Getty Images

Kaz Grala joins Richard Childress Racing part-time in Xfinity Series

Leave a comment

Kaz Grala will race part-time for Richard Childress Racing this season in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Thursday.

Grala, 20, will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet in select races, beginning with the March 30 race at Texas Motor Speedway.

It is scheduled to be Grala’s first start since the 2018 finale in Miami.

Grala made 22 starts last year, 10 with JGL Racing and then 12 with his family owned Fury Race Cars after he lost his ride with JGL due to a lack of financial support from team owner James Whitener, who was experiencing health problems. Grala earned two top fives and five top 10s.

“This is definitely the biggest opportunity I’ve had in my career,” Grala said in a press release. “Running for a powerhouse team like RCR is a dream come true, and one I plan on making the most of. With only a limited number of races to make an impression, I’m ready to get to work and lay it all on the line.”

Grala has one NASCAR win, in the 2017 Gander Outdoors Truck Series opener at Daytona.

The native of Boston, Massachusetts, will have Tyler Reddick as a teammate in the races he competes in.

“I’m looking forward to having Kaz Grala join RCR this year,” Richard Childress said in the press release. “Kaz is a talented young driver who has proven he can win in any type of racing. I think he’ll be up to speed and contending for multiple wins for us out on the track in no time.”

Grala’s sponsor and crew chief will be announced at a later date.

Xfinity practice report at Road America

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images
1 Comment

FINAL PRACTICE

Justin Marks posted the fastest lap in final practice for the Johnsonville 180 at Road America with a speed of 109.603 mph.

He beat James Davison (109.179 mph) by more than half a second (.517).

Austin Cindric (109.147), Justin Allgaier (109.070) and Matt Tifft (108.884) rounded out the top five.

Making his return to NASCAR, Hall of Famer Bill Elliott (105.791) posted the 26th fastest time.

Last year’s winner, Jeremy Clements had a left front tire go flat in turn five 20 minutes into final practice and brought out a red flag.

Kaz Grala and Brian Henderson had off-course excursions in Canada Corner.

After driving off course in the rain in practice one, Tyler Reddick spun with Katherine Legge in Turn 5 with 50 minutes remaining in the session. Both drivers returned to the pits under their own power. Reddick had damage on the right front; Legge had damage on the left rear.

Legge (106.524) ended the session 23rd on the chart.

Click here for complete results

FIRST PRACTICE

Wet conditions kept most of the competitors off track in the first practice session.

Rookies Reddick and Conor Daly were the only two drivers to take to the track.

Reddick made several laps practicing his entry onto pit road. Only one circuit was completed at speed (152.280).

Midway through the session, Reddick had an off-course excursion.

“Got a little wheel hop in the brakes and as soon as I tried to go down into the next gear, it went into neutral and didn’t catch third,” Reddick said on the NBCSN Sports App. “At that point, just hoping that when I hit the sand pit it wouldn’t do too bad a damage, but unfortunately it tore the splitter up pretty bad. “

Justin Allgaier wins Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio

Leave a comment

Justin Allgaier passed Austin Cindric with four laps remaining in the Xfinity race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and held the advantage to win his third race of the season. This is the most wins in a season for Allgaier.

Allgaier survived an off track incident on lap 25 and a spin on lap 59 on his way to victory lane.

Custer and Allgaier provided the fireworks on lap 59.

“It was a frustrating day, to say the least,” Custer said in a press release. “Our Haas Automation Mustang was really good. I thought we were a second-place car. We probably could’ve kept up with the 22 (Austin Cindric). I have to apologize to Justin (Allgaier). It worked out for him, but I hit him in the wrong spot there and spun him around. That’s my fault and I’ll apologize. We’ll just move on to Bristol. I want to win. That’s what we want to do. It’s frustrating when things don’t go your way. I thought we were doing everything right, we just need everything to fall into place.”

After losing the lead to Allgaier, Cindric held off a battle from Daniel Hemric, who was also on fresher tires. Hemric finished third.

Matt Tifft and Ryan Truex rounded out the top five.

In only his third road course race in the Xfinity Series, Christopher Bell was well on his way to score his first top five on this track type until he was spun by Elliott Sadler on a lap-65 restart while racing for second. Bell fell to 28th and pitted during the next caution with eight laps remaining . He took four fresh tires and was able to climb back to 11th. Last week, Bell finished ninth at Watkin Glen.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Austin Cindric (first stage win of 2018)

MORE: Complete Results
MORE: Points Standings

HOW JUSTIN ALLGAIER WON: After winning Stage 1, Allgaier was mired in traffic. On the restart, he attempted to go four-wide and ran off track, costing him track position. That allowed him to pit off-sequence with the leaders and with 20-lap fresher tires, he drove through the field and was able to get to Cindric’s back bumper with five laps remaining.

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Cindric failed to win, but he scored a career-best finish of second. His previous best was a fourth at Pocono in June. … After finishing 18th last week at Watkins Glen, Truex scored his first road course top 10 in his third start. … Alex Labbe in ninth scored his career best finish in his 24th race. … Spencer Gallagher started 20th and finished eighth for the greatest advancement in the field.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Dylan Murcott’s debut in the Xfinity series did not last long. Locking up his tires on lap 1, he drove off track and into the tire barrier. … Brandon Jones faded to eighth from his third-place starting position and spun in Turn 2. Another off course excursion on lap 34 contributed to a 23rd-place finish. … Chase Briscoe spun when the pack stacked up in front of him. He was tagged by Kaz Grala into the spin and lost his back bumper on lap 33 after contact with Cody Ware. … Tyler Reddick cut a tire after contact from behind from Matt Tifft on lap 60 and destroyed his right rear quarter panel. … With nine laps remaining, Katherine Legge lost an engine and retired. … Ross Chastain (16th) and Joey Gase (24th) got into a last lap incident. After the race, Gase told NBC’s Parker Kligerman that he could make it difficult for Chastain to make the playoffs.

NOTABLE: Strategy trumped raw speed on Saturday. Cindric led four times for 59 laps and was not passed for the lead under green until the closing minutes. Allgaier was forced into an alternate strategy by a series of incidents, including an off track excursion on lap 25 while battling for a top 15 position. Contact with Cole Custer on lap 59 while battling for fifth cost both multiple positions and encouraged Allgaier to pit on lap 62 while Cindric stayed out. Allgaier led eight laps.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That call there at the end is what did it. Austin (Cindric) had the best car today and I thought we gave it away there. We were on the outside and got pushed off the race track, but was able to come back.” – Justin Allgaier in victory lane on NBCSN

WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Aug. 17 on NBCSN

Xfinity practice report from Mid-Ohio

Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ryan Reed was the fastest in opening Xfinity practice Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Reed led the way with a lap of 94.709 mph. He was followed by Andy Lally (94.499 mph), Kyle Benjamin (94.371), Brendan Gaughan (94.295) and Austin Cindric (94.277).

Benjamin ran the most laps at 26. Kaz Grala was next with 25 laps. Grala was 19th on the speed chart with a top lap of 93.241 mph.

A few cars had issues.

Christopher Bell, who was 10th on the speed chart at 94.009 mph, spun off course but continued. Daniel Hemric, Dylan Murcott and Gaughan also slid off course but continued.

Click here for Xfinity practice report

Final Xfinity practice will run from 4:05 to 4:55 p.m. ET today and can be seen on the NBC Sports App and online. Rain is in the forecast there this afternoon.

FINAL PRACTICE 

Because of rain only five cars recorded a lap in the final session. Most teams did not go out since Saturday’s race is expected to be in dry conditions.

Brendan Gaughan had the fastest lap at 87.738 mph. He ran five laps in the session.

Click here for final practice report

Xfinity practice report at Watkins Glen

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FINAL PRACTICE

Rain continued to play havoc with practice. It stopped about halfway through the scheduled distance, but not in time for the track to dry.

Nine drivers took time in this session with sports car driver Mike Skeen topping the leaderboard at 95.620 m.p.h.

He had more than one second (1.069) lead over Kaz Grala (94.525 m.p.h.).

Alex Labbe (93.479), Timmy Hill (91.992) and Joey Gase (91.697) rounded out the top five.

Grala (8) posted the most laps.

Click here for complete results.

FIRST PRACTICE

Rain kept most of the competitors off the track since Saturday’s race at Watkins Glen is scheduled to run under dry conditions.

Rookies are required to make at least one lap in practice, so that drove a few drivers onto the track.

With a lap of 89.513 m.ph., Tyler Reddick topped the speed chart among five drivers who made laps.

He beat Austin Cindric (89.344) by .187 seconds

Justin Haley (86.891) Christopher Bell (82.232), and Ryan Preece (81.648) were the only drivers to take time.

Haley (2) was the only driver who turned more than one lap.

Click here for complete results.