Colorado National Speedway: The Race in Photos

Photojournalism: R. A. Fariello | Photography by Gina Graham Fariello

The 8th race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place on 26 July at the Colorado National Speedway.  Thompson Motorsports brought the familiar “Blu.Lng/ RTTI” #61 Chevrolet to the race.  This car had proved itself to be very quick in prior races held at faster tracks such as Phoenix {PIR} and the Irwindale Event Center.  It was a reasonable expectation that the #61 car would also be ‘good’ at the fairly quick 3/8ths mile oval at the CNS.

That was certainly not the case. As if it had its own personality, the car simply refused to respond to the multitude of changes that Crew Chief Will Harris made on the car. In spite of the TMS crew efforts, the car’s practice session times were ‘stuck’ around 7th quick. Later, the #61 qualified 7th and, incredibly, it was no faster around the track with new tires on it than it was with worn ‘practice’ tires! These are the bewildering moments that leave a Race Crew wondering if the Perrine Bridge is really ‘high enough’!

As if the car’s on track behavior was not mercurial enough, it still had an additional issue to spring on the TMS Team. After qualifying, and while being pushed into the “impound area”, the car developed an oil leak. The fix was fairly simple as a new oil line was fitted. The effect however, was major. Working on a car after Qualifying relegates that car to a last place starting position. As a result Brett Thompson would have to deal with an unpredictable handling car, and one that now had to start the race from last place!

For Thompson Motorsports, Brett Thompson, and the entire TMS Crew the CNS race represented a weekend of sevens: a “777” since the #61 car finished the race in 7th position. Triple 7s may be a good Las Vegas bet but in racing, “771” would have been much better. The CNS story is pictured below.

Prior to the CNS race, the Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. hauler made a stop at the Corporation’s satellite trucking operations office located in Wiggins {CO}. The purpose of this trip was the annual barbeque for the employees, suppliers, and friends of RTTI, who work out of the Wiggins location. RTTI greatly values these local people who do such a good job of making this Office work as a semi-autonomous extension of the anchor office in Jerome ID

Summer, and monsoon driven thunder showers are a normal afternoon expectation. Above; the RTTI hauler parks in its NASCAR designated slot while the thunder clouds build up. They serve as a forecast for the race day weather!

The TMS Crew readies the #61 car for initial inspection and the first of two scheduled practice sessions

Although the #61 “Blu.Lng/RTTI” Chevy looks perfect, it is a long way from being so. Brett Thompson drives it off the track as the TMS crew readies to ‘work’ on the car. That repeatable pattern continued throughout the day, but the car resisted all attempts to make it inherently quick at the CNS

Ever more adjusting had little effect on the car’s lackluster and unpredictable performance

Looking for speed, Brett Thompson is shown testing the ‘high line’ during practice. However, the car did not perform any better ‘up high’ than it did on the low line

A “BOMBER” at CNS!!  Jane Thompson {L} and photographer Gina Graham-Fariello were uninjured

Late afternoon qualifying and, with a lot of hard driving and ‘dirt tracking’, Brett Thompson was able to qualify 7th for the race. Later Brett remarked that the car could be made to go fast only at the expense of TIRES! Another race was taking place: That was between fans entering the track verses the dark skies of approaching thunderstorms

Checkered flags or not, there would definitely be some wet feet when the thunderstorms arrived

After qualifying, TMS Crew members Jake {L} and J P {a NW Truck Series Champion} take a short work break

The drivers meeting, conducted by the always professionally dressed NASCAR K&N Series Director Kip Childress, is an outdoor event at CNS. Fortunately, the approaching thunderstorms were still 45 minutes away

Before the race Brett Thompson meets with two of his most dedicated fans. One fan got his shirt autographed which then led to his sister also wanting her dress signed. “Dad” {pictured to the right} and mom quickly suggested that ‘dresses do not get autographed’. A smile can always ease the pressures of the moment

After qualifying 7th, the #61 car is, by rule, parked in a NASCAR designated Impound area. It was then noticed that the car was leaking oil. The repair was made – but the car would now have to start the race in last place

Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. had its own cheering section for the CNS race. Shown above are Tammie Niemoth  {Manager of the RTTI Wiggins CO Division} and her husband Steve

Turning the tables on the photographer: John Dalrymple {RTTI/Wiggins Fleet Supervisor}, wife Sheila, and family are shown having a laugh as they engage in a little lighthearted ‘payback’ aimed at the TMS photographer

From RTTI comes a warm welcome, and thanks, to all of their Wiggins CO employees, friends, and staff

As race time approached, so did the Thunderstorms. For the TMS Crew, a 14 hour day now became a 16 hour day

The cars begin to line up for the start of the race.  The #61 car of Brett Thompson can be seen leaving room for the other cars to line up in front of it

Brett Thompson’s intense drive forward was documented by his gain of 6 positions in the first 10 laps

By lap 40, the #61 was in 10th place. However, the mysterious handling problems experienced during the day persisted. Here the #61 is shown trying to find a high ‘racing line’ where the car would work best. Unfortunately, hard racing in an unpredictable car also carries the price of excessive tire wear

As the scoreboard shows, by lap 105 of 150, Brett Thompson had driven the #61 car to 5th place, and, into contention for the win. However, the very hard driving necessary to make this car competitive also produced heavy tire wear. After this point in the race the #61 lap times began to increase and Brett had to ‘hang on’ to finish 7th

With the race over, the car is ready to be loaded on the Hauler. 7th was a very good result for this car – and that good result could only be attributed to Brett’s superb driving. What about the car? It will most probably be relegated to racing on larger and faster tracks

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