NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - Gresham K&N East Makes First Trip To Gresham The 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship picture will continue to come into focus with the inaugural American Fence Association 150 presented by ...
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - Gresham
K&N East Makes First Trip To Gresham
The 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship picture will continue to come into focus with the inaugural American Fence Association 150 presented by Mayfield Ice Creamier at Gresham Motorsports Park on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The maiden trip to the half-mile in Jefferson, Ga., will also mark the first time that the track has played host to a NASCAR event in more than two decades.
The first NASCAR event held at what was then known as Jefco Speedway was a NASCAR Nationwide Series race won by Tom Pistone in 1967. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series then came for races in 1968 and 1969 with Cale Yarborough and Bobby Isaac the winners. The Nationwide Series returned nearly two decades later with Darrell Waltrip the winner in 1986 and Larry Pearson a two-time winner in 1987.
The track has also been known as Georgia International Speedway and Peach State Speedway prior to its purchase by Jim Gresham's Track Properties LLC in 2008. After a multi-million dollar renovation, the facility re-opened in November 2009 as Gresham Motorsports Park. Jim Gresham is the grandfather of K&N Pro Series East driver Max Gresham.
The early years of the K&N Pro Series East saw the division compete extensively with the Nationwide Series in combination races at some of the larger tracks in the southeast. The two never paired at Atlanta Motor Speedway however, so in addition to the American Fence Association 150 being the K&N Pro Series East's inaugural event at the short track northeast of Atlanta, it will also mark the first appearance for the series in the state of Georgia.
While Max Gresham has logged more laps at the family track than any of his competitors come Saturday night, he'll have plenty of competition from a deep and talented field.
Just 33 points separate leading championship contenders Ryan Truex and Darrell Wallace Jr. Truex, the defending series champion, has proved to be adept at adapting to new tracks right away while Wallace continues to impress as a true rookie.
Gresham's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Brett Moffitt, is also coming on strong. With four top fives in a row, Moffitt is now up to third in the standings, 100 tallies back of Truex. And in fourth place, just in front of Gresham, is another true rookie in Cole Whitt, who has recently recovered from a mid-season slump.
Raceday will get underway with first practice at 11 a.m. Qualifying is slated for 4 p.m., and the 150-lap race will go green under the lights at approximately 8:30 p.m.
NASCAR FanFest on Friday
On Friday, Aug. 27, Gresham Motorsports Park has arranged for many of the K&N Pro Series East drivers to participate in a night of activities with the NASCAR FanFest at Funopolis Family Fun Center in Commerce, Ga. Fans are encouraged to attend and interact with the drivers.
The Race: American Fence Association 150 pres. by Mayfield Ice Creamier
The Place: Gresham Motorsports Park, Jefferson, Ga.
The Date: Saturday, August 28
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, Sept. 2, 6 p.m. ET
Track Layout: Half-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $120,409
2009 Winner / Polesitter: N/A
Practice 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Final Practice 1:10-2 p.m.; Qualifying 4 p.m.
The Race ^a The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will make its inaugural trip to Gresham Motorsports Park for the American Fence Association 150 presented by Mayfield Ice Creamier on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The Procedure ^a The maximum starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials and the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (75 miles).
The Track ^a Gresham Motorsports Park is a half-mile asphalt oval located in Jefferson, Ga. It was repaved in 2009 and features 12 degrees of banking in the turns and six degrees in the straights.
Gresham Looks To Shine At Home Track
When the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Gresham Motorsports Park for the first time, a rookie driver might feel even more pressure than normal, perhaps because his family name will be plastered everywhere on raceday.
Max Gresham, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, is the grandson of track owner Jim Gresham.
"I feel a little extra pressure just because it is my home track," Max said. "I will have a lot of fan backing from all my friends, so the pressure just to win for them will put a little more pressure for me."
While the K&N Pro Series East rookie will compete at a track that bears his last name, Max will not have the same level of familiarity with the half-mile track that Eddie MacDonald did at his family's Lee USA Speedway the last time out. MacDonald's career began and blossomed at his home track, but the Gresham's just purchased the Jefferson, Ga., property in 2008 and the track opened less than a year ago.
Gresham got his start in racing on the quarter miles at Atlanta and Charlotte Motor Speedways, and has raced very little competitively at GMP.
"Racing at my family's race track is going to be a cool," Max said. "It will be neat to have the support of the fans that come to see the race. Knowing that many of my family members will be there will be cool too. It means a lot."
Max debuted in the K&N Pro Series with three East starts and one West appearance in 2009. The soon-to-be high school senior has had an up-and-down 2010 rookie campaign. He currently sits fifth in points thanks to wins at South Boston Speedway and Iowa Speedway, but has just three top 10s in seven outings.
"My season so far has been pretty decent, but we have definitely had our hiccups," Max said. "Our Joe Gibbs Racing Team is still very strong and our goal now is to go out and win as many races as we can before the season comes to an end."
While his win at Iowa in the East-West combination race is one of the more prestigious checkered flags a K&N Pro Series driver can capture, a win this week at his family's track would provide a special feeling for the 17-year-old.
"If I was fortunate enough to win the American Fence Association 150 it would be a very emotional night because of all the hard work my entire family has put into the facility and getting my career to this point," Max said.
Kennedy, Laing To Debut at Gresham
Budding teen racers Ben Kennedy and Tyler Laing are slated to make their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debuts in the American Fence Association 150 at Gresham Motorsports Park on Aug. 28.
A champion in the Pro-Truck class at Orlando Speed World and New Smyrna Speedway, the 18-year-old Kennedy has recently competed in Super Late Models for Mark Martin Performance.
Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and son of International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, will drive the No. 96 iRacing.com Chevrolet at Gresham for car owner Martin.
Laing will pilot the No. 61 Fadden Racing Chevrolet for owner Mike Olsen. A 17-year-old from Davie, Fla., Laing was the 2009 FasTruck Touring Series champion on the strength of two wins and 11 top fives in 13 races. This season he has competed in Super Late Models.
Race Review: Wallace Takes Checkers At Lee
The seventh race of 10 on the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule took the series to an old familiar place - Lee (N.H.) Speedway - for the first time since 2004. The following are highlights from the K&N Pro Series 125 held on July 30:
Wallace Earns Second Win, Stays in Title Hunt ^a Destiny appeared to have championship frontrunner Ryan Truex and home track favorite Eddie MacDonald challenging for the checkered flag at Lee, but Darrell Wallace Jr. took destiny into his own hands. Truex and MacDonald swapped the lead four times in the last 35 laps, but Wallace daringly went under both on Lap 123 of 125 and pulled out his second win of the season. The win also brought Wallace within 33 points of championship leader Truex.
Swindell Nabs First Pole ^a As the open-wheeler continues to progress in his full-fendered career, Kevin Swindell earned his first Coors Light Pole Award for the K&N Pro Series 125. Swindell finished ninth in the race and is 10th in the season standings.
Davis Returns, Debut for Arteaga and Kern ^a The K&N Pro Series 125 marked the first appearance for Marc Davis in the series since the former Joe Gibbs Racing development driver finished fifth in the 2008 standings. In the spot-start for Revolution Racing he finished eighth. NASCAR Mexico driver Jorge Arteaga made his K&N Pro Series East debut for Troy Williams Motorsports and finished 10th. Former Drive For Diversity Combine participant Ali Kern also made her series debut and finished 20th.
Moffitt Records Another Top Five ^a After finishing outside the top 15 in two of the first three races, Brett Moffitt has steadily climbed back into contention with four top-five finishes in a row, including a third-place effort at Lee. He is now an even 100 points back of championship leader Truex with three races remaining.
Best Finish for Smith ^a Andrew Smith registered the best finish of his brief seven-race K&N Pro Series East career when he crossed the line sixth at Lee. Since the race, Smith and Spraker Racing Enterprises have parted ways.
Ranger Has Disappointing Encore ^a After earning his first career K&N Pro Series East victory in the previous race at Lime Rock Park, Andrew Ranger suffered a disappointing 23rd-place finish at Lee caused by an accident on Lap 108.
Lee Award Winners ^a In addition to Swindell's pole, other award winners at Lee were: Truex (Coca-Cola Move of the Race), MacDonald (Wix Filters Lap Leader), Wallace (Sunoco Rookie of the Race) and Smith (Featherlite Most Improved Driver).
Up Next: Loudon
The next-to-last race of the 2010 season will also be the second of two appearance for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The New Hampshire 125, slated for Friday, Sept. 17, will be the 54th all-time stand-alone race for the K&N Pro Series East at the 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H. The series also competed in nine combination races at the "Magic Mile" with the NASCASR Nationwide Series from 1990-95.
In the first race of the year in Loudon on June 25, defending K&N Pro Series East Champion Ryan Truex joined his father, Martin Sr., and older brother, Martin Jr., on the series' wins list at New Hampshire. He led the last 66 laps in the event.
With just 33 tallies separating points leaders Truex and Darrell Wallace heading into this week's race at Gresham Motorsports Park, the New Hampshire 125 will be crucial in shaping the 2010 championship picture.
Wallace finished third in the June race in his first appearance at the track, and figures to be among the leading contenders along with his championship foe Truex in the fall race. Eddie MacDonald has also won three of the last five races there, and remains a race favorite.
As usual, the New Hampshire 125 will follow NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying on Friday with the green flag set for 5 p.m. The K&N Pro Series East will be joined at New Hampshire on race weekend by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in addition to the Sprint Cup Series.