NASCAR Touring Report
Lynch Wins Big in Texas, Pack May Have An Home State Advantage and More
Scott Lynch shook off the rust, and filled his car with smoke from a post-race burnout, at Thunder Hill Raceway. (North Fork Photo)
In addition, the 2003 series champion shook off his competition in winning the Allstate Texas Thunder 150 at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, on Saturday, March 31.
Despite having a fast car, Lynch had to deal with two obstacles to get to victory lane: overheating and two-time series champion Mike Duncan.
“We knew we had a good car, if we could get out in clean air,” said Lynch after his ninth career series win. “The motor just kept overheating on us. The water temp was pegged, but there was no reason to come in. We finally got some clean air and the water started coming back down a little. We knew if we could get to the front we could probably hold everybody else off.”
With double-file restarts on the tight 3/8-mile oval, Lynch relied on his track knowledge to get to the inside of pole-sitter Duncan and gain the lead just after a restart on lap 69.
“The track is about a groove and a half, not quite two grooves,” Lynch said. “I was kind
NASCAR WEST SERIES
After racing only a couple of times last year, Scott Lynch decided to enter the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series season opener to “shake some rust off.”
of laying back a little bit, so when he would push up I would try to miss him coming off turn two and have a run going into turn three. Fortunately, I got in just under Duncan and we kind of made a little bit of contact. He scooted up the track just enough for me to get him coming out of turn four. So, we went from the outside to the inside and ended up leading.
“We got a little bit lucky there. Knowing Duncan, he’s not going to make the same mistake twice.”
Lynch of Burley, Idaho, kept his Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge out front for the remainder of the event, holding off various challengers and winning a two-lap sprint to the finish as a late-race caution extended the race distance to 155 laps with a green-white-checkered finish.
His margin of victory was .311 of a second, as he netted $6,500 in prize money and posted awards.
Lynch plans to run a handful of West Series races while concentrating on a limited schedule in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season.
Mike David was second in the Bennett Lane Winery Ford, followed by Duncan in the Lucas Oil/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet. Brett Thompson was fourth in the Thompson Motorsports Chevrolet.
Topping a talented field of drivers competing for this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award was Jason Bowles in the Sunrise Ford/Turbo Torq Ford. He was followed by another first-year driver, David Mayhew. Rounding out the top 10 were Tim Woods III, Justin Labonte, Andrew Myers and Ryan Foster.
The next event on the West Series schedule is at Phoenix International Raceway on April 19.
BUSCH EAST SERIES
To get ready to run on the East Coast, Marc Davis went west.
The 16-year-old drove in his first NASCAR Grand National Division event – the West Series opener at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas – Saturday night, March 31, and turned in a veteran style performance.
Scott Lynch in victory lane. (North Fork Photo)
In a race slowed by 11 caution flag periods, Davis drove his Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Chevrolet to a 12th-place finish. He ran in the top-10 during the mid and latter portions of the 150-lap, 58-mile race on the D-shaped .375-mile banked paved oval.
“We finally got the NASCAR Grand National season started,” Davis said. “We thought we had a top-five car, but we’re happy to come out of there with a 12th place finish.”
Davis is a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver and 2007 NASCAR Busch East Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award candidate. He’s also a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and a high school junior at Mooresville (N.C.) Christian Academy.
Davis and his Scott Kilbury-led team entered the NASCAR West Series event to help prepare him for the NASCAR Busch East Series season-opener at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. April 28.
“I really liked the track,” Davis said of the of the tricky Texas bullring where the fast way around is a line always turning or arcing but never straight. “We struggled a little but in practice, but once we figured it out, we were pretty happy with what we did.
“We set the car up for long runs, and it never fell off (in lap speeds during the race.) A lot of times our car was as quick or quicker than the leaders, but we couldn’t do anything with it because we never really got any long green flag runs.”
The longest green flag period, 23 laps, was just past the half-way point of the race.
To get the feel for NASCAR Busch East Series superspeedway racing later in the season, the Gibbs driver development program has entered Davis and his teammate Joey Logano, also 16, in the NASCAR West Series AlphaTrade.com 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway on April 19.
The goal for Davis in Texas was to become more familiar with the driving and handling characteristics
Marc Davis (NASCAR Photo)
of a NASCAR Grand National Division car versus the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model he won six features in last year at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
“We want to run Phoenix, so we went to Thunderhill first to shake down the (short track) car a little bit before the first point race with the NASCAR Busch East Series,” Davis said. “Hopefully Phoenix is a track I’m going to see in my future. Since the West Series season starts earlier, we thought we’d go check it out and hope to learn something on a bigger track.”
Davis and Kilbury also tested the car they ran in Texas at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.
“We thought we’d be in pretty good shape,” Davis said. “The NASCAR Busch East Series cars are definitely heavier and the brakes are better in these cars so you can get slowed down in the corners. The car has more horsepower, but power-to-weight ratio is basically the same compared to a Late Model. So far, it’s not a hard adjustment to make.”
NASCAR WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR
Gene Pack is hoping to have a home-state advantage this Saturday night at the legendary Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway when the green flag flies to start the An American Revolution 150.
The personable Myrtle Beach, S.C. driver is the only resident of South Carolina entered in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour’s second visit to the legendary short track.
The inaugural NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race at Greenville-Pickens last April saw defending series champion Junior Miller take the victory while Pack finished 11th.
“I love this race because I just don’t get the chance to race in South Carolina all that much,” Pack said. “North Myrtle Beach is where I call home these days so it’s pretty cool to race in front of my home crowd. I won a race at Myrtle Beach Speedway last year and that was pretty neat, but it just wasn’t a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race and that’s something I want pretty bad. Maybe that good luck will carry over to Saturday night at Greenville-Pickens.”
The Pack family name is well known in Southern Modified territory and record books as Gene Pack races on a regular basis against his son, Brian, on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Since NASCAR took over sanctioning of the Tour in 2005 the elder Pack has been painfully close to winning a race only to walk away a bit short.
That fact is something Pack would dearly love to change this weekend.
“To win my first Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Greenville-Pickens would be really sweet,” Pack said. “I’ve been trying to win one of these races for a long time and we’ve been close to pulling it off. We’ve had a little bit of bad luck in the first couple of races this year so hopefully we’re going to have that turned around. We deserve a break because we’ve been working hard so hopefully we can catch that break at Greenville.”
The history behind legendary promoter Tom Blackwell’s track and the backstretch wall that has the names of past track champions painted on such as Ralph Earnhardt and David Pearson is something that is not lost on Pack.
“That really makes the track special,” Pack said. “I guess the bad part of it is I know
I’m getting older and I’ve raced against a lot of those guys before. I’ve raced against Dale Earnhardt before as well as Dale Jr. a couple of times. All I can say is it would be very special to win at Greenville-Pickens just because the track has so much history behind it. This is good old school racing and I’m really looking forward to this Saturday night.”
NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR
A brand new auto racing season begins at Thompson International Speedway on April 14th and 15th. New drivers, new race teams and new racecars will once again be introduced at the traditional season-opening ICEBREAKER. It’s always an exciting, fun and fast-paced racing weekend that draws thousands of winter weary race fans.
Race fans have been waiting since last fall when the season ended with the World Series of Speedway Racing. With the arrival of spring, thoughts of New England sports fans turn to Red Sox baseball and NASCAR racing. Thompson’s ICEBREAKER offers not only a great weekend of NASCAR racing, but also offers the very best opportunity for race fans to renew friendships and to make new friends.
Thompson’s ICEBREAKER has become much more than a racing event. Seven divisions of NASCAR racing lead by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is the main attraction. But, the renewal of friendships and a busy social schedule for fans has made the ICEBREAKER a must attend event. It’s a weekend celebration marking the start of a brand new season. Thompson International Speedway is the ideal location for just such an event since. In addition to the incredibly fast race track, the sprawling complex offers a championship golf course, driving range, pro shop, restaurant and lounge.
All of this, of course, only enhances the experience for race fans who have endured another long winter season. The roar of the racecars, the excitement of the competition and the colorful spectacle that have become the ICEBREAKER make this a truly unique event.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour tops the exciting list of racing divisions. The ICEBREAKER will be the first race of the new season for the “Tour” which will feature new cars, new teams and driver changes. The new look of the “Tour” will be unveiled during the 150 lap season-opening race. Joining the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be all six of Thompson’s own NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions. The Whelen All American Series includes the Sunoco Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, Thompson Modifieds and Mini Stocks.
All cars will qualify beginning at 1:15 PM Saturday afternoon. Once qualifying has been completed, both the Sunoco Modifieds and the Late Models will compete in the first of two feature events that these divisions will run on ICEBREAKER weekend.
Gene Pack (C) talks with a few of his fellow competitors. (NASCAR Photo)
Davis' #92 entry (NASCAR Photo)