Archive for the 'NASCAR K&N Pro Series East' Category Page 2 of 13
NASCAR Statement from George Silbermann, NASCAR Vice President, Regional and Touring Series, Regarding UNOH Battle At The Beach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 26, 2014) – “The UNOH Battle at the Beach provided NASCAR’s stars of tomorrow an excellent opportunity to participate at The World Center of Racing, but it isn’t feasible to continue the event given the progress with the DAYTONA Rising project. Fortunately, nearby New Smyrna Speedway is excited to bring the K&N Pro Series East back for the season opener again this year in addition to its week-long slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action; NASCAR fans will still have plenty of opportunities to see exciting short-track action in the Daytona area again this February.”
Chicago, Illinois U.S.A. — ARCA’s Team Stange Racing announced today that they will campaign the number 22 Ford Fusion NASCAR K&N Car for SCORE BAJA Buggy winner Christian Celaya for the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series WEST Championship along with the K&N East’s NASCAR Speed weeks New Smyrna, Florida event. The pairing is sort of a homecoming for Celaya as he returns to Team Stange Racing where he participated in the team’s Driver Development program; “The Race to the Cup” (www.race2cup.com) and competed in the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200 ARCA race at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin with Team Stange Racing where he started 24th due to heavy rains and no qualifying not to mention on a track that he has never driven on, practiced on or let alone seen; he drove the car home safely to a 16th place finish on one of the hottest days of summer with a heat index of 105 degrees and an in-car temp of well above 140 degrees and don’t forget Christian is a Type 1 diabetic.
“We chose the NASCAR K&N Pro Series WEST championship for a couple reasons, one reason was the series demographic made a lot of sense for my current sponsors being mainly on the West coast and secondly it will allow me to sharpen my skills racing on the short tracks with some of the world’s best drivers”, States: Christian Celaya Team Stange Racing and Christian Celaya are working on adding a handful of ARCA’s intermediate races such as: Chicago, Kansas, and Pocono to their program this season.
“I am delighted and very excited to have Christian Celaya back with us this season and I look forward to competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Championship with Christian, I would also love to see Christian compete in some of ARCA’s intermediate races this season as well to prepare him for the big year we plan in 2016”. “I cannot say enough how proud I am of the progress Christian has made testing and working with us the past few months; he is very fast, safe, aggressive, smart and just has a great head on his shoulders.” Stated: John Stange, Jr. Co-Owner,
Champions Rhodes, Seuss Lead 2014 Honorees
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The fans have spoken, and they have selected a pair of series champions as well as a pair of repeat award winners in balloting for the NASCAR regional touring series’ 2014 Most Popular Driver Awards.
The Most Popular Driver Award winners for 2014 are:
• Ben Rhodes (Louisville, Ky.), NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
• Brandon McReynolds (Mooresville, N.C.), NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
• J.R. Fitzpatrick (Ayr, Ont.), NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1
• Rodrigo Marban (Mexico City), NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series
• Freddy Nordstrom (London), NASCAR Whelen Euro Series
• Melissa Fifield (Wakefield, N.H.), NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
• Andy Seuss (Hampstead, N.H.), NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2014) – Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today the additions of Justin Boston and Matt Tifft to the team’s driver lineup for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Boston will run a full-time schedule competing for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, while Tifft will run a six-race schedule and share the driving duties behind the wheel of his Tundra with KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Daniel Suarez competing for the Truck Series Owner’s Championship.
Boston completed his second full-time season in the ARCA Racing Series in 2014, finishing fifth in the championship standings and collecting wins at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway in May and Madison (Wis.) International Speedway in August. In addition to his two wins, he collected three poles, 241 laps led, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.6 across 20 starts this year. Overall in two seasons of ARCA action, the Maryland native has posted two wins, five poles, 15 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes across 41 starts and finished inside the top-five in the championship standings both years.
The 25-year-old also made two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014, finishing ninth in his series debut at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and following it up with a 12th-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. He made one Truck Series start this season, but was relegated to a 30th-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway getting caught up in a late-race accident.
Continue reading ‘KBM Announces Additions to Driver Lineup for 2015′
LOUISVILLE, KY (November 4th, 2014) – On Tuesday, November 4th, Louisville, Kentucky, native and recently-crowned 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion and Sunoco Rookie of the Year driver Ben Rhodes was on hand at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, alongside NASCAR President Mike Helton and other current NASCAR stars Kyle Larson and Ben Kennedy, to announce the 2015 body style for the K&N Pro Series East and West cars. Rhodes’ No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions scheme was used on the Chevrolet during the unveiling.
For the complete press release regarding the new body style, visit the NASCAR Home Tracks website by clicking here. For more on the new body style, visit the Five Star Bodies website here.
Continue reading ‘Ben Rhodes Joins NASCAR in 2015 K&N Pro Series Car Body Announcement’
New Body Debuts At 2014 SEMA Show In Las Vegas
In fact, the sport is betting that drivers and crew chiefs alike will be unable to keep their hands off the sleek and sexy lines of their show-stopper that will be unveiled Tuesday by NASCAR President Mike Helton during the SEMA automotive specialty products trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“This car is not only a pretty good-looking piece, it’s a game changer,” said NASCAR Touring Series Managing Director Brad Moran of the new body, sporting panels made from a state-of-the-art composite laminate blend that are bolted together with a revolutionary 12-flange design.
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.
New Toyota, Ford and Chevy bodies eligible for competition in short track races
November 2, 2014 — Teams competing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will have the option of running new flange-fit, modular panel, composite material bodies at tracks one mile and less in length beginning in 2015.
Officials from the Automobile Racing Club of America and Five Star Race Car Bodies announced today the details of the new optional body package for the upcoming 2015 ARCA Racing Series season, including availability and pricing.
ARCA Racing Series teams will have the option at short track venues in ’15 to compete with showroom stock-appearing Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet SS body packages, constructed with state of the art, composite laminate blend materials engineered to be lightweight and durable, and to resist deflection at high speeds. The complete body is comprised of 12 flange-fit modular panels, for ease of installation and quick replacement, and weighs less than 135 pounds. The ease-of-installation design allows teams to install the entire body in their respective shops, and to perform replacement of damaged panels at the team’s shop or at the track, resulting in significant savings in time and labor required for repairs.
Ben Kennedy of Daytona Beach, FL enters Friday’s WinStar World Casino and Resort 350 looking to stop a trend. With four top 10s in his last 12 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Kennedy has dropped from sixth to eighth in standings since Iowa in July. A string of bad luck has hampered Kennedy’s finishes lately including brake problems, a broken hub and running out of fuel.
“We’re looking forward to Texas because we brought a brand new truck here and we’ve got some new stuff that we’re going to try out,” Kennedy said. “So I’m looking forward to it and really the next three races we’ve got Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead ,which I ran last year so I’ve got experience at all three of those racetracks, which is kind of uncommon for me this year.
Kennedy will only have multiple starts at six tracks through the end of the season: Bristol, Chicagoland, Homestead, Iowa, Martinsville, and Texas. Kennedy has three NASCAR K&N Pro Series West starts at Phoenix in 2011-12.
TSM Driver Recognized for Efforts Off the Track
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – By any measure, Scott Heckert’s 2014 season in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East was a success, highlighted by two race wins, three poles, and an eighth place finish in the season standings while driving the No. 34 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet.
While winning a race in the highly competitive series is a significant career accomplishment, his off-the-track work to raise awareness for victims of cognitive disorders earned him an even more rare distinction.
Heckert was named a Project Lifesaver Ambassador during a pre-race ceremony at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26, becoming just the fifth person to be so honored. Previous awardees include Medal of Honor recipient and retired U.S. Army Colonel Jack Jacobs and actor Erik Estrada.
Continue reading ‘Heckert Receives Project Lifesaver Honor’
Daytona Beach, FL, October 15, 2014– Ben Kennedy Racing announced that 15-year-old Kaz Grala has been signed to pilot the Ben Kennedy Racing entry for the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.
Grala, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, will enter his second full NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season following an impressive rookie campaign in 2014. As the youngest full-time driver, he wrapped up the season seventh in the points standings, with four top-5 and ten top-10 finishes.
Grala also turned some heads this season in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, where he competed against the best of the best and won. Earlier this month, he had a dominant debut at Martinsville Speedway (VA), winning the heat race by a full straightaway and leading 54 laps of the feature in the biggest late model event of the year.
Continue reading ‘Kaz Grala Tapped to Drive for Ben Kennedy Racing in 2015′
NASCAR Next Driver Making A Name In K&N Pro East
By the impressionable age of 5, Austin Hill fell in love.
Attending his first NASCAR race at Talladega Speedway, the Winston, Georgia, driver not only became a diehard Jeff Gordon fan, but also fell for racing himself.
By the time he was 6 years old, he was racing and at 8 he won his first quarter-midget championship (Gordon won his first quarter-midget championship at 8, too). And Hill didn’t plan to stop there.
Racing briefly took a back seat during the now 20-year-old Hill’s final two years of high school. He waited until 2012 – the summer after graduation – to makes his first two K&N Pro Series East starts. Since, however, it’s been on the fast track.
In 2013, Hill upped the start total to five, collecting his first victory at Dover International Speedway. Not only did he conquer the Monster Mile, but he bested some of the sport’s top young talents including Cole Custer, Kyle Benjamin, Gray Gaulding and Daniel Suarez.
And then 2014 rolled around.
Things started heating up this year. After being named part of NASCAR Next — an industry initiative designed to spotlight NASCAR’s rising stars — Hill’s first full-time K&N Pro Series East season was stamped a success for this family-run, single car team. He racked up two wins, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in the 16-race season – good enough for a fifth-place finish in the points.He capped the year with back-to-back wins at two grueling tracks: the flat half-mile of South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway, known for testing driver’s strategy with heavy tire wear, and a second win on the high-banked concrete of Dover.
That’s a huge leap compared to his partial season in 2013. And another win at Dover was the highlight of it all.
“This year’s Dover win meant more to me especially because of all the things we had to overcome – fighting a tight race car at the beginning of the race and then cutting the left rear tire down,” Hill said. “As a small team, you definitely have to work a lot harder. We don’t have six or seven guys working on the cars like most teams do, we only have one full-time guy. I try to work on the race cars as much as I can.”
Off the track, the driver took some big steps of his own. They included relocating from home to Kannapolis, North Carolina; getting married to his long-time girlfriend on the beach in South Carolina; starting a home renovation with his wife; and merging race teams (K&N Pro Series East, Bandaleros, Legends and Late Models) under one roof with his brother-in-law into AK Performance, which will be housed in their newly purchased 10,000 square foot space in Kannapolis. That particular project is currently being renovated by the duo.
“It gets tough at times for sure, having to help on the house then work on the Bandaleros and Legends cars, and then go to the shop we’re trying to finish up now. It kind of wears you out a little bit,” said Hill, “It is what I love doing and I hope to do it for the rest of my life. I just wake up every morning ready to work.”
What’s the next step for the rising star in 2015?
“We’re going to try and run the full K&N Pro Series East season for one more year and see where it leads to, try and get a championship next year.”
Sources: Alex Moore, NASCAR PR
20 Drivers Invited To 11th Drive for Diversity Combine
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Twenty multicultural and female race car drivers from the United States, Canada and Latin America will participate in the 11th Annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Combine Oct. 13-15 with hopes of earning a spot in the 2015 NASCAR D4D Class in partnership with Rev Racing.
The NASCAR D4D Combine – being held at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virgina, for the fourth consecutive year – has been the proving ground for several current NASCAR national series drivers, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Kyle Larson, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series three-time race winner Darrell Wallace Jr. and NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series driver Daniel Suarez, who recently announced a full-year NASCAR Nationwide Series ride with Joe Gibbs Racing for 2015.
“The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program has seen significant success in recent years with several standout drivers who have consistently exceled and put on their best performance on the race track,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR vice president of racing operations. “It is important for us to provide development opportunities for young female and diverse drivers who have the talent, but may lack the resources or guidance to find an entry point in our sport.”
Continue reading ‘Young Multicultural and Female Drivers Compete for Spot in NASCAR’
With the decision made to race a part-time schedule after winning at Bristol, Eddie MacDonald and the Grimm Racing team focused their effort on preparing the best possible car for the best possible finish. On Friday night, the Grimm Construction Chevy drove from 16th in the 30 car-field to fourth place in the final race of the NASCAR Pro Series East season in the Drive Sober 150 on the “Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway.
Eddie Mac’s impressive record over the final four races of the season began with an eighth place run at Langley, followed by a second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a sixth place in the East West combination race at Iowa Speedway, and finally the fourth place run on the fast, high banked mile oval at Dover. The team ran ten of the 16 race schedule posting one win, three top fives, and six top tens.
“We are really pleased with our performance over the second half of the season,” said Eddie Mac. “ After the win at Bristol we knew we could be competitive in the races we entered. We have to thank Rob Grimm for providing two new cars for us to race. Unfortunately after we built them, we had to rebuild them after some serious wrecks early on. That is where the crew came in and did a tremendous amount of work to get them race ready in such a short time. Rollie (LaChance crew chief)and I could not have done it without them. We raced the car that finished second at New Hampshire, so we knew we would have a competitive car for Dover.”
Closes K&N Pro East With 2 Straight Wins; Rhodes Takes Title
DOVER, Del. — Austin Hill mastered the Monster Mile. Again.
The 20-year-old from Winston, Georgia, returned to the track where he recorded his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win a year ago and put on a dominating display Friday in the Driver Sober 150. Not even a tire issue could keep Hill from becoming the first driver since 1997 to close out the series season with back-to-back wins.Like South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway earlier this month, Hill again shared Victory Lane celebration with fellow NASCAR Next driver Ben Rhodes.
The 17-year-old Rhodes, from Louisville, Kentucky, clinched the series title with a race remaining back on Sept. 6 in a race Hill won. Rhodes finished 15th at Dover and officially received the championship trophy from NASCAR President Mike Helton at the Monster Mile. Rhodes had also previously secured the K&N Pro East Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
Hill’s No. 22 A&D Welding/Don Rich Ford outdistanced Kaz Grala by 5.136 seconds to take the checkered flag. Hill joined Brett Moffitt as the only series drivers to win twice on the one-mile, high-banked concrete oval.
NASCAR Next Driver Captures K&N Pro East Pole
DOVER, Del. – Jesse Little followed up his fast practice time earlier Friday with the top lap in qualifying to earn the 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Dover International Speedway. It’s the second NASCAR K&N Pro Series East pole for the 17-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina.
Little turned a fast lap of 23.384 seconds (153.951 mph) in his No. 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet, The NASCAR Next driver also won the pole at Iowa Speedway on Aug. 1.
Turner Scott Motorsports teammates Cameron Hayley (23.526/153.022) and Ben Rhodes (23.528/153.009) were second and third fastest. Kyle Benjamin and Kaz Grala rounding out the top five.
NASCAR Next Driver Leads Way at Monster Mile
DOVER, Del. – With a bright sun shining over the “Monster Mile” Friday, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East hit the track early for practice heading into the evening’s Driver Sober 150 at Delaware International Speedway.
NASCAR Next member Jesse Little, driver of the No. 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet, was fastest in the 75-minute session, turning a lap in 23.656 seconds at 152.181 mph on the one-mile concrete oval.
Brandon Jones, winner earlier this season in the second Iowa combination race, was second quick at 23.719 (151.777) and Kaz Grala was third at 23.766 (151.477). Brennan Newberry and defending race winner Austin Hill rounded out the top five.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: AAA 400
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 28
The Time: 2 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN, 1 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 400 miles (400 laps)
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Next Race: Dover 200
The Place: Dover International Speedway
The Date: Saturday, Sept. 27
The Time: 3:30p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 200 miles (200 laps)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Next Race: Rhino Linings 350
The Place: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Date: Friday, Sept. 27
The Time: 10 p.m. (ET)
TV: FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 350 Kilometers (146 laps)
SHERRILLS FORD, North Carolina (September 24, 2014) – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to Dover International Speedway on Friday for its season finale, the Drive Sober 150, with plenty of championship points positions up for grabs.
Reigning NKNPSE Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Jesse Little, can climb as high as second place in the final standings with a solid effort in this week’s race. After posting a ninth-place finish in his rookie season, the 2014 campaign has been one of the 17-year olds best in his budding career.
“We’ve had a great year with our NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet,” Little said. “Our team picked up the win at New Hampshire earlier in the season, scored a pole award in Iowa and strung together several top-10 finishes in recent weeks. If we can keep that momentum up in Friday’s Drive Sober 150 then I believe this team can make a climb in the final points standings.”
Analyzing The Drive Sober 150 At Dover International Speedway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will head to Dover International Speedway for the Drive Sober 150 on Friday, Sept. 26. Below is a statistical look at the performance of the series and selected drivers at the track:
Dover Race Setup
• Ben Rhodes clinched his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship after a fourth-place effort at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina the last time out. It was the second consecutive title for Turner Scott Motorsports.
• Defending race-winner Austin Hill is the only driver on the entry list with a previous win at Dover.
• Eddie MacDonald will attempt to make his 13th start at the Monster Mile. He leads all drivers with three top fives and four top 10s in his previous starts at Dover.
• Cameron Hayley enters the event with a 19-point cushion for the second spot in the standings, but just 27 points separate third from ninth in the championship standings.
Custer Brings Momentum With Him To Dover
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cole Custer is on cloud nine following his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the UNOH 175 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the 16-year-old NASCAR Next driver will be focused on a strong showing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Drive Sober 150 event at Dover International Speedway on Friday, Sept. 26.
Custer, from Ladera Ranch, California, has four NASCAR K&N Pro Series wins, four poles, eight top fives and 10 top 10s through his first 22 career starts, including a K&N Pro West win in the Talking Sticks Resort 75 at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 27, and a K&N Pro East victory in the Blue Ox 150 at Richmond International Raceway on April 26.
He’ll also be looking for a little vindication at Dover.
Grandson of NEAR Hall of Famer Seeking Additional Opportunities
LOUDON, NH — Richard Petty Motorsports development driver Corey LaJoie of Concord, NC will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He will drive the No. 77 Fochler Veterans Law/Valor4Vets.com Ford for Randy Humphrey Racing in the Sylvania 300.
“They were kind of looking to invest in a young driver and I guess I was at the top of their list,” LaJoie said. “I definitely have a lot to learn in this deal. This is kind of like jumping in the deep end with both feet here.”
He did not have the benefit of testing ahead of the race, just practice since Friday. LaJoie admitted that he is not used to the feel of the radial tires, including the lateral load (compared to bias ply run in other series). LaJoie called wrestling the 900 horsepower car “a task in itself.”
Concord, NC (September 17, 2014) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today that 16-year old Anderson Bowen will make his sixth career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) start Friday, September 26 at Dover International Speedway – “Drive Sober 150” presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety behind the wheel of the No.25 Copper Creek Hardware/VMS Toyota Camry.
“Dover is going to be big! It’s always exciting to race alongside NASCAR in a companion weekend event,” says Bowen. “My goal is to compete strong, run all the laps and get out of their with a solid qualifying and top-10 finish. Running with Venturini Motorsports gives me added confidence; they’re always prepared and have proven themselves as one of the best development deals around.”
Bowen, a native of Suwanne, Georgia has been busy over the last few seasons splitting his time between a variety of national and regional touring series including the NKNPSE, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards (ARCA) with Cunningham Motorsports, and the ARCA/CRA Series powered by JEGS and the Southern Super Series with his own team, Anderson Bowen Racing (ABR).
Captures NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Honor
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Rhodes can add one more piece of hardware to his impressive 2014 season.
The Louiville, Kentucky, native, has clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title by virtue of holding a 36-point lead headining into the final event of the season, the Drive Sober 150 at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway on Sept. 26. On Sept. 6 at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, Rhodes wrapped up the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship for Turner Scott Motorsports,
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver is now among the company of Ricky Craven, Andy Santerre, Brad Leighton, Joey Logano, Ryan Truex and Kyle Larson – all K&N Pro Series East champions – who have won the prestigious Rookie of the Year Award, which has been handed out each year since 1988.
Hill Takes Kevin Whitaker 140 Checkered Flag At Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ben Rhodes entered the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 needing to finish at least 13th to clinch his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East crown, he did nine spots better.
The 17-year-old Louisville, Kentucky, native earned his 11th top-five finish of the season, crossing the Greenville Pickens Speedway finish line fourth and clinching his first series title in the process. Fellow NASCAR Next driver Austin Hill earned his first victory of the season and second of his career.
“It means a lot to see this year to come together like it has,” said Rhodes. “This is what we set out to do in the beginning of the year.
Looks To Repeat History At Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ben Rhodes, looking to sweep the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races at Greenville Pickens Speedway, will start Saturday’s Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 on the pole.
Rhodes earned his sixth 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Co., posting a fast lap of 20.742 seconds (86.780 mph) in afternoon qualifying.
The 17-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, also had the fastest overall time in practice. Rhodes needs only to finish 13th or better in the race to clinch the series championship.
Sets Sight On K&N East Title
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ben Rhodes is picking up right where he left off.
Rhodes, who won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Greenville Pickens Speedway earlier this year, posted the fastest time in practice at the half-mile oval Saturday afternoon.
The 17-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, had a fast time of 20.900 seconds (86.124 mph) in the first 45-minute practice for the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140. Rhodes needs only to finish 13th or better in the race to clinch his first series championship.
Austin Hill was the second fastest in the first practice with a time of 21.202 (84.898 mph) and Gray Gaulding followed in third with a time of 21.224 (84.810 mph).
Cameron Hayley of Calgary finished eleventh in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, ONT on Sunday. He qualified tenth in the No. 32 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports, and ran solid throughout the day.
“I knew it was going to be tough coming in, and I think we did well,” Hayley said. “I qualified in the top 10, which was our goal, and felt that I could do a little bit better in the race. But we were up to seventh at one point I believe and just kept rallying back and the cautions never really worked out in our favor, but we were really happy with the day and just learned a ton.”
“It was crazy how fast the track was and there really was no slow section,” Hayley said of the 2.46 mile track. “Most of the time on a road course, you use all four gears and spend most of your time in second around these tighter road courses and this track you spent most of your time in third and fourth, which shows how quick the track was and it was definitely the fastest one I’ve ever been on.”
He casually explains that he is mentally psyching himself up to knock out a few hours of make-up work because he missed several classes over the past week. The extra work isn’t a punishment for misbehaving in class or for extra credit. But while his peers were going over last night’s algebra homework, Rhodes was doing what he loves most – racing on the track.
In A Clinch
If Rhodes finishes P13 or better Saturday, then he clinches the title
Rhodes competed in his first race at 7 years old.
The results weren’t pretty.
“I was not good,” he admits between laughs. “My parents bought this go-kart to run. I watched my older brother drive and decided I wanted to be a part of it too. I went out (to Sportsdrome-Speedway), went several laps down and was run over by the leader. I wanted to quit but was too scared to tell my dad because he just bought this go-kart, so I gave it another week and started to like it. Ever since then it’s been what I’ve loved.”
Fast forward to 2014.
The 17-year-old NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver has made a name for himself after capturing his first checkered flag at Greenville Pickens Speedway in March. He kept the winning streak going at Iowa Speedway and the famed Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in May and then carried the streak into June with wins at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, and Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.
There’s no arguing that the Louisville, Kentucky native has had an explosive season, which he attributes to his determination to learn and improve.
“I stayed the entire summer in Mooresville, North Carolina and was in the shop every day with my team,” he said. “I was there as long as they were, from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day working on the cars. It’s definitely made me a better racer. I understand the car more and my feedback [to my team on the track] is way better than when I started the summer.”
When he isn’t studying to maintain an impressive 4.0 grade point average or building up his cardio in a cross fit session, Rhodes kicks up his feet in front of the TV like any normal teenager, catching up on episodes of Family Guy or playing video games. His favorite is Battlefield 4. He spent Labor Day weekend in-door rock climbing with friends and wants to take up cycling once he finds a buddy to ride with. He read 1984 this summer as required by school, chews gum in class and watches James Bond movies with his dad.
While he indulges all of the pleasures of your typical high school senior, this NASCAR Next competitor’s mind is fixed on racing.
“I don’t look at the short-term,” he said when describing how he mentally prepares for a race. “I do what I can do [on the track] and try not to worry about anything else. I focus on my line and my groove. Last year, I never really qualified too well because I was so worried about getting a spot up front. I started taking the pressure off of myself. Do your best and forget the rest. Ever since then, I’ve had very good qualifying positions.”
With a lofty 65-point-lead over second-place Cameron Hayley, it’s understandable that Rhodes isn’t too worried about numbers heading into the Greenville 140.
“Midway through the year, we needed to step back and just maintain our points lead,” said Rhodes. “Now, there’s no holding back. We’ve got a nice points gap and I think Greenville Pickens is going to be a great race for us. I’ve always had a good history at that track and I feel like we’ve got a good shot to win the race and we’re going to take the chance.”
Sources: Amaris Noble, NASCAR PR
Analyzing The The Whitaker Chevy 140
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to Greenville (South Carolina) Pickens Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 6 for the Whitaker Chevy 140, the season’s 15th of 16 events. Below is a look at the performance of the series and selected drivers at Greenville, as well as some other statistical trends:
Greenville Race Setup
• Ben Rhodes can clinch the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title with a 13th-place finish or better in The Whitaker Chevy 140. Rhodes currently has a 65-point advantage over Cameron Hayley in the championship standings.
• Ben Rhodes and Sergio Peña are part of an impressive list of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East winners at Greenville that includes Austin Dillon, Dylan Kwasniewski, Joey Logano and Darrell Wallace Jr., who is the only multi-time series winner at the track.
• Scott Heckert enters the weekend with two consecutive wins in the K&N Pro Series East. He is the third driver this season to have a streak of back-to-back wins, joining Daniel Daniel Suárez and Turner Scott Motorsport teammate Ben Rhodes.
• Track position is critical in short-track racing, and Greenville is no exception. The average starting position for the 12 race winners is 2.99.
Greenville Pickens Speedway
• Opened on July 4, 1946 as a dirt track. The race surface was converted to asphalt in April, 1970.
• Held 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 1951-71, including the first flag-to-flag televised event.
• David Pearson (1959) and Ralph Earnhardt (1965, 66) are among the famed drivers that have won championships at the track.
• Junior Miller won a pair of NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races at Greenville in the 2006-07 seasons.