NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes - Adirondack * Lavender Getting It Done On Limited Resources Kobyluck Looking For * Second Straight Win At AIS Hot Streak Has Truex Leading Points Contenders Looking For Edge at Adirondack In its...
NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes - Adirondack
* Lavender Getting It Done On Limited Resources Kobyluck Looking For * Second Straight Win At AIS Hot Streak Has Truex Leading Points
Contenders Looking For Edge at Adirondack In its eight year history, The Edge Hotel 150 at Adirondack International Speedway has been a microcosm of the overall NASCAR Camping World Series East title picture.
In each of the last two seasons, the driver holding the race trophy at the end of the night at Adirondack has been the same as the one holding the big trophy at the postseason awards banquet. Last season, Matt Kobyluck's win provided the driver of the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet with the points lead that he would not relinquish en route to his first championship.
In fact, the eventual series champion has never finished worse than third at the half-mile oval located in the picturesque heart of upstate New York.
The race takes on an added importance in 2009, as the closest points battle in series history hurtles towards its conclusion in September. The running of the 8th Annual The Edge Hotel 150 presented by Casella Waste Management, Inc., represents the eighth of 11 races. When the drivers leave the track on Saturday night, just the road course at Connecticut's Lime Rock Park and the speedway events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway remain before a champion is crowned.
Rookie Ryan Truex (No. 00 NAPA Toyota) is the series' hottest driver with a pair of wins and a runner-up finish in his last three races. His victory in the most recent event, at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, allowed him to move to the top of the standings. He holds a slim nine-point lead over Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet).
Just 50 points separate Truex from fourth-place Kobyluck. The margin between first and sixth is only 93 points -- keeping third-place Jody Lavender (No. 88 JoJo Ent./Custom Race Chassis Chevrolet), fifth-place Brett Moffitt (No. 44 brettmoffitt.com Chevrolet) and Steve Park (No. 35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet) in the title hunt.
The Race: The Edge Hotel 150 pres. by Casella Waste Systems
The Place: Adirondack International Speedway, Lowville, N.Y.
The Date: Saturday, August 1
The Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, August 13, 3 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .5-mile asphalt oval Race Purse: $111,539
2008 Winner: Matt Kobyluck
2008 Polesitter: Bryon Chew Event
Practice, 12:15-1 p.m.; Final Practice, 1:30-2:15 p.m.; Qualifying, 4:15 p.m.
News & Notes The Race ... The Edge Hotel 150 presented by Casella Waste Systems at Adirondack International Speedway in Lowville, N.Y., is the eighth event in an 11-race schedule this year for the NASCAR Camping World Series East and the second of two trips to the Empire State in 2009. This year's edition will mark the eighth season in a row that Adirondack has played host to the NCWS East.
The Procedure ... The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (75 miles).
The Track ... Adirondack is a circular half-mile asphalt track. The NCWS East has competed at Adirondack every year since 2002, the track's first full season of competition.
Race Winners ... Andy Santerre - current crew chief and owner of the No. 44 Chevrolet - won the first NCWS East event at Adirondack in 2002 en route to the first of his four-consecutive championships. Matt Kobyluck won there in 2008 on the way to his first title as well. Kobyluck - with three wins at Adirondack - is the only driver to have multiple triumphs at the track.
Pole Winners ... Of the seven previous NCWS East events at Adirondack, qualifying has only been held four times, with no drivers earning more than one pole. Bryon Chew captured the Coors Light Pole Award last year and set the qualifying record at 109.296 mph.
Lavender Making The Most Out Of The Least There are NASCAR Sprint Cup Series development teams and there are independent teams. And then there is Jody Lavender.
The 30-year-old Hartsville, S.C., driver is in his second full season running in the NASCAR Camping World Series, but has a wealth of experience from making more than 20 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
He's making the most of this opportunity in the No. 88 JoJo Ent./Custom Race Chassis Chevrolet for James Burgess. Racing with extremely limited resources, Lavender has four top fives in seven starts and heads to Adirondack International Speedway this weekend just 26 points behind first-place Ryan Truex.
"We're running the season off a $200,000 budget," Lavender said. "It's definitely been a surprise to be able to take what we have to work with and be able to run as well as we have."
The team has just one full-time employee, crew chief Todd Graffam. Burgess makes the 70-mile commute to the race shop several times a week to help on the car, and is often seen at the track working alongside the team's volunteer crew.
"He's not a rich man -- he does this out of his pocket and for the love of the sport," Lavender said.
Lavender knows that with just four races remaining, every position is going to be crucial to his title hopes.
"Every race counts from here on out; you can't afford to throw away any of them," Lavender said. "On the flip side, I'm just proud of what we've been able to accomplish on a severely limited budget. Just to be up there and competing for a championship is amazing in itself.
"Regardless of what happens, I'm just proud of the guys and what they've accomplished."
Lavender was fifth last year at Adirondack despite arriving at the track with a setup that required major overhaul during practice. He qualified 17th and worked his way to the front.
"This year, I feel like we'll be able to unload a lot closer to where we need to be," Lavender said. "I actually feel pretty good about this weekend."
Last Year's Event In winning at Adirondack International Speedway for the third time, Matt Kobyluck showed the poise and experience that would carry him to his first NASCAR Camping World Series East title.
Kobyluck, who had previously won at the track in 2004 and 2005, led just once for three laps -- but they were the final three laps of the race.
Kobyluck's No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet ran third as Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon swapped the lead five times between laps 113 and 130. Kobyluck got by Dillon, the 18-year-old Richard Childress Racing development driver, to grab second on a lap 136 restart.
He then got the jump on Bayne, a 17-year-old Dale Earnhardt Inc. development driver, on a lap 148 restart. The race ended under caution following a multi-car accident in Turn 4 of the white-flag lap.
Bayne settled for second, while Dillon was originally credited with third. However, Dillon was moved to last place after post-race inspection found an issue with his shocks. Eddie MacDonald was moved up to third, with Jeffrey Earnhardt and Jody Lavender rounding out the top five.
Kobyluck's win and Dillon's penalty allowed Kobyluck to take over the points lead by 57 points over Bayne. Dillon dropped from first to third, 72 points behind Kobyluck.
Final Notes From Thompson Truex makes a statement ... Ryan Truex (No. 00 NAPA Toyota) continued his impressive rookie campaign with his second win of the season in the Pepsi Full Fender 100. The Mayetta, N.J., driver took the led twice for 23 laps, including the last five after passing Steve Park (No. 35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet). Truex's previous win came June 6 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. It also marked the fourth straight top 10 finish for the Michael Waltrip Racing development driver.
Points battle ... Truex's nine-point lead over Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet) is the slimmest margin between first and second since following the first race of the 2007 season. The last time the lead was under 10 points was following the sixth race of the 2005 season, at Adirondack International Speedway, when Mike Stefanik held a seven-point edge over Matt Kobyluck. Eventual champion Andy Santerre was third at the time, 30 points back of Stefanik.
More awards for Truex ... The victory at Thompson gave Truex his second Camping World Happy Camper Award, which is handed out to the race winner. He also earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award for the third time. Truex holds a four-point lead over Brett Moffitt (No. 44 brettmoffitt.com Chevrolet), who has also won the award in three races, in the season-long Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings.
Out front ... Steve Park won his first Coors Light Pole Award in the NASCAR Camping World Series East with a lap of 20.324 seconds (110.707 mph). The veteran driver has previously won the award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Park also led 76 of the 100 laps to claim the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award for the first time this season.
Moffitt improves ... Moffitt bounced back from an accident that left him 37th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to bring home a 10th-place finish at Thompson and earn the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award.
Moving through the field ... After qualifying 17th, Jesus Hernandez (No. 12 Chivas/Telmex/Z-Line Designs Dodge) moved up 10 spots to finish seventh and earn the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award.
Career day ... Ryan Duff (Pine Branch Coal/KPSales.com Chevrolet) tied his best career finish with his eighth-place run.
First timers ... Thompson marked the NASCAR Camping World Series East debuts for Sean Corr (The Trans Group Chevrolet), Derek Ramstrom (No. 53 Bollegraaf Chevrolet), and Corey LaJoie (No. 19 Bodine Bobsled Project Ford). Corr finished 16th. Ramstrom ended up 17th after being involved in an accident, and LaJoie's engine issues left him 19th. It was also the first oval race for road-course ace Eric Curran (No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Coca-Cola Chevrolet). Curran, who had made three NASCAR Camping World Series starts previously, was also involved in an accident and finished 21st.
DiBenedetto on a roll ... After finishing 10th in his debut, Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Driven Toyota) had his fourth straight top five with a third-place run at Thompson.
Up Next: Lime Rock Park The ninth of 11 NASCAR Camping World Series races in 2009 will take place at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., on Saturday, Aug. 15.
The Mohegan Sun 200 will make the 17th consecutive trip to the 1.53-mile road course in northwest Connecticut.
Matt Kobyluck is the two-time defending race winner. Kobyluck is tied with Butch Leitzinger for the most victories with three. While Leitzinger won from 1994-1996, Kobyluck won his first in 2005, followed by a runner-up finish to Ruben Pardo in 2006, and back-to-back wins. Dale Quarterly (2001 and 2003) and Bryan Wall (1999 and 2000) are the only other drivers with multiple wins.
Ken Schrader won the series inaugural race at Lime Rock on Oct. 16, 1993 Ten different drivers have visited Victory Lane.
Wall holds the record with four Coors Light Pole Awards. He also holds the track record at 53.591 seconds (102.778 mph), set in 2001. Kobyluck has qualified on the pole three times, while Kelly Moore has done it twice.
Qualifying is set for Friday, Aug. 14, while the green flag for the Mohegan Sun 200 is set to drop Saturday, Aug. 15 at 1 p.m.