Colorado National Speedway: The Race In Pictures

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

The 10th Race of the NASCAR “K& N Pro” West Season took place on the excellent oval track at the Colorado National Speedway.   Brett Thompson, driving the RTTI Chevrolet Impala SS, finished 3rd.

Brett finished the two scheduled practice sessions in 10th, and 4th, respectively. Later in the day he “Qualified” 7th for the Saturday evening race. Following a very competitive race and a 3rd place finish, Brett moved to 5th position in season points. The race was won by Dylan Kwasniewski in the Gene Price Motorsports #03 car. It was his first K&N victory.  TMS congratulates Dylan on that milestone.

For Thompson Motorsports the week began with a practice day at the CNS.  After completion of that practice, the TMS Hauler drove to the Ft. Morgan/Wiggins area of NE Colorado. Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. operates an Executive and Field Office at that location.  Several Business meetings, as well as a Hospitality BBQ for RTTI local employees and friends, were scheduled at the RTTI satellite office in the days prior to the race.

In the end analysis, the Colorado event was an excellent one for both Thompson Motorsports and its primary sponsor, RTTI.

Thunder Clouds gather over NE Colorado as the TMS Hauler waits to leave the Colorado Field Office for the Speedway. Meteorologists refer to this general location – that being the area joining the borders of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska – as “Hail Alley”.

This scenic location for a race track lies about 20 miles due north of Denver (CO).

Apparently some local residents were not too happy with race car transport interfering with their tranquility!

Most of the Haulers were within the track confines by 4 PM on Friday. Then they had to wait for NASCAR’s Designated Track Entry Time.

Saturday morning, race day, dawned bright and clear, a welcome relief from several days of Thunderstorms. However, the day promised to be very hot!  It was, and it reached 104F in the pits.

With the car unloaded the Team prepares it for NASCAR Tech and the two scheduled practice sessions.

The #61 TMS car clears Tech

Brett Thompson heads out for Practice #1.

TMS Crew Chief Charlie Wilson has a few words with an old friend and highly respected So. Cal. Engine Builder, Bill Maropulos

#61: the 2nd practice session

A Special Event: Series Director Joey Mancari Leads a group of NASCAR Officials and Series Sponsor “K&N”, in a tribute to Jack sellers.  Jack was about to complete his 250th race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.  K&N awarded Jack a new driver’s suit while a good hearted Joey Mancari teases Jack with a photo said to be of his first race car – a 4 horse CHARIOT!  The Chariot, too, was # XV.

Brett Thompson Qualifying: the first 10 cars were exceptionally close in their times

With Qualifying complete, there was time to, again, say hello to the RTTI/Colorado Operations staff.

For RTTI there was considerable pride in having so many of our people as guests for the Colorado Event.

Several other old friends joined RTTI/TMS to form their own #61 cheering section

As race time approached there was some concern about Thunderstorms interfering with the event.

The SPEED Channel camera operator, looking North, seemed to feel that the storms would pass to the South.  They did!

The Crewmembers push the cars into position for Driver Introduction and Race lineup.

At Driver Introduction Brett receives an award for his performance at the Portland International Raceway. These awards are made by one of the respected sponsors of the series, “Featherlite” Coaches and Trailers.

At 8:20 PM, the green flag is about to wave.

For the 1st half of the race positions were fairly static.  Here Brett has moved to 6th place.  However, the car was reacting well to the cooling track surface and to its overall balance with worn tires

This race had only two spins – and no accidents! That made it a very fast race. Above is an example of what a driver sees when a spin does take place. Hidden in the smoke is a 3rd car; an approaching driver has to spot it – and avoid it – all within fractions of a second!  It often boils down to a time-critical guess!

For the last 35 laps, Brett Thompson and Greg Pursley (#35) engaged in a superb driver’s battle for 2nd place.

The race ended with a 2 lap “Green, White, Checkered ”; Brett Thompson crossed the finish line 3rd.  Above: Brett being interviewed by SPEED Channel reporters.

A post race, Local Media, Interview

Following the race the top 5 cars are subject to a NASCAR mandated, and random, Inspection.

Following the race, fans walk the pit area to look at the cars and to get autographs, this time on a tire!

Special Reporting: With roughly 35 laps remaining Brett Thompson began a challenge for second place. While the #61 was getting faster with changing track conditions, the normally superb #26 of Greg Pursley was slightly ”off” it’s expected performance level. This set the stage for a terrific racing battle for 2nd place.  While the #61 was marginally quicker, the #26 held the forward position. Both of these drivers were highly experienced professionals, and for over 30 laps, put on a great show. The #61 never attempted to ‘dump’ or ‘pit’ the #26 – while the #26 never tried to ‘chop’ or ‘block’ the #61 (see photo above). In the end, Greg prevailed, due in part to favorable track position, hard driving and, the very clever use of lapped cars as ‘picks’ which impeded Brett’s progress. (Below) After the race, both drivers express their mutual respect for each other’s Track Professionalism and, an unspoken admiration for the Sportsmanship exhibited by each.  It was ‘clean’ racing at its very best!

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