No. 33 Kiklos Olive Oil Chevrolet Silverado
Showing speed when the No. 33 Kiklos Chevrolet was unloaded, Kaz backed it up in qualifying by securing his first-ever NCWTS pole award for Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona.
After leading the first 13 laps, Kaz was shuffled through the pack but was able to remain hooked up with his GMS Racing teammates throughout the night, helping the young rookie learn the ropes in his first NCWTS superspeedway race. While Kaz was content pushing teammate Johnny Sauter to the win as the laps wound down, a late race caution changed the complexity of the race completely.
Lining up for a green-white-checkered finish, Kaz did his best to stay locked to Sauter’s bumper, but unfortunately got shuffled backwards. Trying to figure a way back to the front, the leaders began wrecking in front of him on the final lap, and with the help of his spotter Eddie D’Hondt, Kaz was able to make it through the chaos unscathed, crossing the finish line first to score his first career NCWTS win.
“I can’t believe we won Daytona. This completely changes our season. There’s no better way to start the year than on the pole and to win the race. This is huge for not only myself but for this organization as a whole. My No. 33 Kiklos team, as well as everyone at GMS Racing, put in so much work on these trucks and it shows. They did they’re job to get me a truck fast enough for the pole, and I did mine to get them the win.
“I got lucky coming out of Turn 2 when everything starting getting crazy around me. I didn’t lift and somehow made it through to see clear track in front of me. This is really a dream come true.”
– Kaz is the youngest driver in NASCAR national series history to win the pole at Daytona.
– With his win Friday night, Kaz also becomes the youngest winner in NASCAR national series history at Daytona.
– After the first race of the season, Kaz is currently the NCWTS point leader, accumulating five bonus points towards the playoffs.
JOHNNY SAUTER No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Sauter started Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 from the second position, working early on with teammates Spencer Gallagher and Kaz Grala to stay up front through an early caution and shuffling throughout the field. He led three times for 52 laps, including at the end of the first two stages. Sauter’s final stint as leader ended on lap 98 when he was overtaken and subsequently caught up in a last lap incident battling for the lead. The No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet was scored in the 15th position and second in points after the first event of the year.
Quote “That is not the ending I wanted for my team and GMS Racing tonight. I’m not sure what I could have done differently, if I could have done anything differently. I thought we were good and I could break up what the 88 and 27 had going on but I must have misjudged and made a mistake. I hate it for this 21 team but next week is a new race and we’ll be just fine.”
Additional Info – Sauter was declared the leader at the end of the first two segments, earning 20 additional points on the night and 2 bonus points toward the playoffs. – As a result of dominating the majority of the race with his GMS Racing teammates, Sauter is second in points following the first race of the year.
SPENCER GALLAGHER No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Gallagher qualified third behind teammates Kaz Grala and Johnny Sauter for the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He ran within the top ten until lap 67 when he pitted for fuel only, but was caught speeding at the exit of pit road. Running a lap down and stuck deep in the field, Gallagher reported his Silverado was getting excessively tight on exit. He was the first truck a lap down when caution occurred on lap 96 and returned to the lead lap in the 17th position. Though he was caught up in the last lap incident, he was able to continue on track under caution, earning a 13th-place result.
Quote “That was a crazy race. I hate that I messed up the great run GMS had going up front when I got caught speeding, but I’m pumped for Kaz (Grala) and the 33 team. We knew we had a shot at winning with any of these trucks but it’s good to see a kid like that make his mark and win one of the biggest races of the year. I’m just happy to be part of this weekend and to get to drive such awesome trucks. GMS Racing has it figured out and I can’t wait to see what Johnny (Sauter), Kaz and Justin (Haley) are able to do this year. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Additional Info – Gallagher’s 13th place finish is his highest NCWTS finish at Daytona. – Competing full-time in the NXS, the Daytona NCWTS race was the first event in Gallagher’s double-header weekend.
SCOTT LAGASSE No. 24 Alert Today Florida/Florida Lottery Chevrolet Silverado
Qualifying 14th for his fourth NCWTS start at Daytona International Speedway, Lagasse was confident in the Alert Today Florida/Florida Lottery Chevrolet. Unfortunately though, he was collected in a lap 2 accident that would mire him back in the pack with a bit of cosmetic damage. Able to avoid any further on-track incidents, Lagasse was able to partner up with the other GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverados and come home with a solid seventh-place finish in the NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Quote “That was an awesome run for the Alert Today Florida/Florida Lottery Chevrolet Silverado. I cannot thank everyone at GMS Racing enough for providing me with a fast truck. I wish we could have finished a few spots better, but I’m happy to see Kaz come away with the win and get the season started off right for GMS.”
Additional Info – While running in the top-five for most of the night, Lagasse garnered a large percentage of the TV time. Lagasse was able to heavily promote Alert Today Florida, raising awareness and attention for safety toward pedestrians and cyclists.