Meridian Speedway: The Race in Photos

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

The 11th race of the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place on September 5 at the Meridian ID Speedway. While this track is very short {1/4 mile} it is also well maintained and it is also a true ‘two groove’ layout that allows for excellent side-by-side racing. For TMS, and their associated teams, Meridian is a de facto Home Track.

The familiar TMS #61 Blu.Lng car was again joined by the TMS supported, and Boise State University sponsored, #46 of the well known Hannah Newhouse. Additionally, a third entry associated with TMS and the Newhouse family was present: Still painted in TMS colors was the #61 race truck driven by the highly talented Mason Newhouse, the  younger brother of Hannah Newhouse.

Both Brett Thompson and Hannah Newhouse had trouble getting their respective cars to rotate in the corners. Hannah seemed to be having more success than Brett and she both practiced, and qualified, slightly better than Brett. Note; the Mason Newhouse truck practiced quicker than the track record – which is held by his sister, Hannah!

A Brief Recap: #1, Brett Thompson, starting far back in 15th place, produced an exceptional ‘drive’ and eventually moved his ill handling car up into a fight for 6th place. With 30 laps to go a flat front tire forced the #61 into the pits and resulted in a 9th place finish. #2, Hannah Newhouse had, at one point, moved her car up to 8th place. However, multiple uncalled for “racing incidents” forced her to spin off the track several times. Undaunted, she recovered enough to cross the finish line in 13th place.

It must be said that an air of sadness permeated the Thompson Motorsports race effort and also within the Corporate Offices of the #61 car sponsor, Rich Thompson Trucking ,Inc. A longtime RTTI dispatcher, and friend to all, Tom Thompson lost his 17 year old son to a freakish ‘Sport Jeeping’ rollover accident. Dylan and his father Tom were, and are, exceptional human beings; this racing event was dedicated to the memory of Dylan’s life.

Greetings from Meridian

A good car can do a lap in 13 seconds … and over 8 turns in a minute. This 416 ‘turn’ race keeps drivers very busy.

The cars of Brett Thompson and Hannah Newhouse are unloaded on an unseasonably cool race day morning.

Pre-Practice NASCAR Tech is an early morning expectation

For this race TMS crewmember Jake Bates assumes the position of Tire Tech. Since the NASCAR K&N Pro Series must use ‘bias ply’ racing tires, precise measurements of a tire are necessary to create a desirable tire “stager”

‘Meridian’ is located at the base of a {A guess, anyone?} large yellow water tower. Series Director Kip Childress holds the race trophy which is a replica ….. ??? Kip has a good sense of ‘photograph vision’ as can often be seen on race postings on the “NASCAR Home Tracks” web page. For race fans, that web site is highly recommended

The cars are ready for two Practice Sessions and Qualifying

The Boise State University car of Hannah Newhouse is also ready to be on the track

Time to go!

Hannah on track: The car was OK but her pit crew remained frustrated at a “hitch at the apex of the turns”. Hannah would later qualify mid pack

Brett Thompson on track: The car just would not respond to any adjustments … including NEW tires! Subsequently, Brett Practiced 12th and Qualified 15th. Initially, not much was expected from the #61, but a remarkable drive by Brett made it competitive by the last quarter of the race

Between Qualifying and the 8:30 PM race time, there is a period of relaxation for the NASCAR Teams. The fans also arrive at the track and, in this case, almost everyone pictured is family, friends, or employees of TMS or RTTI

Keeping with “TMS Associations”, it should be noted that “JP” – the multiple time, and current, Truck Series Champion – is both a friend and a part time Pit Crew Member for Thompson Motorsports

Owned at one time by TMS, this truck is now raced by Hannah’s younger brother, Mason Newhouse. Mason started his race very deep in the field but, using his fast and smooth driving technique, finished 4th. In doing so, he was the fastest truck on the track during the closing laps

Parade laps prior to the start of the race

Hannah Newhouse and the BSU car entering turn #1

Early Laps: Brett was still fighting the car in an effort to find some driving technique ‘line’ that the car would respond to. He did, and 100 laps later he was fighting for 6th place

As the laps passed the cars of both Hannah and Brett were showing some of the results of short track racing. For Hannah, a promising evening was spoiled by 3 spins all created by the beating and banging of short track racing

By the end of the race the cars show why short tracks are often referred to as Bullrings! During the race Brett was ‘punted’ off track and had to visit the pits for a flat tire. Given the cars handling deficiencies, a 9th place finish was still considered as being favorable

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