Monday, July 30, 2012
NASCAR K&N Pro Series News & Notes: Iowa
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West converge on Iowa Speedway for the second combination race of the year, the 2012 championship picture is starting to come into focus.
Two-thirds of the way through their respective schedules, the leading title contenders in the East and West will look to maintain their championship aspirations with a strong performance in the Pork Be Inspired 150 on Friday, Aug. 3, and the focus will be placed squarely on the leaders.
Brett Moffitt, from Grimes, Iowa, has forged a 22-point lead after nine of 14 events in the K&N Pro Series East. Moffitt earned the pole and led the first 144 laps in the first combination contest of the year at Iowa – his home track – on May 19. Moffitt, who will turn 20 the week after the Pork Be Inspired 150, has finished outside the top five just once in four previous starts at Iowa.
A shakeup occurred last week atop the K&N Pro Series West points. With his win at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, July 28, defending series champion Greg Pursley edged ahead of 17-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski by three points in the championship standings. Pursley’s Gene Price Motorsports teammate, Kwasniewski had topped the West standings in the six races preceding Colorado. The younger of the dynamic duo was also the highest-finishing West driver in the first K&N Pro Series combo race of the year at Iowa.
While just three tallies separate the two leaders in the West heading to the .875-mile oval in Newton, Iowa, Moffitt’s lead is a little more comfortable thanks to a string of strong performances. He has finished on the podium in each of the previous four K&N Pro Series East events this year, and has only two results outside the top five. That leaves little margin for error for Chase Elliott, who sits second in the standings. Elliott was the winner of the Graham Tire 150 at Iowa in May, so the two figure to contend their season points battle head-to-head on the track this Friday night as well.
Entering this week’s Pork Be Inspired 150, there are others still realistically in the championship hunt outside of the top two contenders in each series. Kyle Larson is just one point behind Elliott in the East while Corey LaJoie is 33 behind Moffitt. In the West, David Mayhew is 32 points behind Pursley with Derek Thorn an addition two points back.
RACE: Pork Be Inspired 150
PLACE: Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa
DATE: Friday, Aug. 3
TIME: 8 p.m. CT
TV SCHEDULE: SPEED, Aug. 2, 3 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .875-mile, banked asphalt oval
2011 WINNER: New Event
2011 POLESITTER: New Event
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 9:30-10:30 a.m., Final Practice 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Qualifying 3:05 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Craig Armstrong, (641) 791-8100, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRACK TWITTER: @iowaspeedway
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #Pork150
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Kevin W. Green, (661) 392-8543, email@example.com, Twitter: @KevinW_Green
If photographs or graphics are needed for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, please contact Kevin W. Green.
The Race: This event will be the seventh all-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway, and the second in 2012. The two series got together for the first time this year at Iowa on May 19.
The Procedure: The starting field is 36 cars, including provisionals. The first 28 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials. The remaining eight spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (131.25 miles) and will be run in two segments with a midway break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75.
The Track: Iowa Speedway is a .875-mile paved oval with the turns banked 12-14 degrees, four degrees banking in the backstretch and 10 degrees banking in the frontstretch.
Race Winners: The six previous editions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race have produced six different winners. Chase Elliott was the victor in the first Iowa event this year as a representative of the East while the highest finisher from the West was Dylan Kwasniewski, eighth overall.
Pole Winners: The first six Iowa combo races have also produced different pole winners. Iowa native Brett Moffitt earned the pole as an East representative in May while the best qualifier from the West was David Mayhew, ninth overall.
Records: Qualifying: Kyle Busch, May 17, 2009, 135.484 mph, 23.250 sec.; Race: Brett Moffitt, May 21, 2011, 84.186 mph, 1 hour 49 minutes 8 seconds.
IOWA RACE NOTES
Return Trip to Iowa: This year marks the first time that Iowa Speedway has played host to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series for combination races twice in the same season. The series, which consists of East and West divisions, first visited the .875-mile oval for a combination race in 2007, and has returned for single events each year since, prior to this year’s twin-bill. This season also marks the first time since 2007 that there have been two East-West combination events in a calendar year, when the two series went head-to-head at both Iowa and Elko (Minn.) Speedway. The K&N Pro Series West did make a return trip to Iowa for a stand-alone race in 2009.
Iowa Double-Duty: In addition to their NASCAR K&N Pro Series duties, Ryan Blaney, Darryl Harr, Brett Moffitt and Darrell Wallace Jr. will also be participating in the NASCAR Nationwide Series action this weekend at Iowa Speedway. It will mark Blaney’s fifth overall Nationwide Series start this year, and second with Penske Racing. Harr has eight prior Nationwide Series starts, including a 28th-place finish in the first Iowa event this year. Iowa native Moffitt will be attempting his first Nationwide series start while this will be Wallace’s first race since his series debut with Joe Gibbs Racing at Iowa in May, where he finished ninth.
String of Top 10s: Three drivers in the K&N Pro Series West have finished in the top 10 in all 10 races so far this season. Greg Pursley, Dylan Kwasniewski and David Mayhew – who are first, second and third in points, respectively – will be looking for a good showing at Iowa to extend their streak to 11 straight top 10 finishes.
LAST TIME OUT - EAST: Columbus
Conley a First-Time Winner: Cale Conley led wire-to-wire for his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in just his 14th career start on July 21 at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.
First Pole for Kennedy: Ben Kennedy recorded his first career 21 Means 21 Pole Award by Coors Brewing prior to the event. Columbus was Kennedy’s 22nd career East start.
Suárez, Weller Record Career Bests: Daniel Suárez tied his career-best finish with a fifth-place effort, first recorded in this same event in 2011. Jimmy Weller, the only Ohio native in the event, also recorded a career-best finish of eighth.
LAST TIME OUT – WEST: Colorado
Another Pursley Win: Greg Pursley’s victory in the NAPA/Toyota 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday, July 28, marked his third win of the season and the 12th of his career. It was his first win at CNS, as he became the eighth different winner in 10 series races at the .375-mile track.
Kwasniewski On Pole: Dylan Kwasniewski turned the fast lap in qualifying at Colorado to win his third pole of the season, his fifth career series pole. The second-year driver lapped the bullring at 16.580 seconds (80.338 mph).
Another GPM Front Row: With Dylan Kwasniewski starting from the pole at Colorado and Greg Pursley lining up alongside him, it marked the third straight race and fifth event this season for the Gene Price Motorsports teammates to capture the front row.
NEXT TIME OUT - EAST: Greenville
Following the Pork Be Inspired 150, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action on Monday, Sept. 3 with the Greenville 140 at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway. It will mark the second edition of this Labor Day weekend event, and the ninth all-time series race at the historic half mile. Sergio Peña is the defending winner of the Greenville 140 while Darrell Wallace Jr. led all but one lap in a victorious effort in this season’s first event in Greenville on March 31.
NEXT TIME OUT – WEST: Portland
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West heads to Oregon for its fourth and final road course event of the season at Portland International Raceway on Aug. 26. It will mark the fourth year in a row the West has visited the 1.967-mile course, and fifth time overall. Luis Martinez Jr. won from the pole at Portland in 2011.