WS: Stockton: Thompson Motorsports' new body

THOMPSON MOTORSPORTS SET TO DEBUT COMPOSITE BODY IN GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION ACTION AT STOCKTON STOCKTON, Calif. (April 28, 2006) -- After NASCAR announced plans to phase in a new composite body for race cars in the NASCAR Grand ...

THOMPSON MOTORSPORTS SET TO DEBUT COMPOSITE BODY IN GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION ACTION AT STOCKTON

STOCKTON, Calif. (April 28, 2006) -- After NASCAR announced plans to phase in a new composite body for race cars in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Brett Thompson and his Thompson Motorsports team decided to quickly jump on board the program. They are set to become the first team to compete with the molded synthetic composite body as one of 26 entries expected for the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series Basalite 150 by Havoline at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway on Saturday.

Thompson Motorsports unveiled their car with the new composite body during an open practice session conducted by the track on Friday. Thompson and his crew chief, Rob Dixon, looked forward to being the first team to put a car with the composite body in competition.

"We're pretty excited about the whole deal," said Dixon, a veteran crewman with about 16 years experience in the AutoZone West Series and crew chief at Thompson Motorsports since 2003. "I think it's quite an accomplishment to be able to have the first one on the race track."

Thompson agreed. "It's pretty cool to be able to do this," he said. "We've been looking forward to it. We were building the chassis and NASCAR came out with the composite body and we decided to put one on. We're definitely excited to run it."

Saturday's race on Stockton's historic quarter-mile oval, known for its tight door-to-door racing, should provide for a great demonstration of the composite body in action.

"We built this chassis in house," Dixon explained. "So, this is a good place to come test it out before we go to Irwindale. It will probably be most beneficial to see how the body works here before we go to Irwindale."

The Thompson Motorsports entry drew plenty of attention from other teams on Friday, with some asking Thompson if they could take pictures of his car with the new body.

"It's great to see the new composite body in competition this weekend," said Don Hawk, NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development. "This is a major step in this transition as the composite body is phased into the Grand National Division."

The new body is designed to save teams money, compared to the custom-mounted steel bodies, while maintaining the quality of racing on the track. "The bodywork required for the steel bodies has always been a major expense and this new composite body has the potential to drastically reduce costs in the long term," said Hawk.

Teams in the Grand National Division -- which in addition to the AutoZone West Series includes the Busch East Series -- have the option of using the composite body beginning this season.

Mounting and repairs of the new composite bodies are expected to cost less, because less time is required and most pieces can be more easily replaced. As an added benefit, the competition on the track will be enhanced by a universal body shape, which reduces the aerodynamic advantages of one model over another.

South Carolina-based American Fiberglass is manufacturing the bodies, based on specifications provided by NASCAR. The body design will be fundamentally the same for all makes and models, however teams will be able to customize window openings and decals to suit their own type of car. Pre-manufactured window pieces and decals are made by Five Star Stock Car Bodies.

The bodies, window pieces, and decals are available from the following distributors: BSR Products, Eshleman Racing, and Summit Racing Equipment. Additional information regarding the distribution and availability of bodies and accessories can be found at www.nascarmembers.com for NASCAR members or www.nascarregionalracing.com for the general public.

The introduction of composite bodies is just one part of NASCAR's comprehensive approach to lowering the costs of racing in the Grand National Division, which serves as a feeder system to NASCAR's three national series.

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brett Thompson