Tuesday, October 23, 2012
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes: Greenville
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Originally scheduled to be the 11th event on the 14-race 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 will now be a major factor in shaping the championship picture when the postponed event finally takes the green flag this Saturday at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.
The day the race was originally to be contested, Sept. 3, Brett Moffitt had a 20-point lead on Kyle Larson with four races to go. But rain washed out everything but practice that day, and the race was postponed. As the series returns to Greenville for a second shot at the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140, many things have changed in the championship chase.
Larson now holds the points lead, by the slimmest of margins, as he leads Corey LaJoie by a single tally with just two dates left on the schedule starting with Greenville.
Looking at the two races left, it would appear LaJoie is in prime position to earn his first K&N Pro Series East title. Not only did he win last time out at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sept. 28, but LaJoie was runner-up to Darrell Wallace Jr. in the series’ first race at Greenville in March and has won in each of his three career appearances in non-NASCAR events at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, site of the East season finale on Nov. 3.
First things first, however, for LaJoie as he will have to start at the rear of the field this week at Greenville. When the event was first scheduled to run on Labor Day, LaJoie was had the fastest car in final practice, but he missed the drivers meeting, a penalty that will carry over to this week and have him at the tail end of the 25-car starting grid.
And while experience seems to be on LaJoie’s side with these two events left on the schedule, true rookie Larson has had little trouble overcoming his lack of it this season. Although he finished two laps down in 17th place at Greenville in the spring – one of just two results outside the top 10 – Larson has posted a series-best average finish of 6.7 through his first 12 K&N Pro Series East races. Larson will also start on the outside pole on Saturday since he was second in points when the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 starting field was set by the rulebook on Sept. 3.
While Larson and LaJoie will wager their season points battle on Saturday, Wallace will look to continue to add to his résumé at Greenville after he became the first K&N Pro Series East driver to earn two wins at the historic half mile. Moffitt, who is just eight points back of Larson in the season standings, has also found plenty of success at Greenville during his career, and can be expected to contend not only for the checkered flag, but to figure prominently in the points race.
RACE: Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140
PLACE: Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway
DATE: Saturday, Oct. 27
TIME: 8 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: NASCAR Home Tracks Radio pres. by Speed51.com live at www.nascarhometracks.com
TRACK LAYOUT: Half-mile asphalt oval
2011 WINNER: Sergio Peña
2011 POLESITTER: Corey LaJoie
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 2:30-3:30 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 6:30 p.m.
TRACK PR CONTACT: Tammy Hawkins, (864) 269-0852, email@example.com
TRACK TWITTER: @GP_Speedway
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #WhitakerChevy140
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Jason Cunningham, (704) 201-6658, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @NASCAR_NE
If photographs or graphics are needed for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, please contact Jason Cunningham.
The Race: The second edition Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 will mark the ninth all-time event for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Greenville Pickens Speedway, and the second of two in 2012.
The Procedure: The starting field was set by the rulebook as a rainout lineup on the original race date and will be the same 25 cars that were in attendance that day. The race will be 140 laps (70 miles) straight through with no tire changes.
The Track: Greenville Pickens is a half-mile asphalt oval with five degrees of banking in the turns. The facility opened in 1946 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1970. There were 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held there from 1951-71.
Race Winners: The eight previous K&N Pro Series East races in Greenville have produced seven different winners. Only Darrell Wallace Jr., who captured the first event of the season at GPS, has won at the track twice.
Pole Winners: Like with race winners, there has been only one driver to earn multiple poles at GPS, Brett Moffitt. Moffitt set the qualifying record at 20.534 seconds (87.659 mph) in the 2011 season-opener, and his 2010 pole eclipsed Joey Logano’s series record as the youngest pole winner at 16 years, eight months.
GREENVILLE RACE NOTES
LaJoie Gets Win No. 4: Last time out at Dover International Speedway Corey LaJoie added to his series-high win total, now at four. The last NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver to earn four wins in a year was Matt Kobyluck during his 2008 championship season while the last driver to attain four checkered flags and not capture the title was also Kobyluck, in 2005. With two races left on the schedule, LaJoie will look to be the first driver to garner five wins in a season since Joey Logano in 2007, and just the sixth in the 26-year history of the series. He finished second at Greenville Pickens Speedway in March.
Wins Year Driver
10 1991 Ricky Craven
6 1999 Brad Leighton
5 2000 Tracy Gordon
5 2004 Andy Santerre
5 2007 Joey Logano
Moffitt Looks to Old Friend GPS to Remain in Title Hunt: After mechanical issues dropped him from the season points lead last time out at Dover, Brett Moffitt will return to the friendly confines of Greenville Pickens to stay in title contention. In five career starts at Greenville, Moffitt has four top-five finishes, highlighted by a win in the 2011 season opener. The fourth-place finisher in the K&N Pro Series East’s first race at GPS this year, Moffitt trails points leader Kyle Larson by just eight tallies with two races left and he will start on the pole this time around since he was the points leader when the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 lineup was set by the rulebook before it rained out on Sept. 3.
Elliott Counting on Past GPS Success to Stay in the Hunt: At 32 points behind leader Larson in fourth place in the season standings, Chase Elliott is still hanging around in the championship picture with two races remaining, and Greenville is a spot where he hopes to gain some ground. In three starts for the second-year driver at the venerable half mile, Elliott has posted finishes of fourth, third and sixth, which constitutes nearly a quarter of his career top-10 finishes.
Rookie Race Remains Close: After 12 races, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award remains very much up for grabs. Overall points leader Larson leads Rev Racing teammate Bryan Ortiz by just four tallies in the Sunoco Rookie standings. Only two drivers have previously earned the overall and rookie titles in the same season, Logano in 2007 and Ryan Truex in 2009.
HOME TRACKS: Enders Earns South Carolina Title
Anthony Enders captured the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship in South Carolina thanks to his efforts at both Greenville Pickens and Myrtle Beach Speedways in 2012. Enders, from Easley, out-distanced Greenville’s own Toby Porter by 123 points for the state crown. It marked the second year in a row Enders beat out Porter for the state title. Enders finished as the track champ at Myrtle Beach while Porter took home his fourth track title at Greenville.
LAST TIME OUT: Dover
The most recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, the American Real TV 150, was on Sept. 28 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Here are some highlights:
· Corey LaJoie nabbed his series-leading fourth win of the season when he passed Brett Moffitt on Lap 113 and led the balance of the race, including a green-white-checkered finish.
· Darrell Wallace Jr. earned the Dover pole for the second year in a row and led a race-high 56 laps.
· With the victory, LaJoie closed points leader Kyle Larson’s advantage to just one tally.
· Larson, who had to start at the rear due to a transmission change, rallied for a fifth-place finish.
NEXT TIME OUT: Rockingham
Following the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will conclude on Saturday, Nov. 3 with the series’ inaugural stand-alone appearance at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway as part of the Classic 3 Championship presented by RCR Racing Museum. The 100-lap finale will feature a 30-car starting field, and will mark the K&N Pro Series East’s first appearance at the 1.017-mile oval since it participated in six combo races with the NASCAR Nationwide Series there from 1987-92.