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Northwest racer Brittney Zamora progressing in K&N West competition

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Stock-car racing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the Pacific Northwest, but make no mistake, despite being the only region in the continental United States without a NASCAR national series race, the Northwest has produced plenty of talented drivers who achieved success in NASCAR’s highest levels.

Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and Derrike Cope are all drivers who once called the Northwest home, and Kennewick, Washington’s Brittney Zamora hopes to become the next Northwest racer to become a NASCAR star.

At age 20, Zamora may be a NASCAR K&N West Series rookie, but she enters the series with an impressive racing resume.

Born into a racing family, Zamora began racing karts at age four. She went on to race in the Northwest Super Late Model Series, where she would win Rookie of the Year honors in 2016, and won championships in 2017 and 2018.

Zamora’s success in late models led to the opportunity to drive the No. 99 ENOS/NAPA Filters Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing this season in the West Series, as well as on part-time basis in the East Series. Through seven K&N West Series events, Zamora has four top fives, five top 10s, 26 laps led and one pole.

“It’s been a pretty good start,” Zamora told NBC Sports. “A lot of people have expectations for me to go out there, but my expectations for myself are a little higher. I’m disappointed that we haven’t gotten that win yet.”

Regardless, Zamora believes she’s on the right track. When asked what grade she would give her performance this year, Zamora gave herself “a B+ or an A-.

“For our first year in the series, and with the competition out here, we’ve done really well progressing and achieving our goals,” Zamora said. “We’ve already met a lot of our goals and we’re only halfway through the season. As long as we can keep improving and keep setting those goals and reaching for them, (we’ll be fine).”

Zamora insists she would have never made it into the sport without the help of her racing hero.

“A lot of drivers get asked ‘who’s your biggest idol in racing?’ and they’ll say A.J. Foyt, Dale Earnhardt, one of the guys in the Cup Series or someone like that. Mine would have to be my dad,” Zamora said.

“He is who got me into racing. I went to the racetrack when I was four days old to go watch him with my family. It’s been my whole life. Growing up and seeing him win championships racing super late models, I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and not only have I done that but I went beyond that with his help and support. I wouldn’t be here today without him.”

Brittney’s father, Mike Zamora, raced across the Northwest for more than 20 years. Once it was time for Brittney to move up to those cars, Mike gave up his seat and began serving as her crew chief.

In the K&N West competition, however, Mike finds himself watching his daughter race from a distance. He and Brittney still find plenty of time to talk to each other during race weekends, and Mike offers his daughter advice when she asks for it, but he doesn’t get to be as hands-on with her K&N car as he is in late models.

“I don’t mind it at all, but it was kind of hard to take a step back because with our racing, I’m so involved,” Mike said.

“I’m the crew chief. We’re building the cars ourselves in our garage. With Bill McAnally Racing, they have guys that this is what they’re doing for a living and they’re better at this than I am. It’s hard to just sit back and watch, but I know that she’s in good hands.”

Though it is too early to predict how her racing career will turn out, she is on the right track to hone her racing skills.

“I’ve thought about this my whole life because I want racing to be my career,” Zamora said. “I don’t want a normal job. I want to be in a race car. Holding a steering wheel is my profession.”

“The Cup Series would be great. It’s the highest level of stock car racing there is, but honestly if I could make a career out of racing ARCA, Trucks, or Xfinity, I would be happy. As long as I’m in a race car competing every weekend, that would be nice.”

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Noah Gragson wins K&N West race at Sonoma after Ryan Preece restart violation

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Noah Gragson won Saturday’s K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway in overtime under caution after Ryan Preece was black flagged for a restart violation.

Gragson, who competes full-time in the Xfinity Series, earned the win after battling back from his own restart violation in the first segment of the 57-lap race.

The race needed three overtime attempts to reach the checkered flag. The second was setup by a Lawless Alan wreck that resulted in a red flag. The final attempt was created by a Bill Kann wreck on the ensuing restart.

It was the restart from the Kann accident where Preece was deemed to have jumped the start.

Gragson restarted third and passed Daniel Hemric to put himself in position to inherit the win.

“Hell of race,” Gragson told NASCAR.com. “I was very fortunate to have a really fast Switch Camaro thanks to Jeff Jefferson and Jerry Pitts at Jefferson Pitts Racing. … Kind of had a little bit of adversity there in the middle of the race. Got called for jumping the start as the leader. Never really heard that one before.”

Ryan Preece said he was “pissed” and called the penalty “bull(expletive)” and declared “we won that race.”

“On the restart before that I was rolling it pretty fast and Daniel I think was restarting in second gear,” Preece said. “I heard that coming to the (final) green, so I backed down at the restart, I slowed down. … Maybe it looked like it, but I didn’t go any sooner.”

When asked if he would talk to NASCAR, Preece responded, “What are you going to do? I mean it’s their playground, it’s their sandbox. They’re going to do what they want. They manipulated the race at the end of the day. We won that race.”

Gragson was one of five national series drivers competing in the race.

The final top five was Gragson, Hemric, Austin Dillon, Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer and David Mayhew.

Pole-sitter Hailie Deegan never led a lap and finished eighth. Preece was scored finishing 20th after his penalty.

Gragson’s win comes in his first K&N West race since 2016. He now has five wins in 28 starts. He also has two wins in the K&N East series.

It also serves as a bit of redemption for Gragson, who led 34 laps in this race in 2016 before finishing second to Chase Elliott.

The race will air tape delayed June 27 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Hailie Deegan wins pole for K&N West race at Sonoma

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Hailie Deegan won the pole for today’s K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway, claiming her fourth career K&N West pole and her second of the year.

Deegan earned the pole with a speed of 91.105 mph around the road course. It’s her second pole this year.

Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson qualified second.

The top five is completed by Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer, Cup driver Ryan Preece and Jagger Jones.

Cup driver Daniel Hemric qualified sixth and Austin Dillon qualified 11th.

The race is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET and can be watched live at fanschoice.tv. The race will air tape delayed June 27 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Deegan is looking for her third win of the year and seeking back-to-back victories after her dramatic win two weeks ago following last-lap contact with teammate Derek Kraus.

 

Hailie Deegan prevails in K&N West race after last-lap contact with teammate

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Hailie Deegan won her second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race of the season Saturday night after contact with leader and teammate Derek Kraus on the last lap.

Deegan led on the overtime restart and chose the bottom lane. Kraus restarted on the inside of the second row. On the restart, Kraus got underneath Deegan in Turn 1 and took the lead. Running second on the last lap, Deegan went under Kraus in Turn 3. They made contact. Kraus spun. Deegan scored her third career series win.

Deegan explained her move afterward:

“On the restart, (Jagger Jones, who was second) I thought that was who was going to run me hard. So I picked the bottom when I was normally picking the top. I went into that corner, went in hard, so I was already kind of on the edge. I was not expecting my teammate (Kraus) with a broke sway-bar to take a swing at me like that.

“I thought he was going to play cautious. In the end, I told you guys last week, if you take a swing at me, I’m going to take a swing at you back. It was hard race, and I don’t want to run my teammate like that, but I also did not expect him to race me like that. Hard racing is hard racing. You want to race me hard, I’m going to race you hard. That was some fun racing, I’ll have to admit.”

Bill McAnally, team owner for Deegan and Kraus, told NASCAR.com after the race of the finish:  “It’s bittersweet. Hailie wins the race, Derek gets spun around, they all drove hard. That’s what they’re here to do: win and develop. They’re doing a pretty good job of that.”

Kraus finished eighth and vented his frustrations on Twitter.

Kraus is the points leader. He has a five-point lead on Deegan.

You can watch this race at 6 p.m. ET Thursday (June 13) on NBCSN.

The series is back in action June 22 at Sonoma Raceway.

Hailie Deegan scores 2nd career K&N Pro Series West win with last-lap pass

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Hailie Deegan slipped underneath the car of Jagger Jones on the final lap to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season-opening race late Thursday night at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

It was the only lap the 17-year-old Deegan led. The victory is her second career win in the series. Deegan won her first career series race last September with a last-lap pass at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway. She is the only woman to win a K&N Pro Series West race.

NBCSN will air the race at 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday (March 5).

MORE: Hailie Deegan: I put my helmet on the same way everyone else does

MORE: Jagger Jones set to make own racing mark in K&N debut

Jones, the grandson of famed racer Parnelli Jones, was seeking the win in his first career start. Jones led entering the final lap but was pinched by the lapped car of Kenny Bumbera entering Turn 1. That allowed Deegan to close and get underneath Jones’ car and make the winning pass off Turn 2. Jones charged into Turn 3 and hit Deegan’s car in the back but she held on to win.

 

“I thought … (Jones) is so far away, I was thinking something good is going to have to happen for me to win this race,” Deegan told NASCAR Home Tracks after the race. “He slowly started coming back, slowly starting coming back, but I’m like it’s not enough, we’re not going to catch him by the end.

“The lappers started coming up, and I was like, ‘OK, they’re helping us, they’re helping us.’ They started pulling him back, pulling him back, pulling him back. I was like, man, watch this come down to the last lap again. I’m not coming home in second. We did that last year. I ain’t going to do that again.

“I had to do something to make the move. So I shoved my nose in there, squiggled my way through that corner and just parked around the bottom of (Turns) 3 and 4 and got it done.”

Jones finished second in the 100-lap race. Joey Tanner placed third.

Jones told NASCAR Home Tracks he didn’t have a problem with Deegan’s move.

“Oh I think her move was fine,” Jones said. “I mean she didn’t really do anything too bad. It’s just the lapped car cut me off in front. It just pushed me up the track. Once that all happened she had a whole lane to herself. It was kind of given to her, which is unfortunate on the last lap. It just sucks sometimes.”

The next K&N Pro Series West race will be March 30 at Irwindale (California) Speedway.