Twice the risk. Twice the reward.
That’s what’s on the line Saturday, as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to action at Tucson Speedway. The venerable .375-mile Arizona oval will play host to the Port of Tucson 100s — a pair of 100-lap sprints with championship points on the line for both races. Last year, the twins were at Irwindale Speedway in southern California, and Todd Gilliland swept them as the middle of a four-race win streak that gave him the championship lead he would never relinquish.
Tucson offers the opportunity for one of the title contenders to do the same.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Derek Kraus got the jump on the competition in what is expected to be a tight, season-long battle for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship when he grabbed the season-opening victory at Kern County Raceway Park in California.
The 16-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin, will be challenged to maintain that hold on the top spot with a pair of 100-lap races Saturday at Tucson. Kraus finished sixth in his only previous start at Tucson last year.
Ryan Partridge won the 2016 event at the track and was fourth in 2015, while teammate Bruncati Racing teammate Derek Thorn was second in this year’s opener at Kern and will be making his first K&N Pro West start at Tucson.
Kraus’ Bill McAnally Racing teammate, Cole Rouse, has a fourth-place finish (2016) at Tucson, and Will Rodgers is a late addition in the No. 4 for car owner Bob Farmer. Rodgers was fifth at Tucson in 2015.
The twin 100-lap format allows for drivers to double up with a good day, but if misfortune should strike, it can be twice as painful in the points standings. With a tight pack of numerous drivers vying for the title, the points could swing considerably. Throw in the short distance, drivers will have to be up on the wheel at the drop of the initial green flag.
These are all ingredients for an exciting Saturday night.
|RACE||PORT OF TUCSON TWIN 100s|
|PLACE||Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway|
|DATE||Saturday, May 5|
|TIME||7 p.m. MT &|
|TELEVISION||NBCSN, Wednesday, May 9 – 6 p.m. ET (Race 1); NBCSN, Thursday, May 10 – 6 p.m. ET (Race 2)|
|TRACK LAYOUT||.375-mile oval|
|2017 WINNER||Chris Eggleston|
|2017 POLE||Todd Gilliland|
|EVENT SCHEDULE||Saturday — Garage opens: 10 a.m. MT; Practice: 12:45-1:30 p.m. and 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Group qualifying: 4:45 p.m.; Port of Tucson 100 (first race): 7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.|
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 24 cars, for each race, including provisionals.
Qualifying groups will be determined by each vehicle’s overall fastest single lap from the official practice sessions.
The first 20 cars will secure starting positions based on the two-lap qualifying session for the PORT OF TUCSON TWIN 100 RACE 1. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process.
Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine starting positions 1st through 20th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not
return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR Official or in the event of a caution. If a vehicle returns to pit road, the vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete.
Starting positions for the PORT OF TUCSON TWIN 100’S RACE 2 will be determined by each car’s best lap time during the running of the PORT OF TUCSON TWIN 100s RACE 1.
Each of the PORT OF TUCSON 100 events will be 100 laps (38 miles).
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race for a total of eight (8) tires.
The maximum tire allotment available for Race 2 is as follows: Four (4) tires to begin the race for a total of four (4) tires. Teams will be allowed to run the tires from Race 1.
A week after its season kickoff with the 47th annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway will open its traditional Friday night program. Keith Rocco already has one in the win column as he chases the track’s SK Modified crown.
Saturday, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine, will begin its 70th season. Reid Lanpher has won two of the last three Pro Series titles at the third-mile oval. Riverhead Raceway showcases the tour-type Modifieds on Long Island, and will celebrate its season opener with a Saturday night opening show. Tom Rogers Jr. is the track’s defending Division I champion on the quarter-mile bullring. And Sunday, Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts takes the green flag on 2018 with a stacked racing card that is headlined by its Pro Stock division. Dave Darling collected his fifth track title last year.
Outside northeast U.S., one more track will get its NASCAR Whelen All-American Series seasons underway. I-25 Speedway in Pueblo, Colorado, will host its opening night with the spotlight on the Division I Grand American Modifieds. John Fortner won the division last year at the “Fastest Quarter-Mile Paved Oval In The West.”
Daily Hampshire Gazette: Hatfield’s Tyler Leary finds Victory Lane in Super Stocks at Monadnock Speedway
Daytona Beach News-Journal: NASCAR Buys Midwest-Based ARCA Series
GoDanRiver.com: Morris sweeps SBS season-opening LMSC doubleheader
Kingsport Times News: Hale pulls away to win Late Model feature