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K&N Pro Series East Overview & History

NASCAR IMC
January 1, 2015 - 2:18pm

OVERVIEW
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series, which includes the East and the West, is the top step in NASCAR’s developmental ladder before drivers progress to the three national series.

Since 2007, NASCAR K&N Pro Series veterans have made a significant impact at the national level, including 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, 2015 Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano, and 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, alogn with Ryan Blaney, Austin and Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson, Ryan Truex, Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez and others. 

The series introduces NASCAR fans to the next generation of stars, and the diverse mix of short tracks, road courses, and national series speedways appeals to a broad range of motorsports fans.  With identical series racing throughout the country, the K&N Pro Series provides a cost-effective opportunity for young drivers to gain valuable experience and exposure to highly competitive racing.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 SERIES DRIVERS | CHAMPIONS | YEAR-BY-YEAR TOP 10

CAREER VICTORIES | CAREER POLES | MOST POPULAR DRIVER | SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE YEAR | ALL-TIME RACE RESULTS | SERIES RECORDS | MISCELLANEOUS WIN RECORDS | FIRST-TIME WINNERS: BY YEAR

THE CAR
• The chassis is similar to the Generation 4 (1992-2006) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series body.
• The cars produce 625 HP at 8000 RPM, as compared to 650 @ 8,200 for NASCAR XFINITY Series and 850 @ 9,000 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
• A new Five Star body was introduced prior to the 2015 season. Built with aerodynamics, safety and cost-effectiveness in mind, the body will replace existing steel-shelled K&N cars with a design that’s 35 pounds lighter and miles ahead of the competition when it comes to ease of repair. The secret is in performance and durability of the bolt-together flange design, which eliminates the need to cut and weld together body panels or entire body segments. When a panel is damaged, teams simply bolt on a new one.

BACKGROUND
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series continues to crown champions through separate schedules on the East and West Coast.
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East originated as the NASCAR Busch North Series in 1987, while the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West traces its lineage back to the Pacific Coast Late Models in 1954 and the NASCAR Winston West Series.
• The optional “spec” engine (introduced in 2006) and composite body help teams control costs while providing them the opportunity to advance from their hometown short tracks to the next level.

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Martin Truex Jr. won five times in the series, including a pair of wins in 2003, before moving up and winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series championships in 2004 and '05. Howie Hodge/NASCAR

K&N PRO SERIES EAST HISTORY
• NASCAR lowered the minimum age for competitors to 16 in 2007 and 15 in 2011, sparking an influx of talented young newcomers and making the series a proving ground for "Tomorrow's Stars Today."
• In the 2010 season, K&N Engineering came on as the title sponsor for both the East and West series. It was announced at the start of the 2015 season, that K&N Engineering has signed for an additional five years that will extend its entitlement sponsorship through 2021.
• Since 2007, Joey Logano (2007), Ryan Truex (2009), Kyle Larson (2012), Ben Rhodes (2014) and William Byron have won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and series championship in the same season. Prior, no driver had accomplished that feat.
• For 2003, what had become the Busch East Series and what had been the Winston West Series were united under a common rulebook – making possible the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, which ran from 2003-2011. Representing the East, Mike Johnson (2004), Matt Kobyluck (2006 and 2009), and Joey Logano (2007 and 2010) scored wins in the combination event.
• In the early 2000s and late 90’s, Steve Park, Mike Stefanik and Andy Santerre and began to emerge from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East to attain national prominence. Equally impressive were several standout crew chiefs – Frank Stoddard, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, Greg Zipadelli and Pete Rondeau. The honor of champion, however, most often fell to one of the tough veterans who made the series their career; men like Dick McCabe, Dale Shaw, Kelly Moore, Dave Dion, and Brad Leighton. In an ironic twist, Santerre returned to win the 2002 title, and Stefanik came back as well to become his closest rival in 2003. Santerre matched Aube’s record of three straight titles in 2004 and went on to capture his fourth in 2005.
• In 1990, Ricky Craven won rookie honors and swept to the title in 1991, setting records which have yet to be broken. In 1992, he was the NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year. He repeated that performance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1995.
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East began in April 1987 with the “Farmington Flyer,” Billy Clark of Farmington, Maine, scoring the initial victory at Oxford Plains Speedway. Within the first five races, Bobby Dragon and Kelly Moore had scored their first wins; both remained stalwarts on the circuit for two decades. Joey Kourafas edged Chuck Bown by just five points to win that first title. Jamie Aube then began a run of three straight championships.
• The 1990 season saw two events which contributed greatly to the growth in prestige and recognition of what was then known as the NASCAR Busch North Series. On Labor Day weekend, the series staged its first stand-alone race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which had opened a few months earlier.

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Dick McCabe, the 1992-93 East champion, gets doused by an ice bucket in Victory Lane. Howie Hodge