Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) has established itself as facility that hosts a wild variety of divisions, both on its 5/8-mile oval and 1.7-mile road course. This weekend, the track welcomes back a division that it hasn’t seen since 2009.
This Saturday, July 8, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to Thompson to celebrate its origins with a Busch North Throwback race.
The event will pay tribute to the cars and stars of the precursor of the K&N East Series, the NASCAR Busch North Series, which ran 27 events at the “Big T” from 1988 to 2009. This will be the fourth of seven NASCAR-sanctioned events at Thompson this season, but as it has been for the first three events, this one promises to be big and something to remember with the K&N East rising stars riding in the colors of Northeast legends.
“We made a commitment when we reduced our schedule to seven events to provide the highest quality of events we could,” said Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park General Manager Josh Vanada. “We’ve worked for three years to get this one to a point where it was something that we could offer and be really proud of.
“We really appreciate all the cooperation from all the K&N Pro Series East teams and working with NASCAR and Busch to make this happen this weekend with the throwback paint schemes.”
Colin Cabre, Ruben Garcia, and Chase Purdy will be a few honoring past Series drivers, while Jared Irvan will run a throwback scheme based on the Kodak car driven by his father Ernie in the NASCAR Cup Series in the early 90’s.
There will also be a number of vintage cars on display for the fans, who will get the opportunity to meet a handful of Busch North veterans.
“We’ve got some vintage stuff that’s coming, but the big part of the fan draw obviously is going to be the championship drivers, Andy Santerre, Mike Olson, Jamie Aube, Mike Stefanik, and Joey Kourafas, who was the first Busch North champion, are all going to be here and they are going to be at the driver autograph session on Saturday.”
While fans will get the opportunity to meet the stars of yesterday Saturday, they will have the opportunity to see the stars of today and tomorrow during the test session on Friday.
“We also have the fan fest going on Friday where the garage will be open to fans free of charge. They can come see the cars, meet the drivers, talk with them, get photos taken with them. It’s really neat when you think about that five years ago Kyle Larson was the K&N East champion, and now he’s leading the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points. So, it’s a great opportunity for fans to come and meet somebody that’s eventually going to be at star of NASCAR.”
Three of the most anticipated names entered are a trio of local favorites, including defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby who is running for Calabrese Motorsports in a “Magic Shoes’ Mike McLaughlin throwback car, 2013 Whelen Modified champion Ryan Preece who returns to the Whelen No. 31, and Busch North race winner Eddie MacDonald who has Aubuchon Hardware on the car in a throwback to Andy Santerre.
“I think that’s something that’s really important, one of the big critiques of the series has been that it doesn’t have a local flare, but I would argue that it still does. Doug is running the throwback to Mike McLaughlin which is a cool story. Ryan who is driving for Ted Marsh, and then of course MacDonald, and I think he is probably going to be the guy to beat with his experience here.”
Best of all, Mother Nature appears to be working in Thompson’s favor, with spectacular weather in the forecast for northeastern Connecticut Saturday.
“Weather is looking terrific, low 80’s and full sunshine,” Vanada stated. “We’re grateful for that, and it will give the fans an opportunity to just sit back and enjoy while not worrying about any inclement weather that may arise.”
For tickets to the Busch North Throwback 100, visit the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park website.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Martin-McClure Racing