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The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150

Greenville-Pickens Speedway
Greenville, SC
Sat. March 27th

DISAPPOINTING RUN TO 17TH FOR EDDIE MACDONALD
AT GREENVILLE PICKENS SPEEDWAY
Eddie MacDonald qualified sixth in the opening event for the K&N Pro East Series race in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at the famed speedway but an early race incident upset the handling of the Grimm Construction Chevy. The eventual flat tire resulted in a seventeenth finish for the veteran Rowley, Mass. driver.

“I got pinched into the wall about forty laps into the race and I think that is what caused the tire to eventually go flat,” said MacDonald after the race. “I was just out there running easy and trying to save my tires for the end of the race but that didn’t happen. The tire developed a slow leak and by the end of the race it was junk. We had a decent car and we were set up for the end so it was just a matter of being patient and not abusing the tires. All that went out the window when the tire went away.”

After finishing third in last year’s race MacDonald knew a good qualifying run was essential to get up front and stay out of trouble. MacDonald qualified sixth with a time of 20.959 seconds, only one of nine cars in the thirty car field to post a time below 21 seconds around the flat, half-mile oval. When the green flag waved, MacDonald continued to hold on to the fifth position for nearly forty laps when another car squeezed him into the wall. “I didn’t think it hurt the car at the time but as we went along I started losing the handling and it really got loose in the turns. I probably should have come in at that time but I didn’t want to give up the track position. Greenville is a place where it is tough to make the lap back if you stop.”

MacDonald maintained his position despite the tire issue. With only 50 laps to go MacDonald was running in the top ten but the handling was quickly becoming an issue. On lap 119 MacDonald radioed Rollie (LaChance) that the tire was definitely going down and by the lap 127-caution the tire finally blew out. “It was one of those things that if I pitted earlier and it wasn’t the tire going down then I made a big mistake that cost us positions. However If I waited to see and it went then I would have made the wrong decision. It was just one of those things that whatever I did it was going to turn out wrong,” said the dejected veteran driver.

A caution flag flew for a wreck in turn one on lap 127 and MacDonald headed for the pits only to learn that NASCAR officials gave him a one lap “discretionary” penalty. “I don’t know what happened there. They were wrecking in turn one so I slowed on the front stretch so I wouldn’t get in the mess because I couldn’t turn the car with the flat. It was one of those things. It was a very frustrating day all around. I thought we had the car to be there at the end. It may not have been a winning car but I thought we had a top five car. It really stinks because Rollie and the crew worked hard through the winter to get us ready for the season. Hopefully we will come back next week at So. Boston and have the run we are capable of having. With only a ten race schedule, every race is so important for points in the championship race.”

The K&N Pro East Series will take the green flag on Saturday, April 3 on the legendary So. Boston Speedway.

Photos by Richard Casey

EDDIE MACDONALD PREPARED TO CHALLENGE
FOR K&N PRO EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
With the start of the season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway only days away, Eddie MacDonald and the Grimm Racing Team are ready to improve on last year’s second place finish in the championship chase. The team has been busy at work preparing the cars for the challenging ten race schedule and hopes to jump out of the gate with a big win.

“With the short schedule we cannot afford to have any bad finishes and we are excited to start in Greenville-Pickens,” said the eleven year veteran. “We usually do well on tracks that are flat in the turns, so we are looking forward to a solid run there. We finished third there last season so we will be looking at our notes and hopefully make a couple of changes to be in a position at the end to fight for the win.”

MacDonald believes the team’s success is largely based on the fact the crew has been together for four years and will enter this season unchanged. “One goal is to keep improving and getting off to a good start is necessary. With all the crew returning we have an excellent chance of doing just that. Everyone knows their job and take great pride in doing it well. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of guys. Rollie sets the schedule and everyone does their thing.”

Last season MacDonald posted ten top ten finishes with one win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and knows the team cannot afford a letdown saying, “We ran well last year with top ten runs. We had one out of the top ten but with only a ten race schedule we cannot even have one bad run. There is a lot of talent running this year with a lot of money behind them so we will have to race in the top five each race if we are going to have a chance at the championship. Every point will be important. Last year it came down to the final race and we had a shot but it didn’t happen. We can look back at three races during the season that really cost us. We can’t let that happen this year.”

MacDonald is also thankful for the continued support of team owner Rob Grimm saying, “None of this would be possible without Rob and his family. He has given us everything we need to be successful. Rob continues to upgrade our equipment every year. He doesn’t say a lot and that is his management style. He expects us to do well and understands when things don’t go so well. It has really been a great partnership with him so it would be really great to win a championship for him. Winning our three races at Loudon was huge for him but I think a championship would really top the list.”

On Saturday, March 27 when the green flag waves to begin the season, MacDonald knows a good start is important saying, “We have to qualify up front and stay there. It is a difficult track to pass on, so having a good handling car is very important. As I said it is a good track for us but you have to be able to hug the bottom. The car has to be set up so you can turn in the center and drive off the corner. We have the same car we finished third with last year and feel it is capable of getting the win. Everyone has worked hard all winter and after our eighth place finish at the Showdown in January, the team is ready to get the real season going. It should be a lot of fun.”

NASCAR HOMETRACKS News & Notes:
K&N Pro Series East Set To Open
At Greenville Pickens Speedway
After taking the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East by storm a year ago, Ryan Truex will once again look to follow in his older brother’s footsteps in 2010.

Ryan became the third member of the Truex household to compete in the NKNPS East in 2009, preceded by his father, Martin Truex Sr., and brother, Martin Truex Jr. As it turned out, Ryan one-upped them both, as his stellar rookie season in the No. 00 NAPA Toyota resulted in the first championship trophy for a Truex in NASCAR’s top developmental series.

“Defending the title is going to be tough, there’s going to be a lot of good cars,” Ryan said. “Coming into 2010 as the defending East Series champion is definitely a big deal.”

Prior to last year, Ryan had only one start in the series under his belt, and it was at a track that was not on the 2009 schedule. With a full year in the rearview, he sees the possibilities for even greater success in 2010.

“Last year coming in as a rookie, I didn’t know anything about the cars or the tracks,” Truex said. “That’s going to be a big help [this year].”

While two of the tracks that his three wins came at as a rookie are not on the 2010 schedule, Ryan still figures to be able to lean on his experience. He finished in the top three at South Boston Speedway, twice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and was a winner at Lime Rock Park.

If a repeat is to get off on the right foot, Ryan and the Michael Waltrip Racing team will need to improve on their finishes from a year ago at Greenville Pickens and Iowa Speedway early in the season. In 2009 they finished 14th at Greenville and a promising run during the East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway was thwarted by an accident.

Whether Ryan and the No. 00 team will be able to match the amazing  consistency they achieved last year with seven-straight top-three finishes will remain to be seen. But with that much success a year ago in just the first year together, they figure to be the preseason favorite to capture the crown again in 2010.

While the K&N Pro Series East 10-race slate will continue to be the focus for Ryan and MWR, the organization will also look to begin the next step with their latest talent. Ryan, who turned 18 March 18, will continue to follow in his brother’s path by venturing into the Nationwide Series. Ryan is currently slated to run six Nationwide Series races this season as a teammate to K&N Pro Series East alum Trevor Bayne, starting with Gateway International Raceway on July 17.

“I think the fans are going to like both of these guys a lot. I hope they are around a long time at MWR and in this sport,” said Michael Waltrip at last week’s announcement of Ryan’s future schedule. “(Ryan is) a fantastic young driver and we feel he is ready to step up to the Nationwide Series. (He) gave Michael Waltrip Racing its first championship last season … so he'll always be my hero.”

The 2010 campaign will commence for Truex and the rest of the field with the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 on Saturday, March 27.

Afternoon practice will be followed by qualifying at 6 p.m. and the green flag is scheduled to drop on the season at 8 p.m.

FULL STORY AT NASCAR HOMETRACKS

NKNPSE Greenville Pickens 3/27/10 Entry List HERE

Raceday Notes
The Race ...
The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 will open the 24th season of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East racing, the first under the K&N Filters sponsorship. This will be the fifth season in a row that the series has visited Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.

The Procedure ... The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps (75 miles).

The Track ... GPS 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 at GPS from 1951-71.

Race Winners ... In the four previous NKNPS East races at GPS there has yet to be a driver record more than one victory. Sean Caisse, winner of the inaugural race in 2006.

Pole Winners ... As with race winners, there has yet to be a driver that has earned multiple poles at GPSS. Brett Moffitt is the only driver entered for this race with a pole at GPS, earned last year. Joey Logano has the qualifying record at 20.576 seconds (87.481 mph). When Moffitt won the pole, he also eclipsed Logano’s series record as the youngest pole winner at 16 years, eight months.

New Era Begins Under K&N Sponsorship
NASCAR announced on Jan. 21, 2010 during the Charlotte Media Tour that K&N Engineering, Inc., will be the title sponsor for NASCAR’s top developmental series, formerly known as the NASCAR Camping World Series East and West, beginning in 2010.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series will continue to crown champions through separate schedules on the East and West Coast. The seven-year agreement illustrates NASCAR’s commitment to the grassroots foundation of the sport.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series encompasses NASCAR’s oldest stock car series in the West, which dates back to 1954, and the East that has evolved from the former Busch North Series. It runs on a challenging combination of speedways, short tracks and road courses, and the series has made its mark throughout the years with tough competition and exciting racing.

The Riverside, Calif.-based K&N Engineering is the inventor and leading innovator of reusable cotton gauze filter technology for automotive applications. K&N, which has grown from a family-run business to a global company, traces its involvement with NASCAR back to the days of supplying parts for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at the old Riverside Speedway.


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