ES: Lime Rock: Round nine preview
*Drivers Herald Smooth New Lime Rock Pavement *DEI Teams Optimistic After Testing The Course *$5 Million In Enhancements Polish Road Racing Gem Front Running Matt Kobyluck Leads Series to Lime Rock DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug.12, 2008) - Matt ...
*Drivers Herald Smooth New Lime Rock Pavement
*DEI Teams Optimistic After Testing The Course
*$5 Million In Enhancements Polish Road Racing Gem
Front Running Matt Kobyluck Leads Series to Lime Rock
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug.12, 2008) - Matt Kobyluck and his No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet arrives at Lime Rock Park this Saturday with history behind him and momentum pushing him forward.
Kobyluck will take to the newly-repaved 1.53-mile road course as the series' new point leader. It's the first time the Uncasville, Conn. driver has led the points since the completion of the fourth race of 2006 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.
Kobyluck took the lead from Austin Dillon (No. 3 Garage Equipment Supply Chevrolet) when he won the most recent event July 26 at Adirondack International Speedway in New York. It was Kobyluck's second straight win and third of the season.
Lime Rock's Mohegan Sun 200 is set for Saturday, August 16 at 1 p.m. The 200-kilometer (125.46 miles), 82-lap event will be telecast live on HDNet.
Kobyluck is a two-time winner (2005 and 2007) at Lime Rock. He finished second to Ruben Pardo in the 2006 race, and won the Coors Light Pole Award for all three of those events.
The track's complete repaving earlier this year is the centerpiece of $5 million in improvements.
Kobyluck and crew tested the new asphalt last month.
"The track is smooth. I like it," Kobyluck said. "It has more grip than the old pavement and its pretty slick through the classic uphill.
"Because of the smoothness and consistency of the new surface, areas like the downhill turn are better. I'm able to get through the turn better and able to actually turn sooner. I like how the lefthander has more grip now that the concrete patch has been removed. Without the concrete patches there is a consistent linear transition. I can't wait for race weekend."
News & Notes
The race ... The Mohegan Sun 200 is the ninth of 13 races on the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Series East schedule. It is also the 16th appearance of the series at Lime Rock Park since 1993.
The procedure ... The starting field is 32 cars including provisionals. Starting positions 1-28 will be determined by NASCAR Road Race Style Qualifying. Cars will qualify in groups, with the fastest time for each car in each group being each car's qualifying time. The final four positions will be determined through the provisional process. The race is 82 laps (125.46 miles/200 kilometers)
The Track ... Lime Rock Park hosted its first race in 1957. Earlier this year, the track completed a $5 million improvement program highlighted by a complete repaving of the track and pit road. The configuration of the "classic" 1.53-mile course used by the series has not changed with the exception of a new pit road entrance.
The records ... Qualifying: Bryan Wall, Oct. 12, 2001, 102.778 mph, 53.591 seconds. 125-mile race: Butch Leitzinger, Nov. 4, 1995, 78.202 mph, 1 hour, 36 minutes, 15 seconds.
The history ... Ken Schrader won the first NASCAR Camping World Series East event at Lime Rock on Oct. 16, 1993. As a team owner, Schrader has two cars entered in the Mohegan Sun 200 for drivers Jamie Hayes (No. 52 JL Hendrick Automotive Group Chevrolet) and rookie Ricky Carmichael (No. 4 Monster Energy Drink Chevrolet). Butch Leitzinger is the all time leading series race winner at Lime Rock with three. Bryan Wall is the all-time leading pole winner with four.
DEI Trio Hones Road Course Skills In Testing at "New" Lime Rock
Dale Earnhardt, Inc. sent its talented trio of drivers to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., three days after the series' most recent event at Adirondack International Speedway in New York.
"The test went really well," said Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Foundation Chevrolet). "We were able to get in a lot of laps. We were fast, then we unloaded and only got better as the day went on.
"I was impressed with the new surface. It's a lot smoother. I can't wait to race there."
Richmond Burgdoff, crew chief for driver Jesus Hernandez (No. 11 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet), said his driver was impressive.
"We actually struggled a little bit at the beginning, but Jesus' times kept getting better as the day went on," Burgdoff said. "He gave us a lot of good feedback on how the car was handling and that allowed us to make the proper adjustments. We were running some really good lap times at the end of the day, so I think we'll be good when we come back for the race."
Trevor Bayne (No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet Chevrolet), arrives at Lime Rock second in series points, just 57 behind leader Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet).
Although Bayne had an off-course excursion during the test, crew chief Haskell Lavalette was satisfied with his driver's overall performance.
"Trevor was really getting it done, especially considering he had never been there before," Lavalette said. "He picked up over three seconds on his lap times over the course of the day. For us, it was all about getting him some seat time so he'll know what to expect when we come back."
Bayne won his first NASCAR Camping World Series race and Coors Light Pole Award at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway on July 12th.
In the June 8 road-course race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, all three DEI teams finished in the top four. Race winner Kobyluck was followed in order by Earnhardt, Bayne and Hernandez.
In all, the DEI drivers have finished together in the top five in three races in 2008, and in the top 10 together five times.
Through the first eight races of the season, the DEI teams account for 12 top-fives and 16 top-10s.
Earnhardt and Hernandez have each posted best finishes of second -- Earnhardt at Watkins Glen, and Hernandez at Thompson. Earnhardt's best qualifying effort this season is second at Music City in Nashville, while Hernandez's best qualifying spot is seventh at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.
New Pavement on "Classic" Lime Rock Highlight of Many Track Enhancements
Enhancements totaling $5 million will greet the NASCAR Camping World Series this weekend at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.
The series visits the famed 1.530-mile road course for the 16th consecutive season with the Mohegan Sun 200 on Saturday, August 16.
The entire race course and pit road have been milled and repaved. In addition, a new pit road entrance has been constructed.
The carefully planned construction program was implemented with precision between Memorial Day and July 4, allowing the track's 51st season schedule to run uninterrupted.
Other improvements include a new entrance to the facility, the drive-over bridge has been elevated by 6 feet to meet FIA standards of four meters, and viewing area and parking improvements for fans.
The tight time frame was met with skilled construction crews and a specific pavement mixture.
"The pavement you see at the new entrance is the exact same mixture as the pavement on the circuit," track President Skip Barber said. "Shortly after the pavement was complete, we took core samples and performed lab tests. We got the desired results."
A retired road racing champion, Barber established his driving school at the track in 1975, and led a group that purchased the facility in 1984. Improvements have been ongoing since then.
The Mohegan Sun 200 will be telecast live on HDNet starting at 1 p.m. Aug. 16.
Connecticut's NASCAR Heritage Runs Deep
Three Connecticut short tracks have been providing entertainment for decades. They include Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Thompson International Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. The only driver to win NASCAR Camping World Series East events at all three tracks, as well as Lime Rock Park, is Matt Kobyluck.
Thompson hosted its first NASCAR-sanctioned event in 1951, while Stafford joined the sanctioning body in 1959. Waterford also opened in 1951.
The tracks have provided great racing for generations of fans and helped produce many stars over the years.
Among the current track points leaders contending for the NASCAR state championship are Keith Rocco (Waterford), Woody Pitkat (Stafford) and Jimmy Blewett (Thompson).
Pitkat was the 2007 NASCAR state champion.
Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., won the 2001 NASCAR Whelen All American Series national championship racing at Stafford and Thompson. He was the first to win the title driving a NASCAR Modified on paved tracks.
The Race: Mohegan Sun 200
The Place: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
The Date: Saturday, August 16
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV Schedule: HDNet (Live) SPEED (enhanced replay) September 3, 1 p.m. ET
Track Layout: 1.530-mile paved
Race Purse: $147,871
2007 Winner: Matt Kobyluck
2007 Pole: Matt Kobyluck
Friday: Practice 11:05 a.m.-12:05 p.m.; 1-2 p.m.; Time Trials 4 p.m.