Kern County Raceway: The Race in Photos

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

The 1st race of the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place on 28 March at the Kern County Raceway. The Kern Raceway, a new and superb facility, is located roughly a dozen miles west of Bakersfield CA.  For the 2015 Season the Thompson Motorsports Race Shop is supporting a second entry, that entry being the #46 Boise State University sponsored car of Hannah Newhouse. In addition to being a race car driver, Hannah Newhouse is an 18 year old double major student attending BSU. She has compiled an extensive race resume and also has been associated with, and partially supported by, Thompson Motorsports for the last 4 years.

Both Brett Thompson’s RTTI/BluLng #61 car and Hannah’s Boise State University #46 car were tested extensively during a Friday test session and again on Saturday’s NASCAR sanctioned Race Day testing.

After all testing was complete Hannah’s #46 BSU car qualified 16th and Brett’s #61 car qualified 9th. The starting grid for the race totaled 26 cars.

During the race both cars had small issues that affected their on-track performance. Hannah, in her #46 car, was having difficulty ‘transitioning’ {i.e., “push”} out of the corners. Meanwhile, Brett’s #61 was very quick for a half dozen laps after the start or restart, but gradually slowed with additional laps.

However, both TMS drivers raced well and, most importantly, both moved forward from their initial starting positions with Brett finishing 8th and Hannah 12th.

The quiet of the Friday morning arrival at the Kern County Raceway belies the intense activity that is only 30 hours away.

Before long, the race support vehicles begin to arrive at the track.

The cars are unloaded and initial setup begins. Hannah participates in one of several Media Interviews directed at her. It is ‘all good’ for both her and her car’s sponsor, Boise State University.

Car Chief, “Big Willie” {or “Big Daddy” for this new father} begins work on pre-inspection car setup.

Meanwhile, in Hannah’s pit, the highly regarded Crew Chief Duane Knorr confers with his tech crew.

During Friday’s practice, the #61 of Brett Thompson was consistently quick.

Hannah’s car was satisfactory during Fridays practice; it did, however, require additional adjustments.

Brett Thompson’s #61 entering turn #3 at around 125 mph. The slight ‘lift’ of the front valence from the track is by design and is intended to aid in weight transfer to the rear wheels under hard acceleration.

Hannah’s #46 car on Turn #3 entry. Both TMS cars looked good at this track location.

NASCAR K&N Series Director Kip Childress is shown conducting the drivers meeting. Many new changes, most related to safety, were being reviewed at this 1st of the season meeting.

At this race, Brett Thompson has his own cheering section.

The #61 car at NASCAR Technical Inspection.

TMS welder and car mechanic Jake Bates at the NASCAR Tech area: When asked what the mallet is for he explained that if the car did not pass inspection, the mallet is used to get its ATTENTION!

The real “Go Daddy”: Brett’s daughter cheers him on during his Qualifying Laps. He was 9th.

Hannah looked good on her qualifying lap but the ‘early on the throttle’ run off the corners was still and issue. Hannah qualified a respectable16th.

With Qualifying complete the cars are impounded in the pit area.

With time on their hands, Team Owner Rich Thompson chats with TMS Crew Chief Will Harris.

Four wonderful friends who absolutely LOVE to RACE …. to any nearby quilt shop or shopping center!!

The cars line up on the track … Driver Introduction is to follow.

Hannah Newhouse is introduced to the applause of an enthused crowd.

Brett Thompson Introduction.

26 cars await the command to start their engines.

A very good crowd was present for the race.

The pace car lights are out and the race is about to begin.

Initially the #61 car was very fast and within 6 laps it was fighting for third place … and then the car lost its edge and it, essentially, reverted itself into a top 10 car.

The RTTI car of Brett Thompson was being expertly driven to an 8th place finish.

Hannah Newhouse spent the first half of the race positioned similar to her Qualifying effort.

The second half of the race Hannah picked up her pace. Here she is shown setting up a pass while entering turn #3. Her steady forward progress resulted in a 12th place finish.

There was a mandatory pit stop on lap #75.

Brett Thompson’s mandatory pit stop area.

Above; an abstract look at a restart nearing the end of the race.

The TMS cars, the RTTI #61car of Brett Thompson and the Boise State University #46 car of Hannah Newhouse, will race again on 4.11.15 at the venerable Irwindale Speedway {CA}. All of us at TMS very much appreciate your support.

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