Spokane County Raceway: The Race In Pictures

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

The 12th race of the NASCAR K&N Pro Race Season took place at the Spokane County Raceway (WA).  The Thompson Motorsports #61 Impala SS practiced 3rd quick in both scheduled sessions. The car was very fast but, during qualifying, it became slightly loose and Brett Thompson wound up 9th in the lineup. The race was won by Eric Holmes after an excellent drive in the BMR #20 Toyota.

The Spokane County Facility consists of a NHRA Drag Strip, a Road Race Track and, a relatively flat ½ mile Oval.  Under enlightened management and ownership the facility is undergoing a continuous upgrading which, almost certainly, was a factor in NASCAR racing there for the first time since 1979. Although the race was Saturday, the track was open on Friday for roughly 4 hours of ‘Open Practice’. Most of the NASCAR teams took advantage of this very cost effective practice and set-up session.

The TMS #61 was a very good car in the early stages of the race.  However, at about the 15 lap mark, Brett was hit from the left side and forced into the outside wall. This impact resulted in considerable damage to the car. With only about .2 of a second separating the first 9 cars, this damage was critical to the outcome of the race. At the NASCAR mandated midpoint break, at 100 laps, the TMS Crew had time to repair some, but not all, of the car’s right side damage.

Therefore, an unfortunate reality remained: the 61 car would no longer be quick enough to win the race. With a 7th place finish at SCR, Brett Thompson now stands 7th in NASCAR K&N Pro season points.

The Spokane County Track is located about 15 miles west of Spokane, WA. The general environment is high prairie, and pastoral: dry land farming is a norm for the area. The nearest mountains are about 50 miles to the east in the vicinity of Coeur D’Alene ID.

For some, the transport to Spokane begins at Jerome (ID) and continues north on highways #75 and #93. Passing through the Stanley Basin some World’s fastest residents appear to be seeing the TMS Team off.

The Drive north passes through Stanley (ID), along the Salmon River, and, past the spectacular Sawtooth Mountain Range. For 2010, the year round population of Stanley was listed as 78!  For TMS fans living outside of the intermountain northwest, the name Stanley may sound familiar due to its “cold place in the nation” notoriety: for the ‘lower 48’, it may be coldest place as much as 30% of the time!

Along the Salmon River: Bighorn Sheep leave the high cliffs for grazing and water.

After 10 hours of driving, there is only 25 minutes to go!

Morning at the Spokane County Raceway

The Pit Tents go up and work begins on the cars

With NASCAR Tech Inspections complete, the practice sessions begin.

The car was excellent holding the bottom line through the turn and rotating perfectly at the apex.

Craig and Brett wait for the second practice to begin.

The second practice session was a copy of the first; the #61 car was fast, and, the Team hopes were high.

With both practices over there is a lull in the activities … and a chance for the Officials to take a break. Their job often requires a 7 AM work report and midnight “plus” release: 15 minutes off their feet is a welcome, and deserved, relief!

Brett Thompson at the driver autograph session.

An expression of concern: NASCAR’s Joey Mancari briefs the TMS photographer on the track locations he considers safe – or unsafe – for taking pictures. His suggestions, founded on years of experience, were valued and appreciated.

The fans begin to arrive at the track, mostly to be there for the NASCAR Qualifying session.  And NO … this fan was not Richard Simmons!

Happy Birthday! As it turned out, 4 principals in the NASCAR K&N Pro West Series celebrated their birthday on this date … and the NASCAR Officials provided the cake. Gene Price of GPM (#26 & #03) stands behind the cake with Bob Bruncati of Sunrise Ford (#6 & #9) on his right side. Series Director Joey Mancari (right) and a GPM crewmember make up the “Birthday 4”.

A big surprise: the car that was near perfect during the day, washed up the track on its Qualifying lap. The track was cooler at the time and a tire pressure adjustment was obviously needed.

The NASCAR K&N Pro cars line up for the race.

Honor and Respect: our National Anthem.

Rich Thompson leaves the “Spotters” Stand to bring Brett Thompson a little bit of “family emotional support.”

Race Time!

The fans are ready too!

Parade Laps.

The TMS #61 was, initially, very quick … but ½ of a lap later, in a racing incident, it was pushed into the wall. The resulting damage slowed the car by a significant amount.

The race was slowed for an unusually high number of caution periods. That may have been partially due to racing on a track that most of the drivers had never seen before.

At the NASCAR mandated half-way break, the crew worked feverishly to repair some of the right side damage to the car.

Though Brett fought hard to improve his position, the car simply was not capable of achieving its earlier, when undamaged, speed. At the end, the TMS #61 Impala SS had to settle for 7th place.

The return trip back to Jerome ID took some team members past the beautiful, and famous, Lake Coeur D’Alene.


The serenity of the scene took the edge off the racing reality that a superb race car was relegated, by negative circumstance, to a 7th place finish. Obviously the right side damage suffered in the avoidable early race “incident” dictated this final result but, for the TMS Team, the disappointment remained.

On the positive side, the TMS cars are on a real and substantial performance improvement program. Since July, the #61 cars have become consistently better and, at every subsequent race, have been capable of victory.

TMS will next compete at the All American Speedway in Roseville CA.  After that, the last race of the season will be held at the newly repaved Phoenix International Raceway.

TMS thanks our many loyal fans for their support.

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