were still
going 20.7s at the end.  It was a little more work, but it really never slowed down."

At first glance, it appears that Kelly Moore's NAPA Chevrolet is very similar is style to Michael Waltrip's machine in the Nextel Cup Series.  However, a closer look reveals a new addition to the paint scheme for 2004.  Under the NAPA logo on the quarter panel are the words, "of Maine", which reflect the regional sponsorship that Moore receives for his team.

"Those are the only people that seem to want to support the car this year,' said Moore who won at Stafford. 

Moore has had some form of NAPA on his car for five seasons.

It was an off weekend for the NASCAR Modified Series and Jerry Marquis took advantage of that fact to run the #52 car of Darling Motorsports at Stafford.

Marquis used pit strategy to make it all the way into the top five, but brake problems cost him a good finish at the end.  He ended up 12th in the race.

"This is the first time that this car has been out this year," said Marquis.  "We had a very low brake pedal.  I just couldn't abuse the car or pass cars like I wanted to at the end of the race.  We'll mark this
off as experience and hopefully have a better race next time."

Marquis was asked by Speed 51 about the changes in going from an open wheeled modified to a stock car.

"it's different," You have to allow for a little bit more room and some guys seem to use the fenders a little bit more and move people out of the way.  I try to avoid that.  These guys work hard enough with a
limited budget and limited crew and I wanted to let them work on the chassis rather than fixing the body after the race."


Marquis' spotter for Stafford was also enjoying a week of from the Modified Series.  Brian Crowley, a crew member on the #18 car of Donny Lia, served as a second set of eyes for Marquis in the 150-lap event.

A big logo doesn't mean that Kelly Moore's support isn't locally based. (Ken Spring Photo)