Portland International Raceway: The Race In Pictures

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

The 12th race of the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro season was contested at the Portland International Raceway. Portland is a venerable road race venue of just under 2 miles in distance. It is also a scenic track with an enviable history of great races and famous racers.

For Brett Thompson and Thompson Motorsports, it was also a chance to get Brett back into the #61 car. During the 2012 season Brett Thompson has been racing in a limited number of events. Following the conclusion of this race Brett stated “this was pure fun … I have to do more racing.” For his fans this comment portends changes for the 2013 season.

The #61 TMS Chevrolet was 11th and 14th in the two scheduled practice sessions. On Sunday, Brett qualified 14th, of 28 cars, for the race.

When the checkered flag waved, Brett crossed the finish line in 11th place.  Unfortunately, 11th did not tell the story of Brett’s driving: it was very competitive and suffered only from the complex set of circumstances that are a part of every road race. The fact remains that Brett is now driving road races very well for a driver with highly limited experience in this discipline.

Brett Thompson’s next race will be as driver of the TMS Dodge entry in the very high performance Rocky Mountain Challenge Series.  This race will take place at the Rocky Mountain Raceways (Salt Lake) track on 1 September.

Two days before the race and the PIR track is event ready. The ever-present Mount Hood is visible to the East.

Saturday morning and NASCAR Officials Celeste and Carolyn work the Credentials desk.

PIR readies for the morning practice sessions – though venerable, PIR is part of a natural and scenic setting.

In the quiet of morning Rich Thompson, joined by NASCAR Official Clem, walks with his grandchildren.

Meanwhile the cars are unloaded from the haulers and made ready for Pre-practice NASCAR Inspection.

NASCAR Race Director, Larry Harper, sets up in the Tech Area.

Series Director Joey Mancari, and NASCAR Official Cindy Levin, look on as the cars go through Tech.

Having passed Tech, the TMS crew readies the #61 car for the first practice session.

Southeast to Northwest??  For this race Official help came from the very pleasant Jimmy Wilson , who is also the Series Director for the Southeastern NASCAR Modified Division.

Brett Thompson was good during the first scheduled practice session. Above: the #61 carries the LF wheel through the difficult chicane; the car was 11th quick during this session.

On a road race circuit, especially those tracks with many trees or hills, it is necessary to place multiple “spotters” at visually strategic locations.  Above: Chad Sims joins a group of spotters at PIR Turn #11.

Other classes of cars also raced on this NASCAR weekend; while the K&N cars wait, practice time is turned over to the “GASS” Series cars and racers.

TMS #61 at speed during practice #2.

At the end of a long, 160 mph straight, there is a right turn into a very slow and difficult chicane. The straightaway serves double duty as a drag strip … but the dragsters skip the chicane!!

Brett Thompson during Qualifying; the #61 was 14th.

After Qualifying there was time for what might be called “Pit Socializing”. Here many team owners and crewmembers get together in support of common friends.

Within this time frame, Brooke Thompson meets with her relatives.

Meanwhile, Jane Thompson wins a prize at the “Pit Social.”

With race time approaching, the TMS crew gets the #61 car ready.

Driver Introductions.

Approaching the green flag the Twin Falls Idaho natives, and friends, Brett Thompson in the #61 and Jonathon Gomez in the #22, start the race side by side.

Following the green flag 28 cars enter the chicane – and things get VERY tight!!

Crowding at the Chicane can foster some very unusual racing lines!

Up the front straightaway at close to 160 mph.

In the closing laps of the race, the #61 and the #9 car battle for 10th place.  When the #61 got blocked by a slower car the #9 prevailed. Brett Thompson finished 11th.

After a road race, it is an expectation to see some body damage … and even a little flora and fauna on the grill!!

With the race complete, and with a mandated 11 hour driver limit, an expidated departure to an intermediate stopover point is the norm for most Hauler drivers. Portland International is a venerable race venue, but it is well liked by racers from all over the country. For all those at TMS, “next year” is not a slogan, but a given.

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