Second Win Goes Lupton’s Way At Kern

Second Win Goes Lupton’s Way At Kern

K&N Pro West Leader Pursley Black-Flagged On Final Restart

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Dylan Lupton scored his second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win Saturday night in a wild finish at Kern County Raceway Park.

The 20-year-old Wilton, California, driver battled championship points leader Greg Pursley on a green-white-checkered finish that pushed the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS to 155 laps.

Pursley, who had won the series’ first two races at the two-year-old track, was black flagged for a restart violation — he took off before the restart point. That enabled Lupton’s No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Lucas Oil/Eibach Ford to cruise to Victory Lane.

The penalty dropped Pursley to ninth.

Brandon McReynolds finished second and Jesse Little third.

Lupton’s rookie teammate James Bickford was fourth and Thomas Martin fifth. Taylor Cuzick, Justin Funkhouser, rookie Jairo Avila, Pursley and David Mayhew rounded out the top 10.

Pursley won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day and dominated the evening’s race. He took the lead from Little on Lap 108 and was in control when a caution on Lap 148 for a spin changed the race.

Pursley still holds a 15-point lead over Lupton in the championship standings. McReynolds is 11 points back of Lupton, while Mayhew and Bickford round out the top five.

Lupton, a member of the NASCAR Next class, earned his first win at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington, last August en route to Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. McReynolds and Little are also members of the NASCAR Next program, an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s rising stars. Little, the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year, was looking to pick up a win in the series his father, Chad, won a championship in 1987.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will next race in the Utah Grand Prix on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Miller Motorsports Park at Tooele, Utah.

RESULTS | RACE CENTRAL LIVE REPLAY | AUDIO WINNER: DYLAN LUPTON | AUDIO RUNNER-UP: BRANDON MCREYNOLDS | AUDIO THIRD-PLACE: JESSE LITTLE

nknps-west_kern_dylan-lupton_greg-pursley_race_083014

Greg Pursley (26) was black-flagged for jumping the race’s final restart, handing Saturday night’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory to Dylan Lupton (9) at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif. Getty Images for NASCAR

Myers Muscles Way To Langley Victory Lane

Myers Muscles Way To Langley Victory Lane

Scores Whelen Southern Mod Win After Last-Lap Fireworks

HAMPTON, Va. — Burt Myers got his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win of 2014 Saturday night and not without controversy.

The 38-year-old Walnut Cove, North Carolina, driver drove to Victory Lane at Langley Speedway after a wild final lap of the Bayport Credit Union 150.

Myers was running second to George Brunnhoelzl III on the final lap when the two made contact coming out of Turn 4. Myers crossed the line first as Brunnhoelzl bounced off the outside wall and spun across the track. After a video review of the incident, NASCAR officials upheld Myers win and Brunnholzl was scored in second.

Championship points leader Andy Seuss finished third, followed by J.R. Bertuccio and Jason Myers.

After eight races, Seuss leads Brunnhoelzl by 14. Bertuccio is 29 behind Seuss, while both Burt Myers and Danny Bohn are 39 back.

It was Burt Myers’ first win since the 2013 season final on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Ebersole, Bohn, Gary Putnam, Ryan Preece and Luke Fleming rounded out the top 10 at Langley. Earlier in the day, Preece won the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying, but a late race pit stop cost the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular a shot at the win.

Preece led a race-high 64 laps, while Brunnhoelzl led 55. The race featured seven lead changes among four drivers. It was the first race in which, in lieu of a mid-race break, teams were allowed to pit and change one tire at any point in the race.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be right back at it on Friday, Sept. 5 at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina.

RESULTS | RACE CENTRAL LIVE REPLAY | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH RACE WINNER BURT MYERS | AUDIO: POST-RACE INTERVIEW WITH THIRD-PLACE ANDY SEUSS

nwsmt_langley_george-brunnhoelzl_burt-myers_action_083014

George Brunnhoelzl (28) led Burt Myers (1) on the final lap until contact in Turn 4 resulted in Myers taking the victory Saturday night at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. Speed51.com

QUALIFYING: Pursley Stays Fast At Kern

QUALIFYING: Pursley Stays Fast At Kern

Earns Coors Pole Award; Eyes 3rd K&N Pro West Win There

See video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Greg Pursley continued his mastery of Kern County Raceway Park Saturday afternoon.

Pursley won the Coors Light Pole Award for Saturday evening’s Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS. Pursley has won the previous two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races at the two-year-old track, including May’s event in which he won from the pole.

Pursley, the championship points leader, put down a lap of 18.255 seconds (98.603 mph) around the half-mile to earn his 19th career Coors Light Pole Award in the K&N Pro West.

Brandon McReynolds qualified second at 18.325 (98.457), and David Mayhew was third at 18.325 (98.226).

K&N Pro East regular Jesse Little qualified fourth, followed by Kelly Admiraal.

Rookie James Bickford, Taylor Cuzick, rookie Jeremy Doss, Dylan Lupton and Thomas Martin rounded out the top 10.

The Bakersfield 150 is slated to go green at 8:35 p.m. PT.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Drive Second to None Fuels Little

Drive Second to None Fuels Little

Second-Generation Driver Seeks Next Challenge in Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Most students enter their senior year of high school facing a number of daunting choices that will shape the rest of their lives – weighty stuff for teenagers.

For Jesse Little, a 17-year old senior at Bandys High School in Catawba, North Carolina, his future path is crystal clear: he wants to be a professional racecar driver.

And with a win in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July, Little is well on his way to making that dream a reality.

“I’ve pretty much been around racetracks as long as I can remember,” said Little, driver of the No. 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet and a native of Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. “Some of my earliest memories are of my birthday parties at racetracks, when my dad was racing in the Cup series.”

Jesse’s father, Chad Little, is the series director for NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series and an accomplished former driver in NASCAR’s three national series.

For Jesse, being around racing from a young age afforded him the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of racing and race cars, and he’s translated that experience to success on the track.

With two races remaining in the 2014 K&N Pro Series East season, Little is fourth in the championship standings with a win, four top-5 finishes, and nine top-10 finishes – including his current streak of seven consecutive top 10s.

TWITTER: @jesselittle97

“His drive and will are second to none”

Harold Holly has spent nearly three decades in the racing industry, serving as a crew chief since 1994 for numerous NASCAR drivers including Chad Little, Jeff Green, and Johnny Sauter in all three national series. He is currently the Competition Director at GMS Racing, which fields multiple teams in both the NASCAR Camping world Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series from its Charlotte base. 

He has known Jesse Little since he was a child, and has played a key role in Little’s development as a racer. According to Holly, Jesse Little’s rare ability to combine an unyielding desire to win, an analytical approach to racing decisions, and an unmatched work ethic is what separates him from the competition.

“He has so much drive, he’s so athletic, his comprehension of the engineering aspects of the car – it amazes me,” said Holly.

Jesse’s racing career has followed a familiar path in the stock car community – starting in quarter midgets at age 7, then racing Bandoleros in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series, a stint in Legends cars, and finally the move to Late Models in 2010. 

Not as common has been Little’s commitment to learning the mechanical intricacies of the cars, and that’s a difference that Holly sees on the track.

“He’s been able to unfold the deck of cards and see what each one is, to understand the geometry. He’s at the shop at 6:30 in the morning when he’s not in school. And when he is in school, he’ll get up an hour early and go to the shop before he has to leave for class,” Holly said.

2014_nascar-next_profile_jesse-little_nhms-win_082914

Jesse Little celebrated his first K&N Pro Series win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. Getty Images for NASCAR

Maturity brings Success

After winning the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the K&N Pro Series East, Little was named to the 2014-2015 NASCAR Next class. NASCAR Next is an industry program that spotlights and develops emerging talent in the sport.

“Being a part of the Next class is a huge honor,” Little said. “It has opened so many doors already, and seeing the success that other drivers who’ve come through the program have had, I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”

Holly points to Little’s maturity – on and off the track – as a key factor in his current run of positive results. 

“He and I talk quite a bit – I take him fishing, and while we’re out there he’ll ask me about racing, how I view a particular problem or situation. He’s always thinking, analyzing a situation, always learning,” Holly said.

Little agrees that he’s adapted a more strategic approach to in-race decisions, considering the long-term consequences before making a move.

“Previously I was one of those drivers with a fast car who would put myself in a bad position and ruin our whole day. At the end of last year, I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture, and now I weigh the risk versus reward and try to put myself in position to be there at the end, to finish well,” Little said.

That reasoned approach balances Little’s intense desire to win every race.

“Jesse’s got – I won’t call it a temper, I’ll just say he turns his passion way up at times,” Holly said. “He drives hard all the time, when he’s out there he’s giving you 110 percent every second. But he’s learned that when the race car and racetrack aren’t there for you, you can’t just take it – not with points implications.”

Still a Teenager

Little’s racing career brings an added level of difficulty to the normal high school senior’s daily challenges, but he knows the memories he makes now will last a lifetime.

“I really just enjoy being a teenager – I have a good group of friends I hang out with, I enjoy going to football games on Friday night and basketball games in the winter – it’s a lot of fun,” Little said. “My senior year is special and something I’ll remember forever. The staff at Bandys is awesome and they are really supportive of what I’m doing.”

As this season comes to a close, Little has no doubt about what lies ahead for him.

“I don’t see myself doing anything other than racing professionally, I want to make it to the top. It’s something that will take a lot of work and I’m willing to do it – I like the challenge.”

2014_nascar-next_profile_jesse-little_in-car_082914

Jesse Little earned the 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award in the K&N Pro Series East before being names to the 2014-2015 NASCAR Next class. Getty Images for NASCAR

Stricklin In Hunt For Track Championship

Stricklin In Hunt For Track Championship

Whelen All-American Series Division II-V Update

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2014) – Born into a racing family, it would be easy to conclude that Taylor Stricklin was destined to be competing at a race track. 

With his dad, Hut, a former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, and Donnie Allison, his granddad and legendary member of the Alabama Gang – driving a race car would only seem logical. But that wasn’t always the case with Taylor.

“I started racing go karts when I was little and I had a bad wreck and my mom said that was the end of it,” said Taylor. “So I took up another sport – basketball.”

Taylor stands 6-foot 7 and was successful at the sport and was content, until he couldn’t play any longer when he reached college and was diagnosed with a cyst on his anterior cruciate ligament. It was after surgery to remove the cyst that the racing bug bit him again.

“I was sitting in class and recovering from surgery and all I could think about was racing as I knew I wouldn’t be able to play competitive basketball again,” Taylor said. “So I went and talked to my dad about it.”

Hut told Taylor he would have to work on the car and pay his own way and he agreed. But one hurdle remained – convincing his mom, Pam, to let him get in a race car.

“I don’t know how dad did it, but I was able to start racing again,” Taylor added.

While working for his family’s salvage business, the 25-year old driver began racing in a Street Stock car and eventually moved up to Late Models. 

After realizing he couldn’t afford to race full-time in a Late Model, Taylor and his dad decided to move to the Limited Division and that decision is paying dividends for the Rowan County, N.C. driver.

Stricklin sits 21st in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II points standings and also leads the Hickory Motor Speedway standings by 22 points with four races remaining.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II-V Championship program determines support division national championships. The four national champions will receive a trophy and a trip to the series national awards event. In addition, the top-three dirt and top-three asphalt drivers in each division will be invited to the series awards event.

At season’s end, drivers in Divisions II-V will be ranked by their best 14 NASCAR points race results. The season concludes September 21.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship Division II-V leaders this week include:

Division II: 1. Jared Umbenhauer, Grandview Speedway, Bechtelsville, Pa.; 2. Jesse Dennis, I-80 Speedway, Greenwood, Neb., Adams County Speedway, Corning, Iowa; 3. Brett Kressley, Grandview; 4. Terry Humphrey Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway;  5. Dylan Smith, I-80, Junction Motor Speedway, McCool Junction, Neb.
Division III: 1. Jon Plowman, I-80, Adams County; 2. Josh Galvin, Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl; 3. Randy Stoudt, Grandview; 4 Jerod Weston, I-80, Adams County; 5. John Ketron, Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway, Coeburn, Va.
Division IV: 1. AJ Sanders Jr., Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Caraway, Sophia, N.C.; 2. Corey Kyer, Columbus; 3. Jeremy Menninger, Columbus; 4. Jimmy McElfresh, Columbus; 5. Garrett Denton, Waterford, Thompson.
Division V: 1. Donovan Beacham, Anderson (S.C.) Motor Speedway, Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway, 2. Brian King, Anderson, Greenville; 3. Jerry Jansen Jr., Kalamazoo (Mich.); 4. Brady Walsh, Salina (Kan.) Speedway; 5. Brian Kosiski, I-80.

STANDINGS: 

DIVISION II DIVISION III | DIVISION IV | DIVISION V

The Limited Late Model division is affordable enough for Taylor to compete each week and having his mom and dad there has really been helpful.

“They are my biggest supporters and always willing to help,” Taylor said. “I also talk with my grandpa (Donnie Allison) who offers advice and insight on how I can get better and I always appreciate that.”

Coming from a family that has enjoyed so much success in NASCAR racing could bring a lot of expectations and pressure and Taylor feels that, but not from where you would expect it.

“I don’t feel really any pressure from my family because we have always tried our best and given everything we have to racing,” said Taylor. “I hear it from other competitors and people who just expect us to run up front because of my family name and what we have accomplished. Many people don’t realize that we don’t have the money a lot of other teams have and we just work hard as we can to be competitive. I feel we have done a pretty good job.”

Taylor has recorded two wins with 13 top fives and 14 top-10s in 15 starts at the .363-mile short track. While he is proud of his family’s accomplishments in the sport, winning a division title at the historic short track would also mean a lot to him and his family.

“When you look back and see who all has won titles at Hickory that is really saying something when you think of champions like Earnhardt and Gant,” Taylor said. “I remember going to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony when my great uncle Bobby (Allison) got inducted and Kyle Petty was speaking on stage. He said that his family always tried not to beat yourself when they were on the track and that is what we are doing.”

While Taylor has his eye on the track title, he is watching the national Division II points as well.

“We want to finish strong these last four races and hopefully move up some more in the national standings,” he added. “We want to finish as high as we can at the end of the season.” 

Under the NASCAR point structure in Divisions I-V, drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of in an event, up to 18 cars. Three bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a single-digit starting position and five bonus points will be awarded to a race winner with a double-digit starting position.

Drivers must be NASCAR-licensed and cars will be verified for display of required series sponsor decals to be eligible for NASCAR points and awards.

Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.

Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.

Taylor Stricklin currently leads the Limited Sportsman Division standings at Hickory Motor Speedway. 

Bohn Celebrates Bowman Gray Championship

Bohn Celebrates Bowman Gray Championship

Second-Generation Driver Gives Longtime Owner First Track Title

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Long recognized as is one of the most popular tracks in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, Bowman Gray Stadium added to its storied history last Saturday night crowning its 2014 modified track champion.

Since 1996, that prestigious honor has been the exclusive domain of Tim Brown (nine championships), Burt Myers (six) and Junior Miller (three of his six titles came during that span).

Now, Danny Bohn can add his name to that storied list.

Bohn, who moved down from New Jersey to North Carolina six years ago, still can’t believe it.

“I remember the first time I came to Bowman Gray Stadium to watch a race and I just dreamed of the day I could race there. And now I am a champion,” said the 26-year-old Bohn. “It’s unbelievable.”

Bohn also gave veteran car owner Melvin “Puddin” Swisher his first track title as a car owner. Swisher has fielded cars for many drivers through the years and the Kernersville, North Carolina, native won 26 races as a driver in a stadium modified.

“For years and years it has either been a Myers, Brown or Miller that has won the track title at Bowman Gray,” Bohn said. “I am so happy to be able to give Puddin’ a championship to celebrate with us.”

Bohn is the first of two drivers to earn a ticket to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame / Charlotte Convention Center on Friday, Dec. 12 as a track champion. Todd Sherman won his fifth consecutive K&N Modified division track championship at Limaland Motorsports Park, a quarter-mile banked clay oval in Lima, Ohio.

NASCAR will crown 58 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions across the United States and Canada. In addition, NASCAR will celebrate the top three finishers in the national standings, as well as U.S. state and Canadian province champions, top finishers in the Div. II-V and special award winners in Charlotte.

STANDINGS: NATIONAL TOP 500 | STATE/PROVINCE

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I drivers are ranked by their best 18 NASCAR points finishes in series-sanctioned events. Drivers receive two points for every car they finish ahead of – up to 18 cars – and three points for a win, with an additional two points available if the driver starts 10th or lower.

Anthony Anders moved closer to his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship with a pair of asphalt Late Model wins from the 10th starting position at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway on Friday. Anders also finished eighth and fifth at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday.

In 46 starts at Greenville, Hickory and South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway and Anderson Speedway, the Easley, South Carolina, driver has 27 wins, 40 top fives and 44 top 10s. His single-season win total is tied for 11th most in series history.

Greenville has two Late Model races remaining, twin 40-lap features on Sept. 13.

The wins at Greenville Friday were also his seventh and eighth from a starting position of 10th or worse, stretching his lead over two-time defending national champion Lee Pulliam to 10 points.

Pulliam, of Semora, North Carolina, won twice in his asphalt Late Model at Southern National Raceway Park in Lucama, North Carolina, on Saturday. He has 21 wins, 35 top fives and 36 top 10s in 40 starts. Three of his wins have come from 10th or worse.

Pulliam also has wins at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway in Radford and South Boston Speedway, and North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway in Sophia.

Connecticut’s Keith Rocco won at Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday to push his points total to 690. He has 13 wins, 30 top fives and 33 top 10s in 38 starts. Nine of his wins, including Saturday’s, have come from starting 10th or worse. Rocco also races his asphalt SK Modified at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Dillon Bassett, who has competed at seven tracks throughout the southeast, moved back in to the top four this week with a pair of asphalt Late Model wins at Caraway, while Ryan Preece (Thompson, Stafford, Waterford and New York’s Riverhead Raceway) dropped to fifth.
 
Peyton Sellers (South Boston, Langley, Caraway, Motor Mile) is sixth, followed by Kres Van Dyke (Virginia’s Lonesome Pine and Tennessee’s Kingsport Speedway) and Tommy Lemons Jr. (South Boston, Southern National, Caraway and Motor Mile). Chad Finchum (Lonesome Pine and Kingsport) moved up one spot to ninth and Stewart Friesen (New York’s Utica-Rome Speedway and Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville) moved into the top 10.

Bohn knew going into Saturday’s season finale he would likely have to win the race and also get a little help as he had to finish as least four positions ahead of Lee Jeffreys – who entered the night as the points leader.

Bohn was near the front most of the race and he was able to make a daring three-wide pass around race leader Tim Brown and a lapped car to take the top spot on Lap 81. Bohn was out in front when a rain shower passed through just three laps short of the finish. After a 45-minute rain delay, they were able to go back racing for the title with Bohn holding off Brown for the win.

“I really didn’t think I had a chance with four DNF’s this year and a blown motor four races ago,” Bohn added. “We just went to work and kept racing hard each week and things just worked out for our team.”

Swisher even got back in the car and took a victory lap himself after celebrating in Victory Lane with Bohn.

“I feel there are three big races a year at Bowman Gray,” Bohn said. “You have the 200 lap weekly modified race, the 199-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race and the 150-lap season finale. We were able to come in here and win two of three and I would say that makes for a pretty good year here at the stadium.”

Bohn won the track championship by six points over Jeffreys (664-658) with Jason Myers third at 625. In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina standings, Bohn moved up to fifth.

Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s national championship program for weekly short track auto racing. In all, 58 paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada participate.

Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North America are among the many showcases for Whelen products.

nwaas_bowman-gray_champion_danny-bohn_race-action_082614

Danny Bohn (53) made a late pass of Tim Brown (83) to take the win at Bowman Gray Stadium Saturday night and clinch the track’s Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series championship. Eric Hylton Photography 

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series: National Top 25

 (R) Denotes Rookie of the Year presented by Jostens candidate

K&N West Statistical Advance: Kern County

K&N West Statistical Advance: Kern County

Analyzing The Bakersfield 150 At Kern County Raceway Park

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West makes its second trip of the season to Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 30 for the Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS. Below is a statistical look at the recent performance of the series and selected drivers at Kern County, as well as some other statistical trends:

Kern County Race Setup
• Greg Pursley won the K&N Pro Series West’s first two visits to the Southern California half-mile track, the inaugural trip in October 2013 and the season’s return earlier this season.
• David Mayhew is coming off a victory in the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. It was his third win of the year, following victories at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway and Iowa Speedway in Newton as the top-finishing K&N West competitor in the Spring event. 
• Brandon McReynolds recorded his career best finish, a second-place effort, at Evergreen Speedway. He trails Dylan Lupton  by six points for second in the championship standings.

Kern County Raceway Park
History
• Construction on Kern County Raceway Park was started in 2006, but was halted in 2008 during the economic downturn. A new ownership group later completed the project and the first race was held on May 18, 2013.
• The facility sits on 120 acres southwest of Bakersfield, Calif.
• The track is part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series family.
• The first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event was staged on Oct. 26, 2013.

Notebook
• This is the series’ third event at Kern County and second of the 2014 season.
• The Bakersfield 150 presented by GPS will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
• Greg Pursley is the only driver to win a series event at Kern County, visiting Victory Lane in both series starts at the .5-mile oval. 
• Gray Gaulding won the inaugural pole at the Southern California half-mile oval and finished 21st after being involved in a late-race accident. Pursley won the pole in the series’ May visit 
• May’s race had eight caution periods for 35 laps. The first visit to the track had four caution periods for 24 laps.
• Four drivers – Pursley, Gaulding, Derek Thorn and David Mayhew – have led laps at the track.

Kern County Data
Race: #11 of 14 (8/30/14)
Track Layout: .5-mile oval
Race Length: 150 laps (75 miles)
Banking/Turns: Progressive, 12-14 degrees
Banking/Straights: Eight degrees

Kern County Qualifying/Race Data
2013 Pole Winner: Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 100.514 mph (17.908 seconds)
2013 Race Winner: Greg Pursley, Ford, 63.589 mph (1 hour, 10 minutes, 46 seconds)
1-Lap Qualifying Record: Gray Gaulding, 17.908 seconds, 100.514 mph, Oct. 26, 2013
150-Lap Race Record: Greg Pursley, Ford, 1 hour, 10 minutes, 46 seconds, 63.589 mph, Oct. 26, 2013

Kern County Leaders
Wins
Greg Pursley … 2

Poles
Gray Gaulding … 1
Greg Pursley  … 1

Laps Completed
Dylan Lupton … 300
David Mayhew … 300
Greg Pursley … 300

Laps Led
Greg Pursley … 210
Gray Gaulding … 59
David Mayhew … 30
Derek Thorn … 1

Selected Driver Highlights:
James Bickford (No. 66 Sunrise Ford/Interstate Plastics Ford)
• Recorded his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory at State Line Speedway in Post Falls, Idaho on July 12. Has one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 10 career K&N West starts.
• Is fifth in the championship standings.
• Finished sixth in Spring event at the track
• Earned a top-five finish (fourth) among West entries on May 17 at Iowa Speedway; recorded first career top 10 (10th) on May 3 at Stockton 99 Speedway.
• Won NASCAR Whelen All-American Series late model track championship at All American Speedway last season.

Taylor Cuzick (No. 42 Freightliner of Arizona Ford)
• Has on top five and 15 top 10s in 29 career K&N West starts.
• Qualified ninth for the Kern County event in May.
• Has a career best finish of fourth at NAPA Speedway in Alburquerque, New Mexico in September 2012.

Rich DeLong III (No. 84 Country Girl Saloon/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet)
• Has 12 career K&N West starts to his credit.
• Ninth position in the season standings.
• Has a career best finish of 12th (Kern County Raceway Park  on May 24, 2014; Colorado National Raceway on July 26, 2014)
• Has an average finish of 20th in two career starts at Kern County

Anthony Giannone (No. 54 Trend Performance/Diamond Pistons Toyota)
• Has three top-10 finishes in 20 career K&N West starts.
• Sits eighth in the driver standings.
• Best career finish of seventh came in the May visit to Iowa Speedway
• Finished ninth in Spring visit to Kern County

Jesse Little (No. 97 NASCAR Technical Institute Chevrolet)
• Has two top fives in two career K&N Pro Series West starts.
• Finished  fifth in lone Kern County start, earlier this season
• Competes full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East where he is fourth in points and has one win, one pole, 10 top 5s and 17 top 10s in 35 career starts.
• Was 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
• Picked up first series win in July 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
• Is a member of the 2014-15 NASCAR Next class.

Dylan Lupton (No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Go Pro/Lucas Oil Ford)
• One win, 10 top fives, 22 top 10s in 28 career K&N West starts.
• Is second in the championship driver standings.
• Has a seventh-place and runner-up finish in two career Kern County starts
• Was 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year.
• Picked up first series win in August 2013 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. in his first start at the track.
• Is a member of the 2014-15 NASCAR Next class.

David Mayhew (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Seven wins, 41 top fives and 59 top 10s in 82 career K&N West starts.
• Occupies the fourth position in the season standings.
• Finished third at Kern County in May. Has two top fives in two series starts at the track. 
• Won Late Model championship during Kern County’s inaugural season with 15 wins in 22 starts. 
• Picked up his third win of the season the last time out at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. 

Brandon McReynolds (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Nine top fives and 11 top 10s in 12 career K&N West starts.
• Occupies the third position in the season standings.
• Finished fourth at Kern County in May.
• Earned his career-best series finish, second, the last time out at Evergreen Speedway.
• Competing fulltime in K&N West this season with Bill McAnally Racing.
• Three top fives and eight top 10s in 14 career K&N East starts, including one top 10 in two Iowa starts for the East.
• Is a member of the 2014-15 NASCAR Next class.

Greg Pursley (No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery/Real Water Chevrolet)
• 20 wins, 18 poles, 56 top fives, 71 top 10s in 95 career K&N West starts.
• Has won both K&N Pro Series West events at Kern County Raceway, leading 210 of 300 total laps.
• Average start position at Kern County is 2
• Leads championship standings by 25 points over Dylan Lupton.
• Won 2011 series championship.
• Led series with five wins a season ago; has 17 victories dating back to the start of the 2011 campaign.

Giles Thornton (No. 12 Montana Raceway Park Toyota)
• Five top fives and 10 top 10s in 20 career series starts
• Finished seventh at Kern County earlier this season
• Recorded career-best finish, third, at Stockton (California) 99 Speedway in May 2014.

John Wood (No. 30 Wahl Traction Toyota)
• Finished 17th at Kern County earlier this season.
• Average start at the track is 17.5, average finish is 20.5 
• Has three top 10s in 46 career starts
• Ranks seventh in the championship standings

Up To Speed In The West
• The 2014 season is the 61st for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
• The 2014 schedule features 14 races at 11 different tracks across seven states.
• Cole Custer won the season opener at Phoenix from the pole.
• Patrick Staropoli collected his first career win at Irwindale while Brandon McReynolds nabbed his first career pole award.
• David Mayhew returned to Victory Lane for the first time since March 2012 at Phoenix with a win from the pole at Stockton.
• Mayhew collected his second straight series win by being the top-finishing K&N West driver in the combination event with the K&N Pro Series East at Iowa Speedway. Staropoli was the top-qualifying West competitor.
• In just his seventh series start, James Bickford passed former champion Greg Pursley in the final laps of the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at State Line Speedway to capture his first victory.
• Racing at his home track Colorado National Speedway, Chris Eggleston  outraced Dylan Lupton to record his first K&N Pro Series West victory in just his second career start.
• Greg Pursley picked up his second victory of the season in the Autolite Iridium XP 150 at Iowa Speedway. Pursley was the highest finishing K&N Pro Series West driver, ninth overall in the second combination event with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. David Mayhew was the fastest qualifying west competitor.
• David Mayhew made a last-lap pass coming out of Turn 4 to edge out Dylan Lupton and Brandon McReynolds for a win in the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. It was the third victory of the season for Mayhew. McReynolds, the runner-up finisher, recorded his career best finih.

Harvick’s Goof Puts Hamlin On Edge In More Ways Than One

Denny Hamlin was leading early in the night race at Bristol when he was taken out in an accident caused by Kevin Harvick. Hamlin remains in the Chase, but not safely.

Denny Hamlin was leading early in the night race at Bristol when he was taken out in an accident caused by Kevin Harvick. Hamlin remains in the Chase, but not safely.

Friends, competitors and racing fans – I come to explain Kevin Harvick, not to praise him.

He is a stout competitor. But like all others he makes mistakes. He has admitted so. To be honest, some of them never do.

But in Harvick’s case what occurred at Bristol was so obvious and had such negative results the Stewart Haas Racing driver could do nothing more than beg forgiveness.

Which he did, to his credit.

It happened on lap 161 of the 500-lap Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol, an event well known for mayhem and flaring tempers.

Let’s face it, when cars race at high speeds in close quarters on a 0.533-mile, high-banked track – the likes of which does not exist anywhere else – the margin for error is slight. And when mistakes occur, well, the result can be a mass of battered sheet metal.

There often follows explosive anger on the part of more than one competitor that has, in the past, led to confrontation – even fisticuffs.

But let’s be honest here, OK? That this is part of racing at Bristol is certainly a portion of its appeal. Fans expect a blown temper or two, even a nose-to-nose debate in which drivers question each other’s ancestry.

Now, it didn’t come to all of that when Harvick triggered the Hamlin accident.

Problem was Hamlin, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, was the leader at the time. He had won once this year and was in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, barely.

When a driver has a chance to win a race, there is nothing that makes him more furious than to be robbed of it.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was also involved in the Harvick-Hamlin incident and finished at the rear of the field.  But he remains firmly in the Chase.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was also involved in the Harvick-Hamlin incident and finished at the rear of the field. But he remains firmly in the Chase.

Which is exactly what happened to Hamlin on lap 161 when Harvick, trying to take the lead, slid up into Hamlin’s Toyota and triggered the mishap that brought out the race’s fourth caution flag.

It gets worse. Hamlin’s sliding Toyota crossed directly into the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet. Heavy contact was made.

The result? Both Hamlin and Earnhardt Jr. were removed from the race. Hamlin finished 40th, Earnhardt Jr., 39th.

Incidentally, if for some reason you are a driver who wants to provoke the most fans possible, just wreck Earnhardt Jr. You may not make it home.

Earnhardt Jr. dropped to second in points behind teammate Jeff Gordon and Hamlin remained in 20th place.

Earnhardt Jr., a member of Hendrick Motorsports, has little to worry about. He has three wins this year and is Chase bound.

Hamlin? Well, his win lets us assume he will make it. But there are eight winless drivers ranked higher in points and if any one of them wins over the next two races, well, Hamlin’s seeding drops – even though he should be safe in the Chase.

No doubt he realized this at Bristol.

Hamlin emerged from his car unscathed but ticked. He tossed his HANS device at Harvick’s car as Harvick drove by.

“I just wish I had some kind of car left so I could show him the favor back,” Hamlin said. “We’re not even halfway, we’re racing for the lead – it’s a misjudgment.”

Harvick apologized on the radio (and on Twitter) afterwards and said the move was not intentional.

“Too many driver mistakes tonight,” he tweeted. “Apologize to my team for the speeding penalty and to ruin our night and to Denny for ruining his.”

The point of all this is nothing much has changed at Bristol.

Yes, Harvick goofed and ultimately wrecked two competitive cars.

But one driver, Earnhardt Jr., other than losing the points lead, is still locked into the Chase.

The other, Hamlin, has a more tenuous situation. He has a win, but, as mentioned, there are eight drivers ranked higher in points who could surpass him with a win at Atlanta or Richmond.

Now, to be honest, it doesn’t seem likely that will happen. But it is very possible.

As for Harvick, with two wins and a seventh-place in points, it’s not likely he’ll miss the Chase.

I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make him feel better. He goofed at Bristol. He knew it and admitted it. He receives no exoneration here.

None of this does anyone a bit of good – especially Hamlin.

But remember, this is racing. And this happens – time and time again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

Hayley’s Truck Series Debut Set For CTMP

Hayley’s Truck Series Debut Set For CTMP

NASCAR Next Alum To Run 3 Races For Turner Scott Motorsports

Cameron Hayley will make his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Sunday, August 31, 1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).

It will mark the Canada native’s first start in a NASCAR national series.

Hayley will run three races for Turner Scott Motorsports in the No. 32 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet Silverado. In addition to next weekend’s race, Hayley will compete in events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 20) and Texas Motor Speedway (Oct. 31). Mike Hillman Jr. will be the crew chief for Hayley’s three events.

“I’m really excited to make my NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut,” Hayley said in a team release. “It’s always been a dream of mine to run in one of NASCAR’s top-three series, and I can’t believe I’m finally getting the chance to live that dream.”

Hayley later added that “having my first Truck Series start in a place I consider ‘home’ is everything I could’ve hoped for.”

An alumnus of the NASCAR Next program, Hayley is currently running in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he is second in the standings.

Communication Keys Ruston’s Success

Communication Keys Ruston’s Success

Okla. Driver Focused On Improving And Getting To The Next Level

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kenzie Ruston had a record-setting rookie season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East last year.

She had to start over, however, when she moved to a new team in 2014. That hasn’t slowed down the El Reno, Oklahoma, driver as she acclimated quickly to her new surroundings at Ben Kennedy Racing.

“She impressed me right from the get-go in the first race,” said crew chief Mike Fritts. “Her feedback and race mentality really surprised me. She doesn’t just go out there and race hard, but she’s smart about the car, too.”

Ruston ran her first year in the K&N Pro East for Turner Scott Motorsports. When Kennedy moved up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this year, an opportunity opened for Ruston with the Daytona Beach-based team.

“It was a huge change from last year,” said Ruston. “Any time you go to a different team and a different crew chief it’s a learning curve for everybody. You have to learn each other and learn your communication. How you adapt to that tells you how your year is going to go.”

The 22-year-old seems to have adjusted well. In her most recent speedway race, the high-profile NASCAR K&N Pro Series combination race at Iowa Speedway, Ruston posted a runner-up finish. It was the highest finish for a female driver in series history, besting the third-place mark Ruston set twice already, most recently at Langley Speedway earlier this season.

TWITTER: @KenzieRuston | WATCH: RUSTON TAKE #ALSICEBUCKETCHALLENGE

Ruston has always been competitive.

As a child in Oklahoma, the El Reno native, ran track, was a cheerleader and played soccer, basketball and volleyball. It wasn’t until she started racing that she found the right fit.

“I loved sports and was always super competitive,” Ruston said. “I loved playing sports but then I fell in love with racing and it brought out another animal in me.”

Ruston began the year with a pair of top-10 finishes at New Smyrna Speedway and Daytona Beach International Speedway in Florida. Her next three events Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway, Greenville (South Carolina) Pickens Speedway and Richmond (Virginia) International Raceway were not as positive. Ruston finished outside of the top 10 in all three races, including being involved in accidents at Bristol and Richmond.

Fritts believes that the team’s overall improved communication is what has helped Ruston get back on track.

“We’ve gotten better throughout the year at communicating,” said Fritts. “We’re better at understanding how she wants her car set-up. It’s been a good communication progression all year.”

Ruston also cites her progression this year to better understanding her car and her crew chief. She credits her boyfriend and fellow driver Daniel Hemeric for helping be more honest with her team about what she needs every week.

“He’s definitely made me a better racer,” said Ruston of Hemeric’s influence. “He’s so car smart and any dumb question I have about the car, I know he’ll give me a truthful answer.

“He’s definitely made me better at me giving information and has made me better throughout my whole racing career. I feel like, because of him, I can better tell my crew chief about what the car is doing and we can get it better for the race.”

nascar_next_profile_kenzie-ruston_fan

Kenzie Ruston is a favorite of fans wherever the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East runs. Getty Images for NASCAR

Like many drivers, Ruston grew up around racing.

Growing up, Ruston would go to Oklahoma City to watch her step-grandfather, Jerry Morrison, race dirt cars and knew instantly she loved the sport. Her father, Darren, raced dirt bikes in the Oklahoma City area, and while he wouldn’t let her race bikes, he did let her run laps on a short track at Texas Motor Speedway, a decision that set Ruston down the path towards a racing career.

“My dad would never let me on a dirt track,” said Ruston. “We were being race fans at Texas Motor Speedway and there was a short track out back so we paid $50 to run 20 laps in a school car. I got out of the car with a huge smile on my face as said, ‘Dad, this is what I want to do.’ ”

Ruston began competing in Bandoleros at age 14, finishing second in the Texas Motor Speedway standings in her rookie season. She followed that up by running the Bandolero Young Guns Spring Nationals division, finishing fourth in the national standings.

After competing in Legends cars at age 16, Ruston moved to North Carolina at 17 to be closer to the bigger race teams and to gain more seat time. Last year, she made her K&N Pro Series East debut with Mooresville’s Turner Scott Motorsports, finishing the year sixth in the standings, the highest for a female in the series. Ruston was also named to the NASCAR Next program, the industry initiative that highlights young talent throughout all NASCAR series.

While many believe that Ruston could one day be a regular in one of NASCAR’s three national series, she is focused on the present and winning in K&N.

“I feel like I’ve never wanted to move up the ranks too fast,” said Ruston. “I want to prove myself at every level. If I had to choose, I’d say the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the next step for me, but I’m focused on running well here and getting a win for Ben Kennedy Racing.”

Getting to the next level means that Ruston will have to balance getting the best possible result every weekend with learning from her mistakes and gaining valuable seat time. Earlier this season at Five Flags Speedway, Ruston rallied from a lap down after suffering a flat tire to finish fourth. She cites moments like those as the keys to success going forward this season and beyond.

“I think it’s all about how you handle situations,” said Ruston. “When things are out of your control, you just have to take it. I feel like the best drivers out there kind of just go with the flow. I think adapting to change is important. You have to be really strong for when something knocks you down, you get up and fight back stronger.”

nascar_next_profile_kenzie-ruston_in-car

Kenzie Ruston has three top fives and seven top 10s in 14 races this season and is seventh in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship standings. Getty Images for NASCAR

Print This Post Print This Post