Stars Of NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East Headed For Thompson Speedway

(Press Release from Thompson Speedway)

For the second-straight year, the stars of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East are headed for Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut this weekend.

The King Cadillac GMC 100 will be the one, and only, Throwback event on the schedule for the K&N Series in 2018. Teams will have the opportunity to use their paint schemes to throwback to something in their past, or something that caught their eye. For example, Anthony Alfredo, who enters the race fourth in the current K&N championship standings, will throwback to Sterling Marlin’s No. 40 Monster Energy Cup Series ride as he looks for his second career victory on Saturday.

Spencer Davis, who will drive the No. 13 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet for Danny Watts, will throwback to Ted Christopher with Christopher’s famed paint scheme he ran most recently in the SK Modifieds at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Brandon McReynolds, who drives for Visconti Motorsports, has a paint scheme on his car that is a throwback to Visconti’s father’s ride from more than three decades ago. McReynolds will be seeking his first K&N Series victory this season, and will be making his first career start at Thompson.

The event is the eighth race of the season for the division as they begin to get ready for their championship chase to hit the final stretch. Tyler Ankrum, who has one victory, holds a 16-point advantage in the standings over Tyler Dippel. Both drivers have the best average finish among all competitors, and have put together an impressive start to the season as they both look to become first-time champions.

The entry list for the event includes multiple former winners on the series, and one NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular. Chase Dowling, who has just one prior start in the series, will drive the No. 31 for Ted Marsh Racing. In his only previous start, Dowling finished inside the top 10 at Dover in 2016.

And even though the series returned to Thompson for the first time since 2009 last year, plenty of races were already in the record books at the 0.625-mile oval. In 28 prior events, including last year, Ricky Craven and Mike Stefanik (three) hold the record for the most wins. Behind them, multiple drivers have captured the checkered flag at Thompson on two occasions.

Most recently, Harrison Burton captured glory in 2017, winning the Thompson Throwback 100 en route to his first career K&N Pro Series East championship. Burton is listed as the youngest winner at Thompson in the series, at age 20. Back in 2001, defending Monster Energy Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. drove into the winner’s circle, while the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, Trevor Bayne, was able to win the event in 2008.

In fact, more than a few drivers who won in K&N action at Thompson went on to run at least select events in the top series of the sport.

Along with the K&N Pro Series East teams, a full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing is on the card for Saturday night. The Late Models, Mini Stocks, Limited Sportsman and Division I Sunoco Modifieds will all compete in qualifying and feature racing. As an addition, the Lite Modifieds and Open Vintage Modifieds will also compete in feature racing as part of the Throwback night.

In the Sunoco Modifieds, Keith Rocco will look to continue his dominant start, having won all three events so far in 2018. The Late Model championship chase will heat up with Nick Johnson and Woody Pitkat both looking to gain a clear-cut advantage. Shawn Monahan will look to continue his dominant roll in the Limited Sportsman as he looks for his second-straight title, while the Mini Stock fight includes Eric Bourgeois and Jared Roy.

Fans can enter the grandstands for just $35, while those who are under the age of 12 will be allowed to enter for free. The paddock fee for the night is $50, and the opportunity to enter the paddock will give fans the chance to walk right through the garage area and see some of their favorite K&N Pro Series East drivers, and their cars.

For more information on the event, including some of the latest updates from the track, fans are encouraged to follow the track on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Comments

  1. There are only 14 cars entered so far. When this was still Busch North in the late 90’s and early 2000’s they would often have close 14 cars not qualify for races. Trying to gear the series towards “developmental” kind of backfired. Driving off almost all of the old teams and most of the old tracks worked for NASCAR for a few years because they a bunch of Cup teams fielding cars in the series. But those Cup team bailed too leaving it just to be “rent a ride” series. And most of the people that can afford to do that will go to ARCA instead(which is also a rent a ride series now) because that has better TV coverage. I can see those 2 series eventually merging. I used to go to most of the races on the Busch North schedule and actually attended the first ever “stand alone” race when the series started. But I highly doubt I will be there Saturday night for this one. The series actually held on a bit longer than some others. NASCAR drove the Super Late Model type(Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, Northwest)tours right into the ground and out of existence over a decade ago. And if it was not for Thompson and Stafford the Modified Tour would probably be gone too.

  2. Jeff B. says:

    While it pains me to see what the former Busch North has been, at times I wonder if this is where the series may have been going anyway. What we know as the K&N Pro East Series is what NASCAR saw as the most sustainable option for the series going forward.

    This is no knock against the teams and drivers who supported the Busch North Series. Rather, it’s an admission that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow isn’t big enough to chase. Among the fendered tours I’d say PASS is probably the closest analogue to the BNS based on the talent pool and depth of the series. PASS has five drivers who have run all the races so far. That’s it. ACT has about twice that. It’s not that the series don’t have supporters; there’s just not enough money in it to make it worth the full-season chase. Would a modern Busch North be rich enough to entice those, say, 15 teams to run full-time? Even if you did, that’s still only half the entries at a mid-’90s Busch North race.

    I figured the Busch East transition was probably half and half to grow the series as well as to fill a void left by the demise of the Elite Division (as if a bunch of guys were going to sell off their All Pro cars and buy an old Busch car to race a series that was still focused on greater New England). But you can’t help but wonder if NASCAR somehow predicted that, between the economic downturn and the phasing out of the Busch-style platform, they were likely going to lose a lot of local teams in the coming years. It’s giving them a lot of credit, but you never know what was discussed in the background. Maybe they felt that even if New England drivers were priced out, the development programs would fill that void. It worked, for a while.

    But yeah, as someone who remembers the heyday of Busch North – and to be fair, I’m too young to have experienced it as more than a wide-eyed teenage fan, and I missed a lot of great years – fourteen cars hurts to see.

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