An accident on lap 76 of 200 at Dover International Speedway ended a 10-race stint with JGL Racing. And that might have been an inauspicious end to Kaz Grala’s Xfinity series campaign in 2018; he finished 37th in that race.
“Each week, we’ve been getting better as a team. We’ve been getting more organized, picking up speed, faster race cars, and that’s what we need to do,” Grala told NASCAR America on Thursday.
Grala earned a top 10 in his first attempt with the new team at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has not finished worse than 16th in three races.
“About five weeks ago, all the shop did was manufacture late models, modifieds, and road course cars … so they were not technically a race team; they were a car manufacturer.”
Given the circumstances of their formation, no one would have been surprised if the new race team was not successful, but the leadership of Tony Eury Jr. and Grala’s crew chief from earlier in the season Shane Wilson brought a level of experience that immediately elevated their performance.
“As drivers, we usually race with the thought in the back of our head that we can’t screw this up. We’ve got to do everything right. But it’s a different mentality you can approach it with when you have this situation. You can say, ‘well, we don’t have any expectations on us. We don’t know how we’re going to run so we can just go into this saying whatever we accomplish is going to be icing on the cake.'”
With additional sponsorship, Grala hopes to be able to continue to help Fury Race Cars improve.
For more, watch the video above.
NASCAR America: Scan All from Michigan International Speedway
Wendy Venturini will return to her duties at the Performance Racing Network this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, almost two months after being struck by a car while running in Novato, California.
Venturini made the announcement in a surprise appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.”
She had been in California to be a pit reporter for PRN’s radio broadcast of the Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.
Among the injuries Venturini suffered in the incident were a skull fracture and a concussion.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Venturini said of the upcoming race weekend. “It’s been a long two months and I’m not 100 percent, but I’m getting closer and closer and this is step back into real life and real world stuff. So I think it will help in my recovery.”
Venturini is still wearing a knee brace.
“I’m still pretty slow these days, but it’s good,” Venturini said. “I will have a brace on at the race track in a controlled circumstance. I can take it off at night, at home. … It’s healing. My LCL is healing, my brain is healing, my skull is healing. Everything’s taking progress.”
Venturini became the first female broadcaster to call an entire race on a national level during the July 2007 Cup race at Sonoma Raceway for DirecTV. She also has reported on NASCAR for Speed Channel and Fox Sports 1.
GMS Racing reveals Bill Elliott’s Road America scheme
The Hall of Famer’s unexpected return to NASCAR competition became a little bit more real Tuesday when he and GMS Racing unveiled his throwback paint scheme for the race at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The paint scheme is inspired by the No. 11 Budweiser Ford that Elliott drove to his win in the 1994 Southern 500 while racing for Junior Johnson. That win would be his last until November 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway
“I’m trying to figure out which one threw me under the bus here for this dang thing,” Elliott joked after the reveal, which was done with GMS Racing President Mike Beam, who was a crew chief for Elliott throughout the 90s, including in his 1994 win.
“They just said, ‘Hey, you’re going to do it.’ I’m in the car,” Elliott said. His son Chase Elliott has made four starts in the No. 23 this season and will compete in Friday’s Xfinity race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
While Bill Elliott hasn’t competed in NASCAR since the July 2012 Cup race at Daytona, the 62-year-old isn’t rusty by any means.
“It’s not this league of racing, I’ll put it that way,” Elliott said. “It’s still competition. Everything you do as you look at it is competition.”
The 44-time Cup winner has no expectations for his first race at Road America
“I feel pretty good in the cars,” Elliott said. “This will be the whole fun of it, ‘How does this all work?'”
He’s been aided by his son. Chase Elliott shared his notes from his most recent race at Road America, when he drove for JR Motorsports in 2015. He placed fourth in both his starts on the road course.
The notes are welcome, but they are also a stark difference between generations in the approach to race preparation.
“I never took notes,” Bill Elliott said with a laugh. “It’s pretty neat to have at least a rough idea of what you got and what you’re looking forward to. But on the flip side, the aero package has changed from that era.”
Elliott, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015, was asked a simple question at one point.
Why do it?
“How do you know if you don’t try?” Elliott asked. “Whether you lose, win or draw, you always try to do things extra at the end of the day. I think from this standpoint, just go out and have a good time with it …
“There’s a lot of deserving guys that could be in this thing. They want me to do it, I’ll do my best.”
GMS Racing also unveiled the throwback paint scheme Spencer Gallagher will have in the Sept. 1 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway.
Gallagher will sport the scheme Davey Allison drove in ARCA in 1985.
The race will be Gallagher’s third Xfinity start since being reinstated from an indefinite suspension that began in April after he violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.
“This is definitely the most special thing I’ve gotten to do since I started driving race cars,” Gallagher said. “Getting to run the livery of none other than Davey Allison, one of the most pivotal drivers of his generation, 19 wins, Hall of Fame inductee, winner of the Daytona 500 … There’s no other way to describe it. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever had on the car.”
NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Scan All, Bristol preview
Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to turn the page to this weekend’s racing in Bristol.
Carolyn Manno hosts with Kyle Petty in Stamford, Connecticut. Jeff Burton joins them from Burton’s garage.
On today’s show:
We will re-live all the sights and sounds of Kevin Harvick‘s dominant victory to re-affirm the “Big 3’s” grip on the 2018 season with today’s edition of Scan All: Michigan.
We’ll make the turn from the Irish Hills to Thunder Valley as we begin to preview Saturday’s Night Race at Bristol. Our panel of experts will talk about Kyle Busch‘s recent mastery of the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. Plus, we’ll examine several drivers seeking their first victory of 2018 and a highly coveted ticket to the Playoffs.
And, our own Kyle Petty will hop into the iRacing Simulator for some hot laps in Thunder Valley. How will he handle Bristol’s high banks, along with some distractions that we will throw his way?
If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.