Phoenix International Raceway: The Race in Photos

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

The 14th race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place on 6 November at the Phoenix International Raceway {PIR}.  Thompson Motorsports brought their #61 car, specifically the chassis with the best performance record at PIR, to this November event. The race also had its expected representation of very fast K&N East Series cars, many with family ties to the large NASCAR race teams located in the NC area.

Also, as part of the Jerome/Twin Falls ID Group, a second car from the TMS Race Shop was also entered in the Race. That car, #36, was driven by the popular, well known, and very talented Boise State student, 18 year old Hannah Newhouse. The association of Thompson Motorsports and Hannah Newhouse is long and fruitful one and it has helped propel the highly capable Hannah into the higher levels of NASCAR racing. For Brett Thompson and the #61 car everything looked positive as the car that was so fast in the Spring race went out of the hauler directly to 5th place in practice. However, that initial speed began a vanishing act in subsequent testing and, it seemed to reject any changes made to improve its performance. The TMS crew was left to wonder what had made this previously fast car slow 7 months later. As the race time approached, the #61 was 14th quick in practice and it qualified a disappointing 15th. Later, a finishing position of 19th was a poor reward for so much hard work by the Team.

For Hannah Newhouse, the situation was slightly different. Her “Boise State University/Newhouse/TMS” entry was a good car whose primary purpose was to get Hannah race experience in the larger NASCAR K&N cars on a 150 mph track. Hannah practiced 25thand raced very well in achieving a stint in 17th place late in the race. Shortly thereafter, a tire began losing pressure and, with an unscheduled pit stop, the #36 car finished 23rd.

As for the #61 car, Brett Thompson said he never drove so hard only to go backward! At one point in the race Brett was able to move up to 12th place, but that was not to last. Eventually the hard driving in a poorly handling car took its toll as the #61 rubbed the #4 wall a few laps from the finish. For 2015 an all new body will be available for the NASCAR K&N teams – clearly, the one used for this race will be retired!

The Thompson Motorsports Hauler entering PIR facility

Immediately the TMS #61 and its related Newhouse #36 car are assembled for initial NASCAR Tech inspections

Is this a new mechanic for the #36 car? Rich Thompson {shown} works on the Newhouse/TMS partnership car for Hannah Newhouse. Beyond long term support for Hannah, the two teams are also long time ‘Friends’

The #61 Car goes through Initial NASCAR inspection

The Hannah Newhouse #36 – with its Boise State logo and colors – also passes through NASCAR Tech

On day #2 the cars practiced for two hours. The #61 TMS entry is shown exiting turn #4, Each succeeding lap saw the car become ‘slower’. It can be seen here above the racing line … an obvious sign of ‘pushing’ {under-steer}

Hannah Newhouse passes under the iconic Race Control building at PIR. She practiced in 24th place

After practice there is some time to relax. Here Hannah meets with Lynn St-James, a former Indy Car driver and a Foundational supporter of women’s motorsports

During the break the entire TMS Crew works feverishly in an effort to find out what is ailing the #61 car

The #61 and #36 cars go through pre-qualifying “Tech” together

As the cars line up for the late afternoon qualifying session, Brett Thompson is hoping that the TMS Crew has found the solution to his car’s recalcitrant performance. He would qualify 15th

Also in line is Hannah’s #36 car with It BSU logo proudly displayed on the hood … BSU “Jack the Giant Killer”  brand of football is a source of pride for these Idaho based race teams. Hannah qualified 25th

Brett Thompson fights a ‘push’ during his qualifying lap

Bombs Away!! As Brett and family sit for a family photo, a friendly “Photo Bomber” becomes part of the image. The smiling face in the background belongs to Kip Childress, the highly respected Series Director for the K&N West Series. Kip has a caring, enviable and, excellent management style as illustrated by the picture above

Meghan {NASCAR} and Katlin {K&N} are suddenly camera shy … but they are friends … and still laughing!

Brett Thompson is the NASCAR K&N Series leader in starts at PIR; 21. For Hannah Newhouse, this is PIR start #1

Pace Laps; the race time was 5:30 PM

A typical race restart … there were several yellow flags in the early part of the race

Mid-race and Brett, at one point in time, managed to move up to 12th place

Brett Thompson on lap 31

Mid race saw Hannah Newhouse move up to 17th place

A near miss in 4 pictures: Approaching Turn #1 at close to 150 mph, Brett Thompson {Right} suddenly sees an accident unfolding directly in front of him. Which choice is the correct one in order to avoid the accident?

Image #2; is being up against the wall the right choice??

Image #3; Along the wall looks OK … IF there is enough room to get through!

Image #4; the # 61 car barely makes it through along the wall. This accident cost Brett Thompson a few positions, but, fortunately, he was not a casualty of the crash

Late race problems, and unscheduled pit stops, cost Brett and Hannah several positions. Above, Hannah is in the pits for a mandatory 50 lap pit stop.  She would be back in the pits later to change a tire that was losing air

The #61 in the pits for the mandatory 50 lap pit stop. It too would suffer an unscheduled pit stop. At that point the die was cast for both the #61 and the #36 due to late race mechanical problems, and, their respective finishing positions were as previously reported

To our friends, loyal fans and, NSCAR family: With our 2014 season at a close we want to thank all of you for both your interest, help and, support.

It is now a time for family and friends – and reflection on the most valued treasures of life.

We wish you all a Thanksgiving with Thanks, a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday,

and, a sincere hope for the Best of the New Year.

-from all of us at Thompson Motorsports

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