Phoenix International Raceway the Race in Photos

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

The 14th and last race of the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place on 9 November at the Phoenix International Raceway {PIR}.  Thompson Motorsports brought the familiar #61 cars to this event. The race also had a contingent of very quick K&N East Series cars, many with ties to the large race organizations from that area.
For Brett Thompson, PIR was a chance to get back into the seat of a race car. After roughly 15 years of competing in Touring Series cars, Brett’s 3 month absence from the circuit was well deserved. That short respite was well spent time with his wife and their rapidly growing children. Never the less, Brett was very excited to be back in a race car. When asked about being “rusty” after 3 months off Brett replied “that lasted about one lap”.
The Thompson Motorsports team brought a large contingent of family and friends to the 84 degree “swimming pool” weather in the Phoenix area. Also on hand to help trackside was the 16 year old NW female driving sensation, Hannah Newhouse, as well as local Truck Division Champion John Pierre.
For this race, the #61 car was very good right out of the hauler. With minor adjustments being made throughout practice, the car was near the top of the standings in both sessions. Unfortunately a very early and rather cool qualifying draw resulted in a 10th place race starting position. In addition, the “outside line” responded poorly to the green flag and the #61 found itself 13th at the end of the first lap. In a 50 lap race, this circumstance created an unfortunate on-track challenge.
However, the #61 Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. car was very good and Brett raced forward to an 8th place finish. In doing so, he finished ahead of all but one of the West Series top contenders. It was a professional drive for Brett and an excellent result for the team.

Although the race is Saturday evening initial setup, tech inspection and, practice, begins on Thursday

The highly respected location is PIR – but that “Hat” is Iconic.

The TMS Pit Crew sets up the car for the first practice while Brett Thompson is, perhaps, contemplating his 20th “Start” at the Phoenix International Raceway.

While the crew sets up the car, Jane Thompson enjoys a moment with son-in-laws Steve (L) and Jeremy.

For a change the pesky TMS photographers and photojournalists find a moment when they are NOT in the way!

The #61 car is ready for practice; now it is hurry-up and wait!

Between Turns #1 & #2: the RTTI #61 car shows an excellent “set” during the first practice session

Thursday practice ends as night falls. But the crew stays late … they want to install and try another rear end gear ratio during Friday’s practice session.

Jeremy appears happy that the gear was installed without him having to engage in his “specialty work”

Friday morning practice and the #61 car is near perfect. This setup will be the one used for the race.

4 NASCAR Divisions share PIR on Friday. This leaves time for everyone to engage in various activities. Pictured above is “Hurricane Hannah” Newhouse, 16, the highly regarded Idaho driver with a sensational driving record. Thompson Motorsports is proud to be the ‘support shop’ behind her efforts.

A lull in the K&N schedule allows Jane and Rich Thompson a few moments of relaxation.

The break in action allows time for a “Full Crew” picture

There is always a pre-qualifying Tech Inspection.

Early Saturday morning the cars line up for qualifying. The temperature was only 51 degrees, making the track a little “off” from the setup selected for an 80 degree race start. The #61 car qualified 10th.

Lining up for track entry point as the qualifying session is about to begin.

#61 qualifying laps: the cool asphalt was slightly low on grip and a later “draw” would have been better.

Nearing the 5 PM race time and the Race Teams set-up on Pit Road.

Jane Thompson joins Crew Chief Will Harris on the TMS tool box.

Meanwhile, Brett Thompson goes through “Driver Introduction” at PIR for the 20th time – the most of any active driver in the West Series.

The Green Flag

IMAGE #1: Brett’s Progress through the field is documented in 3 images.

IMAGE #2

IMAGE #3

By lap 22 Brett had moved up 4 positions from lap 1. The car had become slightly loose but the track was getting tighter. Brett later said what he really needed was a “longer race”.

Brett Thompson finished a strong 8th; more laps would have produced a much better result.

Brett on Pit Road: He was very happy with his driving – and very happy to be, again, in ANY race car.

It is a long walk from the K&N Pits to the Competitor Parking Area. So, a few friendly competitors have hitchhiked … well, sort of!

This day had the TMS team at the track for over 14 hours and it is now time for a bit of relaxation. It is also a tight fit as the familiar Thompson Motorsports Hauler leaves PIR for the 20th time.

To our friends and loyal fans: with our 2013 season at a close we want to thank all of you for both your interest and support.
It is now a time for family and friends – and a reflection on the valued treasures of life.
We wish you all a Thanksgiving with Thanks, a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday, and a hope for a Happy New Year.

-from all of us at Thompson Motorsports

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