Phoenix International Raceway: The Race In Pictures

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

The first race of the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro season took place, March, 2 at PIR. The Raceway is a 1 mile ‘asymmetric’ oval.  This unusual track configuration is capable of producing mid 130 mph qualifying speeds and maximum end point speeds of 160 mph. PIR has also earned something of a legendary status; through the years many great races and racers have battled on this beautiful but tough track. For 2013Thompson Motorsports transported two cars to this event with Brett Thompson as the sole driver on the TMS team.

Thanks to a near perfect setup by Crew Chief Will Harris, the #61 TMS Impala was very quick right off the Hauler. On track the #61 ran within a range of 3rd to 9th throughout the two scheduled practice sessions. The car actually recorded a very impressive “27.5” lap time, on 80 lap tires, which appeared to be very good predictor for the upcoming qualifying session. However with new tires installed and more favorable track conditions, both qualifying laps were almost .25 seconds slower than the previous practice times. This unexpected result was puzzling for the entire team, especially since Brett continued to refer to the car as being “great”.

As a result of its qualifying time, the #61 Impala SS lined up in 9th position for the race start. After only a handful of laps the reason for the slower Qualifying time became all too apparent; the engine was losing power with each succeeding lap. Throughout the race there was a repeatable pattern of Brett Thompson gaining distance through the turns only to give it all back on the straightaway. Frustrating as it was, the superb handling of the car kept the #61 reasonably competitive throughout the race {Refer to the last lap photographs later in this story}. As the checkered flag waved Brett Thompson crossed the finish line in 8th place.

The TMS Hauler arrives in Phoenix; it has modified graphics for the 2013 season. Rich Thompson awaits the next generation of Thompson family race car drivers as his grandson Tyler runs over to greet him.

After a 13 hour ‘haul’ from Jerome Idaho, “Team Thompson” enjoys a moment of relaxation in the warm Arizona sun.

Thursday Morning and the cars are unloaded and prepared for NASCAR Tech and later, the first scheduled practice session.

Lined up for NASCAR Tech Inspection

Following NASCAR inspection the car is shown at speed – turn #2 – during the first practice session .

The TMS Team takes a brief time-out for a group picture.

Hannah Newhouse, a Northwest sensation in NASCAR Home Track racing, visited with TMS at PIR.

For 2013 Hannah will race an ASA Truck, prepared and supported by the technical crew at the TMS Race Shop.

Two practice sessions were scheduled.  Before the formalism of the races themselves, fans often express their own individual methods of relaxation.

as with this fan who has obviously ‘let his hair down’.

The small mountain on the NE corner of the track offers hillside seating, and, also ‘horse riding to your own seat’. However, horse racing is not permitted at PIR.

Above: The view to the Northeast as seen from the roof of main PIR grandstand. The race spotters stand is located in the same area.

With so many Haulers parked in the infield, the best place to view the entire track is from the top of one.

A 4-legged race fan clearly wants the cars to have ….. Mufflers!!!

Saturday: With race time approaching, fans begin to fill the grandstands.

With the NNS race in progress, the NASCAR K&N Pro cars are lined up for their race.

The #61 RTTI car lines up in its qualifying position.

Waiting for the Nationwide Race to be completed.

With the NNS race complete, it is ‘quick-change’ time on pit road!

Entering Turn #1 following the green flag.

Out of Turn #2 on the second lap.

One third of the way through the race and Brett Thompson is already communicating the car’s progressive loss of horsepower to his pit crew.

Off turn #4.  Brett Thompson is trying to maintain his 7th place position.  With about 700 feet to go, it would appear that he could hold off the #81 car directly behind him.

Although Brett Thompson held the preferred line out of Turn #4, the loss of horsepower in the #61car made the dash to the checkered flag a “toss-up” for 7th place.

However, when getting down the straightaway, horsepower rules as the #81 car easily passes Brett .

Approaching the checkered flag, Brett’s crippled “horses” have already been bested.

The checkered flag waves and the #61 car is relegated to 8th place.

Back in the pits, Brett Thompson’s wife and children stand by Brett’s largely undamaged car. His daughter said ‘daddy could have won’; that was clearly a statement of fact.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Blogplay

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.