NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes - New Hampshire *Truex Heads To NHMS With Points Lead *MacDonald Looks To Get Back In Victory Lane *Familiar Names Return To New Hampshire Truex, MacDonald Take Points Race To NHMS The first ...
NASCAR Camping World Series East News & Notes - New Hampshire
*Truex Heads To NHMS With Points Lead
*MacDonald Looks To Get Back In Victory Lane
*Familiar Names Return To New Hampshire
Truex, MacDonald Take Points Race To NHMS
The first go-around at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan Truex (No. 00 NAPA Toyota) came up just short and left a little disappointed.
Another runner-up finish Friday, though, would mean Truex is a step closer to the ultimate trophy: the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series East championship.
"I'm pretty confident knowing I can run good at New Hampshire," Truex said, "because we can go right into practice knowing what we need to do."
The 17-year-old Mayetta, N.J., driver brings a 50-point lead over Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet) to the 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, N.H.
"I have a championship crew," said Truex, a development driver for Michael Waltrip Racing. "They give me a great car every week. It's just up to me to go out there and keep the car in one piece."
Truex is coming off his third win in the last five races. In the other two events, he has finished second -- including a runner-up finish to Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto in the June race at New Hampshire.
Truex led 37 laps, while MacDonald and DiBenedetto led 39 each. Pit stop strategy left MacDonald with a sixth-place finish after sweeping the 2008 visits to New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, Truex and DiBenedetto put on a thrilling short-track battle that saw DiBenedetto make the final pass on the final turn of the final lap to steal away the win.
There won't be a replay, as DiBenedetto will turn over the No. 18 Joe Gibbs-driven Toyota to 16-year-old Max Gresham this weekend.
But Truex still has plenty of motivation to get to Victory Lane at the track that has been a staple of the NASCAR Camping World Series East schedule since it opened in 2000.
His father, Martin Truex Sr., won there in 1994. And his brother, Martin Truex Jr., has two victories there. Truex Jr., a current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, won July of 2000 and again in July of 2003. He also has a pair of runner-up finishes. Ryan Truex already matched his family's feat with a Coors Light Pole Award in the Spring race.
MacDonald had one of the strongest cars in that race, but elected to stay out when most of the leaders pitted early in the event. This forced him to have to make his way through the field after pitting later.
He was able to get back to sixth by the end of the race, but knows he needs a better finish to keep pace with Truex heading into the Sept. 25 finale at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Truex was able to gain ground on the field in the last race, at Lime Rock Park Aug. 15, winning the race while some of the other challengers experienced misfortune.
If he's not careful, though, Truex can let everybody back in the points chase. The maximum field is 40 cars, and as of Monday, 33 entries had been filed. The larger field increases the cost in points that comes with a bad finish.
Jody Lavender (No. 88 JoJo Ent./Custom Race Chassis Chevrolet) is third and trails Truex by 87 points.
Steve Park (No. 35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet) and defending series champion Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet) are both 133 points back. The two veteran drivers know, though, that can change in a hurry if Truex gets caught up in an accident or suffers mechanical failure.
It would seem those are the only things that could slow down Truex, who has been on one of the hottest streaks of any NASCAR Developmental Series drivers this year.
Since an accident left him 33rd at Iowa in May, Truex has three wins, two seconds, a third, and two Coors Light Pole Awards in six races that have taken him from 12th and 143 points out of first to the top and on the brink of his first NASCAR championship.
"I didn't think we'd be running this awesome, going out every week and contending for the win," Truex said. "After those first couple races, I just had to improve as a driver."
The Race: Heluva Good! Fall 125
The Place: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
The Date: Friday, Sept. 18
The Time: 5:10 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED, Sept. 24, 3 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1.058-mile paved oval
Race Purse: $234,721
2008 Winner: Eddie MacDonald
2008 Polesitter: Peyton Sellers
Thursday: Practice 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Qualifying 3:15 p.m.
Name Dropping At Loudon
When the NASCAR Camping World Series East first ran at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Peak Antifreeze 125 on Sept. 2, 1990, Randy LaJoie finished 11th and Dale Shaw 21st.
When the series takes the green flag for Friday's Heluva Good! Fall 125, the field will include Corey LaJoie (No. 36 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet) and DJ Shaw (No. 60 Precision JLM Inc. Ford). Both teenagers will be making their second start.
The 17-year-old LaJoie, the son of the two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, had his series debut at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway cut short by a faulty engine. LaJoie will drive as a teammate of Eric Curran (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet) for car owner Ted Marsh of Old Lyme, Conn.
Shaw, 19, of Center Conway, N.H., started 17th and finished 24th in the June race at New Hampshire. His father won the 1994 NASCAR Camping World Series East title. They aren't the only ones with name connections in the sport.
Ty Dillon (No. 3 RCR Chevrolet) is the younger brother of 2008 series runner-up Austin Dillon and grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner Richard Childress.
Kevin Swindell (No. 9 Mike Curb/Curb Records Chevrolet) will drive one of the two Dave Davis Motorsports cars along with Patrick Long. Swindell is the son of three-time National Sprint Car Champion Sammy Swindell and was third at New Hampshire in June.
Proving Ground ... Two of the best young Late Model drivers in New England will be in the field Friday. Joey Polewarczyk (No. 61 KDD Auto Parts Chevrolet) will drive for former two-time series champion Mike Olsen. And Derek Ramstrom (No. 53 Gilbane Chevrolet) will be a teammate of Steve Park (No. 35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet) ... In addition, David Mayhew (No. 19 East Coast Resurfacing Inc. Chevrolet) is entered. The Bakersfield, Calif., driver is fourth in NASCAR Camping World Series West points and is coming off a dominating win at Iowa Speedway.
The Race ... The Heluva Good! Fall 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the 10th event in an 11-race schedule this year for the NASCAR Camping World Series East, and the second of two trips to Loudon, N.H. This will be the 52nd all-time race for the series at NHMS.
The Procedure ... The starting field is 40 cars, including provisionals. The first 36 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 NCWSE in each year of the series' existence and has held more races than any other facility.
Race Winners ... The inaugural NCWSE 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 NCWSE 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 this past June.
Pole Winners ... Kelly Moore has the most Coors Light Pole Awards in NCWSE 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, and joined his father and brother as pole winners at the track in the process.
Last Year's Event ...
Rain pushed the Heluva Good! Fall 125 to Saturday morning, but it couldn't keep Eddie MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet) from Victory Lane. MacDonald passed Steve Park (No. 35 Waste Management Recycle America Chevrolet) for the lead coming out of Turn 4 to the white flag lap en route to win for the second straight time at the 'Magic Mile.'
The win gave the Rowley, Mass., driver a season sweep of the NASCAR Camping World Series East events at the 1.058-mile oval. He is the third driver to accomplish that feat, following Mike McLaughlin in 1992 and Joey Logano in 2007. MacDonald led four times for a race-high 60 laps.
Park held on for second, followed by points leader Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet). The finish allowed Kobyluck to extend his points lead to 192 over rookie Austin Dillon with two races remaining on the schedule.
Matt Hirschman, making his NASCAR Camping World Series East debut, finished fourth, and Dillon rounded out the top five.
MacDonald led from lap 37 to 76 Saturday before giving way to Brad Leighton. Leighton appeared prime to collect his ninth NASCAR Camping World Series East win at New Hampshire before running out of fuel on Lap 120. As Leighton came in to the pits, Park inherited the lead.
Joey Polewarczyk, Mike Olsen, Trevor Bayne, Bryon Chew and Jeff Anton completed the top 10.
Lime Rock Recap
MacDonald Has Strong Road Course Run ... In an event that was crucial in keeping his championship bid alive, Eddie MacDonald chose a perfect time to have his best career finish at the 1.53-mile road course at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. MacDonald started ninth and wound up as the race runner-up and earned the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award for his efforts. His previous career-best finish at Lime Rock was sixth.
Career Day for Kennedy and Holehouse ... Alex Kennedy had previously exhibited expertise in his young career on road courses, but last time out at Lime Rock was a career day for the teen. Kennedy recorded his first career top five as he crossed the line fourth in the Mohegan Sun 200 and earned the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award in the process. It was also a career day for part-time road racer Jason Holehouse. His previous career-best finish of seventh at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2008, but he came home third in the Mohegan Sun 200.
Heartbreak for DiBenedetto ... Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto earned the second 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light at Lime Rock and looked to be on cruise control heading for what would have been his third win in just six career starts. Instead, he was collected in a crash on Lap 71 of 82 with a lead of more than nine seconds at the time. DiBenedetto led 56 laps to earned the Wix Filters Lap Leader Award.
Kobyluck's Repeat Bid Takes at Hit ... While he had an uphill climb in an attempt to repeat as series champion, the stars were aligned for Matt Kobyluck to have a legitimate shot at contending entering Lime Rock. A standout on road courses, Kobyluck had won three of the previous four races at the Connecticut circuit. His weekend took a turn for the worse on qualifying day, however, as water was found in the gas tank and he was not able to record a lap in qualifying. After starting from the rear Kobyluck then had a series of mechanical issues throughout the race before spinning on Lap 71 in the wreck that eventually took out DiBenedetto.
Up Next: Sunoco 150
Dover (Del.) International Speedway figures to be the site for yet another NASCAR Camping World Series East champion to be crowned.
Following this week's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the final event of the 2009 Camping World Series East season is slated for Friday, Sept. 25.
The Sunoco 150 will be the ninth all-time race for the Camping World Series East at the "Monster Mile" since 1998 and will mark the sixth-consecutive year of competition at the concrete oval.
Each of the first eight events at Dover have produced different pole and race winners. Last year it was Brian Ickler and Aric Almirola who earned the pole and race wins, respectively, but neither will return in 2009, which will open the door to continue the trend of first-timers.
Perhaps overshadowing the efforts of Ickler and Almirola last year at Dover was Matt Kobyluck, who clinched the first Camping World Series East title of his career in the race. With just 50 points separating current season points leaders Ryan Truex and Eddie MacDonald entering this week, Dover once again looks to be the site for crowing a first-time champion.