Graduate from weekly racing series competition. Check! Qualify for a NASCAR K&N Pro Series event. Check! Have solid finish in her NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut. Check! And finish she did. 15-year old Hannah Newhouse of Twin Falls drove the Thompson Motorsports/Car Store #60 Chevrolet to a sixth place finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series NAPA Auto Parts “150” on Saturday at Napa Speedway located outside Albuquerque, NM.
Having never previously turned a lap in the heavier NASCAR stock car, Newhouse demonstrated almost immediately that she felt comfortable in her new ride. After being among the fastest half of the 22-car field in practice, Newhouse made her first qualifying run in the series and secured the 11th best lap. Albeit, not without a little adversity.
Newhouse spun her car coming to the green flag on her first qualifying lap. She had never previously qualified on new sticker tires and when she was getting up to speed the car looped around on her. She quickly got the car pointed in the right direction and clicked off her two fastest laps of the weekend.
150-laps in the K&N Pro Series can go by very quickly so you have to be aggressive but veterans will tell you that you must not abuse your tires. Newhouse drove a masterful race and despite going down a lap early (lap 38), Newhouse patiently worked her way back through the field passing nearly every car putting herself in position to get her lap back should a caution come out. Her lap times were the fastest of entire field as she worked by the leaders making passes both high and low.
The caution she needed occurred on lap 128. Newhouse restarted the race in the ninth position on the lead lap and with the end of the race in sight, she was focused on advancing her position. By lap 145, she had moved up to the bumper of the fifth place car and held her ground during two late cautions and a green, white, checkered finish to score an impressive sixth place performance in her first career start.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Newhouse said. “We just wanted to learn and earn some respect. To finish in the top ten is just awesome. I cannot thank Rich Thompson and the entire team enough for giving me this opportunity.”
And while the team was thrilled with the outcome, so too were many of the competitors and team owners who all individually congratulated Newhouse on her run. One owner was heard saying “I don’t know where she came from but she made a lot of veteran moves out there”.
The next challenge for Newhouse will be NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity combine October 16-18 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA where her skills and ability will be tested.
“I am so excited to have been selected for the Drive for Diversity Combine,” Hannah Newhouse said. “This is a chance to show the rest of the racing world that small town Idaho girls can race. I am really looking forward to meeting the rest of the participants and showing NASCAR what I can do.”
17 participants were selected from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Newhouse is the youngest participant at only 15-years of age but she is also one that has had the most success behind the wheel this season.
The 2013 Rev Racing team will be selected from among the 2012 Rev Racing drivers and this years Combine participants.
Braeden Havens drove a team car to Newhouse and finished seventh in the race after being in position to battle for the win. Havens qualified 12th and steadily worked his way to the front despite loosing ground on two occasions when he was spun (with a little help from another competitor).
Havens shot at the win ended on lap 139 courtesy of a competitors bumper into his #61 machine. Havens gathered himself and the car and made up several positions over the closing laps.
The finish was Havens’ best career finish in six starts for the Thompson team and while the finish was his best he knows he had a better car. “We had a top three car but those are the breaks,” Havens said. “It was a fun race but disappointing. We will go on to the next one and hope for a better result.”
The next race for Havens in the Thompson Motorsports car is scheduled for October 13 at All American Speedway in Roseville, CA. The race from NAPA Speedway in Albuquerque can be seen on SPEED Channel Thursday, October 11 at 3pm ET.
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About Thompson Motorsports
Thompson Motorsports is a premier racing organization based in Jerome, Idaho providing complete race car preparation and fabrication supporting the local grassroots racer and experienced professional driver. TMS prepares and fields race vehicles in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series, Intermountain Pro Truck Series, and entries at local area short tracks. TMS has corporate partnerships with Rich Thompson Trucking Inc. (RTTI), Jerome Truck Service Inc., Eibach Springs, Earnhardt Technologies Group, Mothers Polishes and Waxes, Schroeder Torsion Bars, United Oil, Speedbear Fasteners, and Hagerman Valley Spring Water. For all the latest news and information about Brett Thompson and Thompson Motorsports, log onto www.brettthompsonracing.com or NASCAR Hometracks. For all the latest west coast racing action, log onto www.racingwest.com.