ES: Thompson: Round six preview

News & Notes, Thompson - NASCAR Camping World Series East * Matt Kobyluck to Make 150th Series Start at Thompson * Thompson, NASCAR Share Long History Together * Most Popular Driver Voting Now Open Online Experience Counts -- Kobyluck, ...

News & Notes, Thompson - NASCAR Camping World Series East

* Matt Kobyluck to Make 150th Series Start at Thompson
* Thompson, NASCAR Share Long History Together
* Most Popular Driver Voting Now Open Online

Experience Counts -- Kobyluck, MacDonald hitting their stride at the perfect time

The NASCAR Camping World Series East has evolved into a development series for talented young drivers. But it's still a great place for experienced veterans.

In a series that produced a 17-year-old champion last year and an 18-year-old point leader this season, Matt Kobyluck, 38, and Eddie MacDonald, 28, are more than holding their own.

Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet), will make his 150th career start Saturday at Thompson International Speedway. MacDonald (No. 71 Grimm Construction Chevrolet), makes start number 102. The duo enter Saturday's Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100 having won the previous two races.

Kobyluck won the NASCAR Camping World East 125 at the famed 2.450-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course on June 8, while MacDonald won the Heluva Good! 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 1.058-mile superspeedway in Loudon, N.H.

Each have won on Thompson's venerable .625-mile banked oval -- Kobyluck in 2006 and MacDonald in 2005.

"The biggest hurdle at Thompson was finding the right combination for what works there and then having some luck on the race track," said Kobyluck, who enters the race just 48 points behind leader Austin Dillon.

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

Last season, Kobyluck and MacDonald arrived at Thompson having won the previous two races, with Kobyluck's win at South Boston (Va,) Speedway followed by MacDonald's win in race five at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.

At Thompson last year, Kobyluck qualified 12th and finished second to Sean Caisse, while Mac- Donald qualified third and finished 16th after a late race spin.

Kobyluck has been the series' leading road course performer at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut between 2005-2007, when it was on hiatus from Watkins Glen. During those three seasons, at Lime Rock, Kobyluck won all three poles, posted two wins and a second-place finish.

"A win at Watkins Glen is what I felt like would classify me as a top-notch road racer," Kobyluck said. "It's another thing to go to Watkins Glen and win. I was able to back up what I've been able to do the last three years at Lime Rock.

When they arrived at New Hampshire, MacDonald was looking to rebound from a 27th-place finish at Watkins Glen, while Kobyluck was looking to improve his rocky relationship with Lady Luck at New Hampshire.

In 24 previous career starts there, Kobyluck had only three top-fives and six top-10 finishes. A third-place outcome was fine with him, especially when it vaulted him from fourth to second in points.

The driver, crew chief Rollie Lachance and team owner Rob Grimm realized the potential of their combination by winning at New Hampshire.

For MacDonald, his New Hampshire win was the fourth -- and biggest -- of his career. With 16 New Hampshire starts behind him adding up to an average finish of 37th, his win was a dream come true.

"We were fast right from the start so I knew if we just ran our race, we would be there at the end," MacDonald said. "Our entire team is made up of volunteers, so this win is all the sweeter."

Ironically, MacDonald's first race with Grimm came last year at Thompson.

News & Notes

The race ... The Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100 is the sixth of 13 on the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East schedule. It is also the 25th appearance of the series at Thompson International Speedway since 1988.

The procedure ... The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 100 laps (62.50 miles).

The track ... Thompson International Speedway opened by John Hoenig on May 26, 1940 as the first asphalt-paved speedway in the nation. At the time, American race track surfaces were brick (Indianapolis), board or dirt. Thompson is still a premier NASCAR track in the northeast, and is operated by Hoenig's son Donald, and grandson D.R.

The records ... Qualifying: Martin Truex Jr., July 13, 2002, 111.386 mph, 20.200 seconds. 100-lap race: Eddie MacDonald, Oct. 30, 2005, 64.43 mph, 59 minutes, 22 seconds.

The history ... Thompson has held 24 events dating back to 1988. Ricky Craven and Mike Stefanik have won three apiece, while Bobby Dragon, Brad Leighton, Kelly Moore and Jerry Marquis have won two each. Sean Caisse holds the record with three Coors Light Pole Awards.

Previous winners entered ... Previous Thompson NASCAR Camping World Series East winners entered for this event include Matt Kobyluck (2006) and MacDonald (2005). Last year, Kobyluck qualified 12th and finished second, while MacDonald qualified third and finished 16th.

Thompson And NASCAR Share Long History

Thompson International Speedway and NASCAR share a long history together. The track, founded by John Hoenig, hosted its first race in 1940, and was already in operation for eight years when NASCAR was established in 1948.

A decades-long host of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing, Thompson has helped produce NASCAR stars for generations. The track's featured division is the Sunoco

Modifieds. In 2001, Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship running at Thompson. Woody Pitkat finished second in the nation in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series last year racing at Thompson and Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. And Keith Rocco, Thompson's defending Sunoco Modified champion, currently leads the nation while also running at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and the New Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl.

Thompson's weekly Thursday night program also includes Late Models, Pro Stocks, Thompson Modifieds, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series also raced at Thompson three times, in 1951 (winner: Neil Cole), 1969 (David Pearson) and 1970 (Bobby Isaac).

Fans Head Online To Vote For Their Favorite Driver

Over the years, NASCAR fans have found numerous ways to show support for their favorite driver at every level of the sport, from their neighborhood short track to the monster superspeedways. Not the least of which is going to the track and cheering them on race day.

Now, there's another opportunity: an online ballot box.

Beginning Friday, July 4, fans can visit and vote for their favorite driver for the Most Popular Driver of the Year Award for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

In addition, will host the balloting for each of NASCAR's regional touring series -- the NASCAR Camping World Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Mexico Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio.

Fans may vote once per day and are encouraged to vote throughout the season. Balloting ends Sept. 27 for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series; Sept. 28 for NASCAR Camping

World Series East; Oct. 4 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour; Oct. 18 for NASCAR Camping World Series West; Oct. 19 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour; Oct. 26 for the NASCAR Mexico Series; and Oct. 31 for both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Results of the balloting will be announced at each of the respective series banquets at the end of the season.


The Race: Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100

The Place: Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 12

The Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: SPEED (enhanced replay) July 30, 1 p.m. ET

Track Layout: .625-mile paved
Race Purse: $113,595

2007 Winner: Sean Caisse
2007 Pole: Sean Caisse

Saturday: Practice Noon-12:45 p.m., 1:30-2:15 p.m. Time Trials 5:15 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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Drivers Ricky Craven , Martin Truex Jr. , Matt Kobyluck , Ted Christopher , Sean Caisse , Eddie MacDonald , Austin Dillon , Woody Pitkat , David Pearson