NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - Lee MacDonald, K&N Pro Series East Return To Lee The next stop for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will take place at an old familiar facility. Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway, has returned to the schedule...
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - Lee
MacDonald, K&N Pro Series East Return To Lee
The next stop for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will take place at an old familiar facility.
Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway, has returned to the schedule for the first time since the 2004 season. The .375-mile banked oval played host to the K&N Pro Series East 16 times from 1992-2004.
While the NASCAR K&N Pro Series 125 will be the first trip for the vast majority of teams and drivers to Lee, for one driver, it will be a homecoming.
Eddie MacDonald, who hails from Rowley, Mass., has a strong connection to the New Hampshire short track. As the son of track owner and operator Red MacDonald, he has spent many a Friday night at Lee.
"Before I started racing there, they would bring us up - my sister and I - to the track and someone would put us to work," MacDonald said. "A couple of the employees would look over us because we were still fairly young. I'd be selling popcorn and pizza and she would be selling 50/50 tickets and different stuff like that. We did that for quite a while."
MacDonaldmoved from one side of the fence to the other at age 15 in the Hobby Stock division. He then moved up to Late Models and eventually made his K&N Pro Series East debut there in 2001.
Since he began competing in the K&N Pro Series East full time, MacDonald hasn't been back to the track a whole lot. In addition to the commitments with his East team, he's just not very comfortable as a spectator.
"I hate going to races unless I'm racing," MacDonald said. "It gets my mind going, thinking I need to go home and get a car ready to come back and race. I do love going up there and watching the guys I used to race with, but every time I go up there I wish I had my own car. "
As one of the veterans, and combined with the series' six-year absence from competition at the track, MacDonald and Matt Kobyluck are the only drivers on the preliminary entry list who have K&N Pro Series East experience at Lee.
MacDonaldhopes that his extensive experience at Lee will provide an edge on the competition, and he will undoubtedly have a comfort level that the other drivers will not.
"That's going to go quite a long ways - having raced there so many times in the past," MacDonald said. "The tough thing is, the development teams have so much technology and experience. Hopefully we can really get our car to handle there, and my experience from being there so much will give us an advantage."
MacDonaldhas embraced the perceived pressure on him and the team as the hometown favorite, and is using it as further motivation.
"We put pressure on ourselves for every race, but having not won a race there in the K&N Series yet, definitely puts a little more pressure," MacDonald said. "It is our home track, and it just means that much more."
The Race: NASCAR K&N Pro Series 125
The Place: Lee USA Speedway
The Date: Friday, July 30
The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, Aug. 5, 6 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .375-mile oval
Race Purse: $101,209
2009 Winner: N/A
2009 Polesitter: N/A
Practice 2-2:45 p.m., 3:15-4 p.m.; Qualifying 6 p.m.
The Race ... The NASCAR K&N Pro Series 125 at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway is the seventh event in a 10-race schedule this year for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. This will mark the 17th time that Lee USA has played host to the K&N Pro Series East, and the first since 2004.
The Procedure ... The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 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 125 laps (46.875 miles).
The Track ... Lee USA Speedway is a .375-mile asphalt oval that features 12 degrees of banking in the turns and eight degrees in the straights. It is the smallest track - in terms of distance - that the K&N Pro Series East will visit in 2010.
Race Winners ... Brad Leighton recorded four wins at Lee USA to lead all K&N Pro Series East drivers. No active drivers have a win at Lee. Current team members Andy Santerre (3) and Dale Shaw (1) have reached Victory Lane there.
Pole Winners ... In the first 16 K&N Pro Series East events at Lee USA, only Dave Dion has earned more than one pole award, with seven. Santerre and Mike Olsen are the only current team members that earned poles behind the wheel.
Reunion To Highlight Series' Return To Lee
When the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to Lee USA Speedway, past and present will meet as the track has organized a 'Busch North' Reunion.
The K&N Pro Series East was established in 1987 as the Busch North Series, and has strong ties to Lee, which played host to the series in 13 of its first 18 years of competition.
Among the many former K&N Pro Series East drivers expected to attend the reunion are past champions Joey Kourafas, Dick McCabe, Mike Olsen, Andy Santerre and Dale Shaw.
Olsen, Santerre and Shaw are still involved in the K&N Pro Series East. Olsen owns his own team, Santerre is director of competition for the four-team Revolution Racing and Shaw helps field a team for his son, D.J Shaw.
Fans in attendance will have a chance to meet the former drivers in an autograph session as part of the evening's activities.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series 125 will also feature a tribute to former series director, the late Bunk Sampson. Former K&N Pro Series East technical director Ken Farrington will also serve as grand marshal for the race.
Truex Makes Nationwide Series Debut At Gateway
The latest NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver to take the next step in the NASCAR ladder system, Ryan Truex made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on July 17 at Gateway International Raceway.
The defending K&N Pro Series East champion, and current season points leader, Truex piloted the No. 00 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at the 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Ill.
Truexhad a potential top-10 in his sights, but was involved in an accident on Lap 178 of 200 and was credited with a 28th place finish.
Former K&N Pro Series East driver Trevor Bayne, Truex's Nationwide Series teammate, finished third in the race while fellow alums Alex Kennedy and Matt DiBenedetto came home 24th and 29th, respectively.
Current K&N Pro Series East rookie Kevin Swindell also participated and finished 38th.
Race Review: Ranger Continues Road Course Run
The sixth race of 10 on the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule took place at the Lime Rock Park road course on July 3.
Ranger Continues Road Course Mastery ... A winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Infineon Raceway on June 19, Andrew Ranger took his road course dominance to Lime Rock Park and earned his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. A six-time road course winner in his NASCAR Canadian Tire Series career, Ranger also took home the Coors Light Pole, Sunoco Rookie of the Race and Wix Filters Lap Leader Awards.
Whitt Has Successful Road Course Debut ... Without any prior testing or schooling on a road course, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cole Whitt adapted straight away at Lime Rock. He led two times for 12 laps and wound up as the race runner-up to tie his career-best finish.
JGR Still Searching for Road Course Win ... Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Max Gresham and Brett Moffitt finished third and fourth, respectively, in the K&N 100. JGR drivers have been highly successful on road courses the last two years, but have yet to notch a win. Matt DiBenedetto and Joey Logano had potential wins taken away by accidents at Lime Rock and Infineon, respectively, in 2009. DiBenedetto also came up just short at Watkins Glen International a year ago.
Albaraccin Leads Laps in First Start ... The latest international import made an immediate impact at Lime Rock. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut for 16-year-old Columbian Julian Albaraccin resulted in a disappointing 21st-place finish after a blown engine, but he led 11 laps in his inaugural race and was a contender before the mechanical failure.
United Nations in Northwest Connecticut ... The K&N 100 featured drivers from five different countries. In addition to the American-born drivers and the aforementioned Columbian Albarracin, Miguel Paludo hails from Brazil, Ruben Rovelo is from Mexico and Jason Holehouse and race winner Ranger are from Canada.
New Championship Trophy Unveiled ... NASCAR Managing Director of Racing Operations George Silbermann and Nestor Cabrera from K&N Engineering were on hand to unveil the new NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship trophy. Past champions Matt Kobyluck, Mike Olsen, Andy Santerre, Dale Shaw, Mike Stefanik and Ryan Truex were present to participate in the unveiling.
Whelen All-American Series At Lee
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East may not have competed at Lee USA Speedway in six years, but the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series keeps fans entertained every Friday night during racing season.
Lee sanctions six different divisions, headed by the Late Models. Small Block Supers, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Road Runners and Ironman divisions also compete at the .375-mile oval.
J.R. Baril is the defending track champion out of the E Keys 4 Cars Late Model division, and the reigning NASCAR Whelen All-American Series New Hampshire State Champion.
Through July 15 action, Wayne Helliwell Jr. was atop the Late Model standings by 52 points over Baril. Thomas Tombarello Jr. (Small Block Supers), Grant Aither (Late Model Sportsman), Todd Bregy (Hobby Stocks) and Lloyd Chapin (Road Runners) were also division leaders.
Up Next: Gresham
The inaugural race for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., will be the eighth of 10 races on the 2010 schedule.
The Gresham Motorsports Park 150 will mark the first appearance for the K&N Pro Series East in the state of Georgia. It will also mark the first time that the track has played host to a NASCAR event in more than two decades.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced there in 1968 and 1969 with Cale Yarborough and Bobby Isaac the winners. The NASCAR Nationwide Series appeared three times with Darrell Waltrip, the winner in 1986, and Larry Pearson swept both races in 1987.
The track was previously known as Jefco Speedway, Georgia International Speedway and Peach State Speedway. It was purchased by Jim Gresham's Track Properties LLC in 2008 and re-opened in November 2009. Gresham is the grandfather of current K&N Pro Series East driver Max Gresham.
Gresham Motorsports Park is a half-mile asphalt track that was resurfaced prior to its reopening last Fall.