NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - New Hampshire MacDonald Looks To Continue Loudon Success As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first of two races on the 2010 schedule, Eddie MacDonald has...
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes - New Hampshire
MacDonald Looks To Continue Loudon Success
As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first of two races on the 2010 schedule, Eddie MacDonald has to be smiling.
For a number of reasons, the annual stops for the K&N Pro Series East at the Loudon, N.H., track are the highlight of MacDonald's season. For starters, the "Magic Mile" is a mere 90-minute drive from his hometown of Rowley, Mass. But MacDonald would surely drive across the country just to experience the success he's had in his back yard.
MacDonald and the No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet team has won three of the last four races at New Hampshire. The run started with a sweep of the summer and fall races in 2008, and a return to Victory Lane in the second race a year ago. No driver has experienced that level of success in Loudon since Brad Leighton captured three-in-a-row in 2001-02.
A veteran of 10 seasons of K&N Pro Series East competition, half of MacDonald's career wins have come at New Hampshire. Success at the largest track the series visits annually, however, has not always been there for MacDonald.
In his first 15 career Loudon starts, MacDonald was winless with just four top-10 finishes.
The difference figures to be when MacDonald teamed full-time prior to the 2008 season with car owner Rob Grimm and crew chief Rollie LaChance. Since the trio has come together, MacDonald has had the best two-plus years of his racing career. The team finished seventh in points in 2008, and leaped to second a year ago, with a legitimate shot at the championship until the final checkered flag flew.
The New England 125 on June 25 is coming at just the right time for the Rob Grimm Racing team, which is in need of a rally. After four races to start the season, MacDonald is a distant 12th in the standings with a best finish of seventh. Another top finish in Loudon is much needed for the team to start thinking about climbing back in the title hunt.
The Race: New England 125
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, June 25
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, July 1, 6 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1.058-mile oval
Race Purse: $227,607
2009 Winner: Matt DiBenedetto
2009 Polesitter: Ryan Truex
Event Schedule: Thursday, June 24: Practice 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Qualifying 3:15 p.m.
The Race ... The New England 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will mark the midway point of the 10-race 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, and the first of two trips to Loudon, N.H. This will be the 53rd all-time race for the series at NHMS.
The Procedure ... The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 32 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 125 laps (132.25 miles).
The Track ... NHMS is a 1.058-mile, slightly-banked asphalt oval. NHMS has played host to the K&N Pro Series East in each year of the track's existence and has held more East races than any other facility.
Race Winners ... The inaugural K&N Pro Series East race on Sept. 2, 1990 at NHMS was won by Mike McLaughlin. McLaughlin, who also won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race that same day, went on to earn three more East wins at the "Magic Mile." New Hampshire native Brad Leighton has the most series wins at NHMS with eight. Matt DiBenedetto became the 22nd all-time winner at NHMS in the 2009 June event.
Pole Winners ... Kelly Moore has the most Coors Light Pole Awards in K&N Pro Series East history at NHMS with six. Brian Hoar set the qualifying record in 2002 at 28.892 seconds (127.141 mph). Ryan Truex became the 25th driver to earn a pole at NHMS in June 2009, and in the process joined his father and brother as pole winners at the track.
Truex Returns To The Top
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title defense for Ryan Truex and the No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota team may not have gone as planned through the first four races of the 2010 season, but, they are back in a familiar position. Following the UNOH Performance 200 at Martinsville Speedway on June 6, the team is back atop the standings.
As a rookie in 2009, Truex had three mediocre runs to start the season before a string of four wins and seven-straight podium finishes vaulted him to the K&N Pro Series East title.
With so much success a year ago, and with the series returning to many of those tracks again in 2010, Truex now expects to win every time out. The wins have yet to pan out, but he is undoubtedly in a better position for a championship after the first four races this year than he was in 2009.
Truex's first top-five finish came in the fourth race of last year's season, when finished third and left South Boston Speedway ranked seventh in points, 113 tallies out of first. It was not until after the seventh race of the year - when he won at Thompson International Speedway - that Truex led in points.
The start to the 2010 season has been much more consistent for the No. 00 team. Despite getting spun during the green-white-checker finish, Truex led a race-high 127 laps in the opener at Greenville Pickens Speedway, and hung on to finish 13th. He then finished third for the second year in a row at South Boston, and followed that with a finish of sixth overall at Iowa Speedway.
Last time out at Martinsville, Truex led 30 laps and was in position for a win at the end, but was passed on a restart and never had a shot to get back in front as rain shortened the race.
Truex was visibly disappointed in the Martinsville post-race press conference that he was not leaving with the grandfather clock, but at the end of the day he was undoubtedly in a better position to defend his title.
Of the five race tracks standing between Truex and a second-consecutive K&N Pro Series East title, he has successful experience at three. Although he has not been to Lee USA Speedway or Gresham Motorsports Park, Truex won a pole and registered finishes of second and third in two starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway a year ago. He was the winner at Lime Rock Park and finished eighth at Dover International Speedway.
The first of two shots for Truex to break through at New Hampshire - where his father, Martin Sr., and brother, Martin Jr., both won during their K&N Pro Series East careers - will come this week in the New England 125.
Race Review: Moffitt Wins Martinsville Clock
The fourth race of 10 on the 2010 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule took place at Martinsville Speedway on June 6. The UNOH Performance 200 marked the first stand-alone race in series history at the venerable facility.
Moffitt Back in Victory Lane ... Snake-bitten the first three races of the 2010 season, Brett Moffitt may have got his sophomore campaign on track with a win in the rain-shortened UNOH Performance 200. Moffitt took the lead from Ryan Truex on a restart on Lap 161 and was in the lead when the race was red flagged due to rain on Lap 175. It marked his third win in just 15 career starts, and the second at a national series track after his triumph at Dover International Speedway in the 2009 finale.
Truex, Wallace Rocket Through Field ... Although he qualified fourth, Truex had to start at the rear of the 32-car field because he missed driver introductions. Darrell Wallace Jr. also had to go to the back for unapproved adjustments on the car after a fifth-place qualifying run. At the end of the day, however, both ended up with podium finishes as Truex and Wallace finished just behind race winner Moffitt.
Historic Pole for Gifford ... In just his eighth career K&N Pro Series East start, Ryan Gifford earned his first Coors Light Pole Award. In addition to the qualifying effort being a personal milestone for Gifford, it was also a historic moment in the history of the K&N Pro Series East as he became the first African-American to accomplish the feat. Gifford went on to lead the first 98 laps of the race and earned the Wix Filters Lap Leader Award.
Career Day for Patison ... Jason Patison registered the best finish in his 13 career K&N Pro Series East starts when he crossed the line sixth. Patison, who was 40th in the previous race at Iowa Speedway, took home the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award.
Stellar Debuts for Monteiro, Frahm ... The K&N Pro Series East debuts for Beto Monteiro and Matt Frahm resulted in top-10 efforts. Monteiro, who filled in in the Troy Williams Motorsports No. 12 Dodge, came from the 27th starting position to finish seventh and earn the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award. Frahm's initial K&N Pro Series East run resulted in an eighth-place finish.
Ranger in Top Five ... It took all of two races for reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 Champion Andrew Ranger to notch a top-five effort in K&N Pro Series East action. After a disappointing series debut at Iowa, Ranger finished fifth in his second shot behind the wheel.
Crum Makes Mark in Return ... In Jake Crum's second start of the season, he showed why he was the winner in last year's prestigious Bailey's 300 Late Model race at Martinsville. Crum went from his 18th starting position to the lead on Lap 99, where he stayed until Wallace got past him on Lap 116. After some mechanical issues, Crum settled for a 13th-place finish.
Gresham, Dillon Slip After Top Iowa Runs ... The rollercoaster seasons of Max Gresham and Ty Dillon dipped at Martinsville. Gresham finished 23rd in the season opener, won the next two races, then slipped to 17th at Martinsville. Dillon's season was highlighted by a runner-up to Gresham at Iowa, but he was 22nd at Martinsville and his first two finishes of the year were 18th and 10th.
Up Next: Lime Rock
A relationship that has spanned 17 years will continue in 2010 as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to Lime Rock Park on July 3.
While the K&N Pro Series East has evolved throughout the years, annual appearances at the Lakeville, Conn., road course have been a staple of the series' schedule.
Matt Kobyluck and Butch Leitzinger are tied for the most K&N Pro Series East wins at Lime Rock, at three. Kobyluck, who has won three of the series' last five races at the 1.53-mile circuit, will look to break that tie in 2010.
The defending winner of the race is Ryan Truex, who was victorious en route to the series championship.
The 2010 edition of the K&N Pro Series East at Lime Rock will once again feature an exciting collection of some of the best young talent in NASCAR. Truex, a development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing, figures to be one of the favorites to run up front again this year. After four races in 2010, Truex is in the lead in the season standings in his title defense.
Joe Gibbs Racing development drivers Max Gresham and Brett Moffitt will head a list of other budding young drivers with potential for a trip to the Lime Rock Winner's Circle. Gresham had two wins in the first four races of the year, and will pilot the same No. 18 Toyota that current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Matt DiBenedetto won the Lime Rock pole with a year ago. Moffitt has been a frontrunner all year and was the winner at Martinsville Speedway.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be joined at Lime Rock on race weekend by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.