Manchester teen making the jump to the NASCAR feeder system this season.
BY TRAVIS BARRETT – STAFF WRITER
MANCHESTER — Just months removed from winning the track championship at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Reid Lanpher is set to embark on a NASCAR career that will get its start at the sanctioning body’s development level.
Lanpher, of Manchester, has agreed to run at least five races this season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series for Connecticut car owner Ted Marsh. The first race for the 17-year-old driver will be at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16.
“I’m pretty excited. We have five races set right now but we hope to have more,” Lanpher said. “A lot of it depends on sponsorship. I’d like to run them all, but that wasn’t really possible.”
The K&N Pro Series East, where Lanpher will compete, is one of NASCAR’s premier development divisions. Sitting one tier below the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the K&N Pro Series has East and West divisions that compete at short tracks across the country, as well as at tracks hosting national NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Xfinity Series events, like New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
In addition to the race in Bristol, Tennessee, Lanpher also plans to compete in races at NHMS, Iowa Speedway, the road course at Watkins Glen (New York), and Dover International Speedway in Delaware.
The K&N Pro Series has already completed the first two races of its 14-race schedule for 2016. If he can secure more sponsorship, Lanpher said, he’d like to run as many of the remaining races as possible.
Last season, in his second full season of competition at Beech Ridge, Lanpher won a season-high four races en route to the Pro Series title at the track.
This year, the K&N Pro Series will become Lanpher’s first priority, followed by selected Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model events. He’ll round out his schedule with weekly events at Beech Ridge.
This marks the second time that Lanpher, a senior at Maranacook Community High School, has pointed his racing career outside of Maine. In 2013, as a 14-year-old driver, Lanpher was tabbed by JR Motorsports to drive Late Models in North Carolina and Virginia for the team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
After a year spent traveling to and from Maine for that opportunity, Lanpher and his family-owned team opted to return to Maine and race Super Late Models and Legends.
Lanpher feels he is better equipped this time around to make the jump to a bigger stage.
“For all the years I’ve spent racing, I haven’t had a year yet where I haven’t learned a huge amount of stuff,” Lanpher said. “Whether it’s driving the cars, the logistics, the cars themselves or the off-track stuff, it’s all big.
“The experience is probably the biggest thing for me. The last three years have really prepared me for this, so I’m ready for it.”
Marsh Racing’s involvement dates back more than 20 years in the K&N Pro Series, with multiple wins at tracks including New Hampshire and Watkins Glen. The team’s best finish at Bristol was a fourth-place finish with former Sprint Cup driver Steve Park behind the wheel in 2001.
Lanpher replaces Dave Garbo Jr., who posted one top five and two top 10 finishes in 14 starts in the Marsh Racing No. 31 during the 2015 K&N Pro Series season.