ES: Thompson: Round seven preview

* Kobyluck Studied Thompson Track for Years Before 2007 Win * Series Concludes Connecticut Short-Track Run * Music City, Lime Rock Park on Horizon DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 11, 2007) -- The NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch...

*   Kobyluck Studied Thompson Track for Years Before 2007 Win

* Series Concludes Connecticut Short-Track Run
* Music City, Lime Rock Park on Horizon

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 11, 2007) -- The NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series makes its 24th appearance at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in the Pepsi Racing 100 Saturday, July 14.

The event's defending champion Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet), of Uncasville, Conn., has been looking forward to the event. He studied the track and his car's performance for several years, and finally work his way to Victory Lane in the 2006 Pepsi Racing 100.

"The biggest hurdle at Thompson was finding the right combination for what works there, and then having some luck on the track," Kobyluck said. "We had a top-five car there for five years before won there last year, and sometimes didn't end up in the top-five. Last year, we were able to capitalize on what we learned.

"We had been building our Thompson program. We didn't win that race by accident. We had a dominant race car and we should have won that event. It turned out, as luck would have it, that we did.

"If you have difficulty at some tracks over the years, you might be able to try different things and find what works for you and your car. When Thompson was paved several years ago, the car set-up became totally different. Either way, I've always felt like we had a lot of success at Thompson, and I've always looked forward to running there."

There was added significance to Kobyluck's home-state victory at Thompson last year. It gave him a victory at every track on which he has competed in Connecticut. He had previously won at Stafford Motor Speedway, Lime Rock Park, and Waterford Speedbowl, but a NASACR Busch East Series win at Thompson proved elusive.

"Lime Rock Park is the only track where I've only raced NASCAR Busch East Series cars," Kobyluck said. "All the others, I ran Late Models, Pro Stocks and SK Modifieds and was successful at all those levels. To be that successful at all those tracks in the NASCAR Busch East Series is a great feeling. The Thompson win was a great homecoming. It's one of my home tracks and we had a bunch of fans there. I was finally able to get to victory lane at their track. The Connecticut fans have always been good to me, and hopefully we can put another good show on for them Saturday."

With an expanded series schedule that has already taken the series to places such as Elko, Minn., and Newton, Iowa, Kobyluck will also enjoy racing close to home this weekend.

"It's pretty refreshing," he said. "We've done a lot of traveling and we're getting to see new places and expand our fans base. The change has been great and it's bringing great things to our series. We've been going to some great facilities. This weekend, we're racing at a great facility close to home."


* The race ... This event is the seventh race for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series in 2007. It is the final Connecticut short-track appearance for the series, which next appears for its inaugural appearance on July 22 at Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tenn., a track drivers say is similar to Thompson. The series then returns to Connecticut for a final time to race at Lime Rock Park, a 1.53-mile road course in Lakeville July 28.

* The track ... Thompson International Speedway was opened on May 26, 1940 as the first asphalt-paved speedway in the nation. Until the track was built by John Hoenig, American race tracks were brick (Indianapolis) board, or dirt. The track remains a premier speedway in the Northeast, and is operated by Hoenig's son, Donald, and grandson, D.R.

* Competing for Showdown spot ... NASCAR Busch East Series drivers still have six events left to secure a spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown by winning a race. Only Grand National race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field. All others must race their way in. Joey Logano, Matt Kobyluck, Sean Caisse and Eddie MacDonald have secured spots in the Showdown with Busch East wins.

* rNASCAR Busch East Series at Thompson ... Thompson International Speedway has hosted 23 NASCAR Busch East Series races since 1988. Bobby Dragon won the inaugural series event at Thompson on July 31, 1988. Pete Silva finished second followed by Dale Shaw, Jimmy Spencer, and Randy LaJoie. Ricky Craven and Mike Stefanik lead all winners with three victories each. Dragon, Bard Leighton, Kelly Moore, and Jerry Marquis have each won there twice. Drivers with one win each at Thompson include Ken Bouchard, Tom Carey, Robbie Crouch, Jeff Fuller, Tracy Gordon, Kobyluck, Eddie MacDonald, Andy Santerre, and Martin Truex, Jr. Of those winners, Leighton, Kobyluck and MacDonald are entered for the 2007 Pepsi Racing 100. In addition, Santerre owns the team for which driver Sean Caisse of Pelham, N.H. drives.

Fast Facts

What: Pepsi Racing 100
NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series Race # 7

Where: Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, Conn.
When: 9 p.m., Saturday, July 14.

Track layout: .625-mile paved oval
Distance: 100 Laps, 62.50 miles.

Posted Awards: $117,312

TV: HDNet, Live (Enhanced replay, SPEED, Noon, August 8, 2007)

2006 winner: Matt Kobyluck.
2006 polesitter: Sean Caisse.

Records: Qualifying, Martin Truex, Jr. (20.200 seconds, 111.386 mph), July 13, 2002

Pre-race schedule: Saturday -- Practice, 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Qualifying, 5:15 p.m. Note: All times subject to change.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Jeff Fuller , Jimmy Spencer , Ricky Craven , Martin Truex Jr. , Matt Kobyluck , Joey Logano , Sean Caisse , Eddie MacDonald