ThorSport’s New State-Of-The-Art Facility Shows Commitment To Series
ThorSport Racing, due to compete in its record, 354th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event later this summer at Pocono Raceway, is proving to be not only involved in the series but committed to take the next step toward its championship.
While Johnny Sauter continues to savor a 20-point championship lead – largest of 2011 – his team is putting the finishing touches on what will be by far the largest, most state-of-the-art NCWTS-only facility.
The 100,000 square-foot headquarters will be operational in the next several weeks with a grand opening planned for Aug. 17. The facility will house three teams: Sauter’s, the No. 88 Menards Chevrolet of Matt Crafton and the No. 98 Chevrolet of newcomer Dakoda Armstrong, who is set to make his debut on July 16 at Iowa Speedway.
Size is one thing. “I believe the best way to compare the two shops is in the fact that the main set up and finish assembly area is the same size as our entire shop at this time,” said team manager David Pepper.
Location is another.
ThorSport, owned by husband and wife Duke and Rhonda Thorson, is based in Sandusky, Ohio, far from the Charlotte area home to virtually every fulltime NASCAR national series team. The Thorsons wouldn’t have it any other way and would be pleased to join 2004 NCWTS champion Bobby Hamilton as the only team based outside North Carolina to win a series title.
Ironically, Hamilton moved into his new shop the same season he won the championship.
“It opens a new chapter for ThorSport Racing and gives us the ability to grow this organization into the future,” said Pepper. “This is truly a long-term business plan that will help us offer substantially more resources and support to our employees, sponsor partners and crew members as well as our series.”
Five Red-Hot Twenty-Somethings Gunning For NCWTS Veterans
Travis Kvapil made news in 2003 as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first (and still only) champion under the age of 30. Looking at drivers currently ranked among the top 10 it’s possible Kvapil, then 27, could lose his spot in the record book. Five 2011 title contenders – including two in the top four – have yet to celebrate their 22nd birthdays.
• Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cole Whitt, 20, heads the group in the runner-up spot behind current championship leader Sauter.
• Austin Dillon recently celebrated his 21st birthday as he shows in the No. 4 position.
• James Buescher, seventh, is 21.
• Parker Kligerman, 20, finished second in the series’ most recent race at Texas Motor Speedway.
None have won a race in 2011 but the season is only nine races old. What stands out, however, is the five drivers’ consistency - especially at such tender ages. They have posted a combined four Keystone Light Poles, 11 top fives and 23 top 10s.
Armstrong, 19, won ARCA’s June 25 race at historic Winchester Speedway in Indiana. The former World Karting Association champion previously won series races at Talladega Superspeedway and Salem, Ind. The Indiana farmer was ARCA’s 2010 rookie of the year. … Ricky Carmichael made a solid NASCAR Nationwide Series road racing debut finishing ninth on Saturday at Road America. Carmichael is slated to compete for Turner Motorsports in this week’s Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. … The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off over the Fourth of July weekend but returns to action July 7 – a Thursday night race – at Kentucky Speedway. Current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Carl Edwards won his first of six series races at the 1.5-mile facility in 2003, the track’s only first-time NCWTS winner. A win in Kentucky Speedway’s inaugural Quaker State 400 would give the Missourian a sweep of all three NASCAR national series. Edwards previously won the 2005 NNS Meijer 300.