Iowa Speedway the Race in Pictures

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

The fourth race of the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place, June, 7 at the Iowa Speedway. The geometry of the Newton IA track is a 7/8 mile, D-shaped, oval.  With substantial banking and multiple grooves, this track is surprisingly quick and capable of producing mid 130 mph qualifying speeds and maximum end point speeds of 160 mph. These figures tend to be very similar to those achieved at PIR.

For ‘Iowa’, the #61 RTTI Impala was a heavily redesigned race car and there were high expectations for its performance.  However, as befitting a race season filled with a large measure of bad fortune, the TMS car unloaded from the hauler as average performer throughout both practice sessions.  In fact, the car resisted virtually every change the TMS technical crew made on it. However, just prior to the qualifying session, the TMS crew made a large number of changes to the car, and they worked!  Brett Thompson, following a strategy of being aggressively safe, ran two solid laps and qualified 25th. Afterward Brett commented that the car, as now setup, was good and definitely would race well.

That indeed was the case.  With Brett Thompson making good use of the outside line in the corners, the #61 Impala SS showed itself to be a formidable competitor.  After starting 25th the #61 car moved forward rapidly.  With only 52 laps completed – of which only 35 were green flag racing – Brett Thompson was fighting for 13th place.  More importantly, the #61 was one of the fastest cars on the track. Then the bad luck of the TMS 2013 season again showed its ugly side.  Following an engine overheating issue, a disastrous right front end mechanical failure resulted in the #61 going directly into the turn #1 wall.  Thus, by lap 59, the TMS race came to end.  In spite of the high speed impact with the speedway wall, Brett Thompson was OK, but some residual impact soreness persisted.  Clearly, a little bit of good luck would make both Brett, and Thompson Motorsports, feel a lot better.

The Iowa Race Weekend began damp, cloudy and, cool.

Early work on the car setup also includes tire choice

Somewhere down in there is an answer to one of the problems to be solved

Before the cars can get on the track they must go through NASCAR Tech Inspection

As the cool and cloudy mornings give way to sunny afternoons, the NASCAR Officials conduct inspections under a tent.

The roof height of the car is measured; the method used is both simple and foolproof

Series Director Les Westerfield (R) is commendably involved in the Tech process. Here Les is shown talking with a well respected Series Official who is referred to by all with a single name: “Butch”.

CFR members can be a driver’s best friend … especially those with sunglasses like these!

Friday’s practice sessions were defined by a very loose race car; it was later found that a part of the problem was due to redirected airflow over the rear spoiler associated with moderate hood crush. And yes, the hood was reinforced prior to Qualifying.

A common sight during practice sessions: driver and crew discuss adjustments needed for improving on track performance.

43 cars line up for Qualifying

Pictured on the backstretch the #61 is suddenly a good car as it qualifies a satisfying 25th.

With race time approaching, familiar activities take place. Shown here is the driver autograph session.

The cars are initially lined up in the garage area.

A rare “Full TMS Crew” photograph.

Brett Thompson

The cars are lined up on pit road.

As the cars are lined up for the race, Brett Thompson is being introduced to the fans.

After several parade laps the race begins.

The early laps; the cars are pictured between turns #1 and #2.

Brett Thompson went from 25th to 13th in the first 52 laps. Shortly after this image was recorded the failure of a right front suspension part caused the #61 car to crash heavily into the turn #1 wall. This marked the end of what was a splendid driving performance.

As the evening fades to darkness, the wounded #61 is loaded into the Hauler.  Rich Thompson, owner and CEO of both RTTI and TMS, simply said “another night of racing”. It is always about a devotion to the sport.

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