NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Wisconsin Team Competitive From Start NHMS Contenders Expect Day Of Dynamics All Star, Lee, Mondanock Part Of NH Scene Season's Closing Stretch...
NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Wisconsin Team Competitive From Start
NHMS Contenders Expect Day Of Dynamics
All Star, Lee, Mondanock Part Of NH Scene
Season's Closing Stretch Begins At New Hampshire
The NASCAR Camping World Series East begins its final stretch run Friday, Sept. 12 as the 2008 season wraps up with three straight weekends of racing.
First up is the Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet) not only enters with a 176-point lead, but recorded a career-best third place in June's race at New Hampshire.
"We're bringing the same car and the same package," Kobyluck said, "and see we can get the same results, if not better. I think we were 10 laps away from the win there last time. Race strategy played out a little differently at the end, with some guys having a little fresher rubber than we had. We'll calculate that into our plan and see how that plays out."
The season concludes at Dover International Speedway Sept. 19 and Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway Sept. 28.
While New Hampshire has been his Achilles' Heel -- June's performance was just his fourth top five in 25 starts at the track -- Kobyluck has wins at both Dover (2002) and Stafford (2005).
"We're going to race these last three races the same as we've raced all season long: arrive at the race track prepared and make smart decisions on the race track," Kobyluck said. "We're not changing anything for the final three."
The points race behind Kobyluck is extremely tight, as just 99 points separate second-place Jesus Hernandez (No. 11 DEI Chevrolet) from sixth-place Brian Ickler (No. 15 Ickler Motorsports Chevrolet).
Icker is coming off his third win of the season at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park in the series' most recent race. He is second only to Kobyluck (four) in wins.
Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet) returns to New Hampshire with the same car he won with at the track in June.
"We're just getting it ready now," MacDonald said. "We're going to go back a little different -- try a couple things. We kept notes on how to get it right back to where we left off."
It was the fourth NASCAR Camping World Series East victory for the driver from nearby Rowley, Mass., who called it the biggest win of his career.
Like Kobyluck, MacDonald is looking forward to the upcoming three-race stretch.
MacDonald, who is 11th in points but just 60 out of seventh, has a win at Stafford (2007) and his crew chief, Roland LaChance, has a win at Dover (2001 with Dale Shaw).
"It's three really good tracks for us," MacDonald said. "We're taking a different car to each track. Hopefully, each one will turn out good. It's exciting to finish the year at these tracks."
News & Notes
The Race ... The Heluva Good! 125 is the 11th of 13 races on the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East schedule. It is the second appearance of the series at the track this year. Eddie MacDonald won the June 27 event.
The Procedure ... The starting field is a maximum of 40 cars including provisionals. Starting positions 1-36 will be determined by time trials. The remaining four spots will be determined through the provisional process. The race's scheduled distance is 125 laps (132.25 miles).
The Track ... At 1.530 miles in length, NHMS is the largest oval track on which the series competes. It has hosted 48 previous NASCAR Camping World Series events since 1990.
The Records ... Qualifying: Brian Hoar, July 18, 2002, 127.141 mph, 29.892 seconds. 125-lap race: Ted Christopher, May 12, 2001,108.476 mph, 1 hour, 13 minutes, 9 seconds.
The Milestones ... Mike McLaughlin won the first NASCAR Camping World Series East event run at NHMS on Sept. 2, 1990. It was the first of four career wins in the series at the track. That same day, McLaughlin also won the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at the track. Steve Park and Mike Stefanik have also won in both divisions at the track. McLaughlin will be honored Saturday prior to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event as part of NASCAR's celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions. ... Three-time NASCAR Camping World Series East champion Jamie Aube finished second to McLaughlin in the first East Series event back in 1990. Aube has served as 2008 East Series crew chief for rookie Dustin Delaney (No. 39 Delaney Motorsports Chevrolets). Delaney enters this week's NHMS event 16th in series points.
Paul Davis Restoration Team Competitive From Start
Wisconsin has long been known for producing great stock-car racing talent for generations. From Dick Trickle to Alan Kulwicki to Steve Carlson to Matt Kenseth and Travis Kvapil, The Badger State has turned out champions.
So when the new team with driver Derek Thorn showed up at the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East season-opening event in Greenville, S.C., in April, they quickly asserted their Wisconsin-bred competitiveness.
Thorn posted the sixth-fastest qualifying time in a field of 39 and drove the No. 80 Racin' For A Cure Ford to contention for the lead late in the event. After being snared in late-race fireworks, the 24th-place finish wasn't pleasing. But their ability to compete in NASCAR boosted their confidence.
Thorn and the Shawn Keep-owned team matched their best qualifying effort of sixth at Mansfield, Ohio, in August and finished seventh. Their best finish to date was fifth at Music City Motorplex in Nashville in July.
Their next start will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Heluva Good! 125 Sept. 12. They will attempt to improve on their 24th-place finish at NHMS in June.
The team attracted the primary sponsor, Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling of Southwest Wisconsin in an unusual way. It walked in team manager Scott Pfeiffer's front door.
PDI southwest Wisconsin franchisee Dan Drum did some remodeling in Pfeiffer's home as part of
PDI's "Restoring America" initiative. Pfeiffer developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2007 and requires the use of a wheelchair.
Pfeiffer has established Racin' For A Cure, which is aligned with the ALS Association/Wisconsin Chapter. Racin' For A Cure raises awareness and research funds for the ALSA.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based Paul Davis Restoration, Inc. is a leader in residential and commercial loss mitigation, reconstruction and restoration services with 230 locations nationwide.
Olsen, Leighton To Make Their Run At Magic Mile
Past series champions Mike Olsen (No. 61 Fadden Racing Chevrolet) and Brad Leighton (No. 55 Irving Racing Chevrolet), return to series action for the Heluva Good! 125.
Olsen won the championship in 2001 and 2006 before retiring from full-time competition to transition to car owner. Leighton collected back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.
Each finished in the top five in the June race at the track. Leighton has eight series wins at NHMS, while Olsen has one. Leighton and Olsen also have two Coors Light Pole Awards.
Another previous winner entered in the event is Steve Park, whose win came in 1996. Park also has four wins at New Hampshire in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Eventual series champions have eight wins, 27 top fives and 37 top 10s in 48 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Since 2000, no eventual champion has finished lower than 12th at New Hampshire.
Since the first event in 1990, the only driver to finish a race at New Hampshire outside the top 20 and go on to win the title was Leighton, who was 26th in the July race in 1999. Of course it helped that, in the series' other three races at the Magic Mile that year, he had two wins and a third-place finish.
Ricky Craven (1991), Leighton (1999 & 2000), Andy Santerre (2004), Olsen (2006) and Joey Logano (2007) recorded wins at New Hampshire during their championship season.
Hernandez Leads DEI Trio In Championship Hunt
Jesus Hernandez has been flying almost below the radar most of the season, but the driver of the No. 11 DEI Chevrolet served notice with his fourth-place finish at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park. It moved Hernandez to second place in points heading into this weekend's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Hernandez's average finish of 7.7 is second only to points leader Matt Kobyluck's 5.1.
Hernandez's Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammates also arrive at New Hampshire in the top 10 in points.
Rookie Trevor Bayne, who was second at the Magic Mile in June, is fourth in points, while Jeffrey Earnhardt is 10th.
"All three DEI teams had in mind that we were each going to contend for the championship," said Hernandez, a member of NASCAR's Drive For Diversity program. "Week-in and week-out, all three of our teams bring strong cars to the race track."
Three times this season, DEI has put all three cars in the top 10. At Mansfield, in addition to Hernandez's top-five finish, Earnhardt finished 10th. Bayne won the Coors Light Pole Award, but a early-race spin led to a finish of 20th.
Hernandez led a pair of laps at New Hampshire in June and finished 12th.
"For us, we've been able to stay out of trouble, tried to drive smart races, and now we're second in points."
Hernandez has five top fives and seven top 10s in 10 races. As a rookie last season, the Fresno, Calif., driver had three top fives and five top 10s in 12 races en route to a 12th-place finish in points.
Hernandez is quick to credit the DEI organization for the three teams' highly competitive performances. He also attributes his success to crew chief Richmond Burgdoff, who made the transition from Ginn Racing to DEI along with Hernandez when the teams merged in 2007.
"I can tell him what the car's doing and he knows what kind of feel I'm looking for," Hernandez said. "And we're able to go out there and put it all together."
Hernandez knows Kobyluck will be tough for anyone to beat for the 2008 championship.
"Matt's been having an outstanding year," Hernandez said. "But we're not going to give up until it's all said and done."
All Star, Lee, Monadnock Host New Hampshire NASCAR Weekly Racing
A trio of NASCAR-sanctioned weekly short tracks keep NASCAR racing hopping in New Hampshire. They include All-Star Speedway, a .333-mile paved oval in Epping, N.H., operated by Robert MacArthur. NASCAR Modified division track points leader Louie Mechalides is also the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state points leader. The track operates on Saturday nights.
Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., is a .375-mile paved oval operated on Friday nights by Red MacDonald, father of NASCAR Camping World Series East driver Eddie MacDonald. Lee's Late Model division points leader Philip Baril Jr. is second in the NASCAR state points race.
Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., is a .250-mile paved oval operated by Larry and Deneen Cirillo on Saturday nights. Outlaw Pro division points leader Barry Gray stands eighth in the NASCAR state points standings.
For more information on all NASCAR local tracks, visit www.nascarhometracks.com.
The Race: Heluva Good! Fall 125
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
The Date: Friday, Sept. 12
The Time: 5:10 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: HDNet (live); SPEED (enhanced replay) Sept. 24, noon ET
Track Layout: 1.058-mile oval
Race Purse: $239,916
2007 Winner: Joey Logano
2007 Pole: Rogelio Lopez