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Rookie Grala Wins Daytona Truck Series Race

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 25 2017

Rookie Kaz Grala captured Friday night’s Truck race in Daytona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Rookie Kaz Grala guided his truck through, then past a last-lap incident involving 13 trucks to win Friday night’s season-opening Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Grala, 18, started on the pole in the No. 33 Chevrolet, emerged from the backstretch incident that ruined a dominating effort by Grala’s teammate, defending race champion – and reigning series champion – Johnny Sauter. Sauter led 52 laps of the 100-lap race, in the process also winning the race’s first two “stages” – in the debut of NASCAR’s new national-series format that divides races into three stages and awards points for each stage. Friday’s stages were 20, 20 and 60 laps.

Sauter was passed for the lead by former series champion Matt Crafton at the start of the final lap. Crafton was slightly ahead on the backstretch when multi-car contact sent his No. 88 Goof Off/Menards Toyota airborne, into a full flip – but then landing upright. Sauter, caught up in the incident, finished 15th.

Grala is the youngest Daytona International Speedway winner of a NASCAR national series race – 18 years, one month, 26 days. He was followed to the flag by Austin Wayne Self (No. 32 AM Technical Solutions Toyota) and another rookie, Chase Briscoe (No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford).

“I saw coming out of Turn 2 it was getting crazy,” Grala said. “There wasn’t going to be any way I was going to be lifting. I just went low, closed by eyes and crossed my fingers and luckily it worked out … it was pretty hectic.”

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – NextEra Energy Resources 250

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Friday, February 24, 2017

  1. (1) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, 100.
  2. (22) Austin Wayne Self, Toyota, 100.
  3. (16) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 100.
  4. (19) John H Nemechek, Chevrolet, 100.
  5. (9) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 100.
  6. (25) Regan Smith, Ford, 100.
  7. (14) Scott Lagasse Jr(i), Chevrolet, 100.
  8. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 100.
  9. (27) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 100.
  10. (13) Myatt Snider, Toyota, 100.
  11. (17) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, 100.
  12. (8) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 100.
  13. (3) Spencer Gallagher(i), Chevrolet, 100.
  14. (7) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 99.
  15. (2) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 99.
  16. (11) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, 99.
  17. (5) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 99.
  18. (31) Todd Peck(i), Chevrolet, 99.
  19. (28) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, 98.
  20. (10) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, Accident, 71.
  21. (21) Bobby Gerhart(i), Chevrolet, Radiator, 41.
  22. (6) Brett Moffitt, Toyota, Accident, 20.
  23. (23) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, Accident, 12.
  24. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, Engine, 11.
  25. (24) Terry Jones, Ford, Accident, 4.
  26. (12) Noah Gragson, Toyota, Accident, 1.
  27. (18) Austin Cindric #, Ford, Accident, 1.
  28. (20) Ryan Truex, Toyota, Accident, 1.
  29. (15) Clay Greenfield, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
  30. (26) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
  31. (29) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.
  32. (30) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, Accident, 1.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  129.72 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 55 Mins, 38 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  6 for 29 laps.

Lead Changes:  14 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Grala # 1-13; C. Bell 14-15; S. Gallagher(i) 16-17; B. Moffitt 18-19; J. Sauter 20-43; T. Peck(i) 44; T. Peters 45-46; C. Bell 47-48; J. Sauter 49-51; B. Rhodes 52-68; C. Bell 69-70; B. Rhodes 71-73; J. Sauter 74-98; M. Crafton 99; K. Grala # 100;.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Sauter 3 times for 52 laps; B. Rhodes 2 times for 20 laps; K. Grala # 2 times for 14 laps; C. Bell 3 times for 6 laps; B. Moffitt 1 time for 2 laps; S. Gallagher(i) 1 time for 2 laps; T. Peters 1 time for 2 laps; T. Peck(i) 1 time for 1 lap; M. Crafton 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 21,17,27,33,23,29,5,24,87,8

Stage #2 Top Ten: 21,33,23,24,17,27,4,51,87,22

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, February 25 2017
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