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Kaz Grala (/ˈɡrɔːlə/ GRAW-lə;[1] born December 29, 1998) is an American professional stock car racing driver from Boston. He is the youngest NASCAR winner in the history of Daytona International Speedway and the youngest person to ever compete in an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) event. He currently competes part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.

Kaz Grala
Kaz Grala at Pocono Raceway.jpg
Grala at Pocono Raceway in 2018
Born (1998-12-29) December 29, 1998 (age 20)
Boston, Massachusetts
AwardsYoungest driver to make the NASCAR playoffs (18)
Youngest NASCAR race winner at Daytona International Speedway (18)
Youngest NASCAR pole winner at Daytona International Speedway (18)
Youngest driver to compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona (17)
Youngest driver to compete in an IMSA race (15)
Youngest race winner in UARA-Stars (14)
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
25 races run over 2 years
Car no., teamNo. 21 (Richard Childress Racing)
2018 position22nd
Best finish22nd (2018)
First race2018 PowerShares QQQ 300 (Daytona)
Last race2019 Allied Steel Buildings 200 (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 5 0
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career
32 races run over 2 years
2017 position7th
Best finish7th (2017)
First race2016 Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (Martinsville)
Last race2017 Ford EcoBoost 200 (Homestead)
First win2017 NextEra Energy Resources 250 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 14 1
NASCAR Pinty's Series career
2 races run over 1 year
2016 position41st
Best finish41st (2016)
First race2016 Clarington 200 (Mosport)
Last race2016 Can-Am 200 (Mosport)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of May 4, 2019.

Contents

Racing careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Grala started racing go-karts at F1 Boston in Braintree, Massachusetts when he was four years old. When he was ten,[2] he began racing Bandoleros, winning the Summer Shootout Championship in 2011. That same year, he won the New York Legendstock and the Massachusetts Bandolero Outlaws state championships.[1] In 2012, Grala won 15 races and the Winter Heat Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway[3] in the Legend Car Pro Division.

Stock car racingEdit

In 2013, Grala made his late model debut in UARA-STARS, becoming the youngest winner in series history at Hickory Motor Speedway, followed by setting the record as the youngest driver to lead laps in the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway where he finished second to Lee Pulliam. That same year, he was named by Speed 51 as the 2013 JEGS Rookie of the Year. [4] The following year, he joined Turner Scott Motorsports to compete full-time in the K&N Pro Series East as the youngest driver in the series.[5] During that year, he competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and won at Caraway Speedway[6] and Martinsville Speedway. The next season, he joined Ben Kennedy Racing to race full-time in the K&N Pro Series East once again.[7]

In 2016, Grala made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Martinsville for GMS Racing, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet.[8] Grala would get his first career top-ten finish at Dover International Speedway in just his second start in the series. With Ben Kennedy joining the team, Grala moved over to the No. 24 truck to compete in seven more races that year.

 
Grala making a pit stop in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in April 2018

He joined GMS full-time for 2017, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet.[9] After avoiding all the crashes at Daytona International Speedway, he won his first race in the series after starting on the pole, making him both the youngest driver to win a NASCAR pole at Daytona and the youngest driver to win a NASCAR race at Daytona (18 years, 1 month and 26 days). It was Grala's first win in NASCAR and essentially locked him into a spot in the Playoffs for the Truck Series in 2017.[10][11] Grala almost won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in September, after leading the closing laps and then in one of the final corners he was tapped and spun around by Austin Cindric. Grala was eliminated from the Playoffs prior to the Round of 6 due to an early crash in the cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, which ultimately resulted in him finishing the season 7th in the Truck Series standings. [12]

On November 15, 2017, it was announced that Grala would join JGL Racing full-time in the Xfinity Series as a 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, driving the No. 24 Ford.[13] Grala finished fourth in his debut at Daytona. However, on May 15, the team shut down the No. 24 program, leaving Grala without a ride.[14] Three days later, Grala announced he would run the next four Xfinity races for Fury Race Cars, driving the No. 61 Mustang beginning at Charlotte Motor Speedway.[15] Grala drove to an impressive 10th-place finish in FURY's debut as a team. With sponsorship support from IT Coalition, DMB Financial, Kiklos and HotScream, Grala was able to add another eight races to his schedule beyond the original four. Grala's best finish with the organization was a top five at Daytona International Speedway, which he achieved in a 10-year-old borrowed car slated to be retired as a show car.[16]

 
Grala drives the No. 61 Ford Mustang for Fury Race Cars in the team's Xfinity Series debut.

In 2019, Grala joined Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Xfinity car for a part-time schedule.[17] He was originally going to run part-time with FURY with the amassed sponsorship, but Grala took the sponsorship to RCR to lower costs and hopefully build to a full-time Xfinity slate in 2020.[18]

Sports car racingEdit

In 2014, Grala ran in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, where he became the youngest driver ever to compete in an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) event at the age of 15 years and one week old.[3] In 2016, Grala competed in his first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for Change Racing alongside former Rolex 24 winners Spencer Pumpelly and Justin Marks, in addition to race newcomer Corey Lewis; at the age of 17, Grala was the youngest driver in the field and the youngest driver to ever compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Grala's father Darius is a former sports car racer, competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona three times.[2] Grala attended high school at Worcester Academy, graduating in 2017[3] as a Senior. Grala lives in Mooresville, North Carolina. Grala has been accepted to Georgia Tech, to major in engineering, but has deferred his admission to pursue his racing career. Grala is of Polish ancestry.

Motorsports career resultsEdit

NASCAREdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Xfinity SeriesEdit

NASCAR Xfinity Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 NXSC Pts
2018 JGL Racing 24 Ford DAY
4
ATL
23
LVS
16
PHO
12
CAL
14
TEX
26
BRI
38
RCH
30
TAL
20
DOV
37
22nd 439
Fury Race Cars 61 Ford CLT
10
POC
16
MCH
12
IOW
10
CHI
40
DAY
5
KEN NHA
14
IOW GLN
15
MOH
27
BRI ROA
11
DAR IND LVS RCH CLT
8
DOV KAN TEX PHO HOM
18
2019 Richard Childress Racing 21 Chevy DAY ATL LVS PHO CAL TEX
18
BRI RCH
14
TAL DOV
14
CLT POC MCH IOW CHI DAY KEN NHA IOW GLN MOH BRI ROA DAR IND LVS RCH CLT DOV KAN TEX PHO HOM -* -*

Camping World Truck SeriesEdit

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 NCWTC Pts
2016 GMS Racing 33 Chevy DAY ATL MAR
31
KAN DOV
10
CLT TEX 28th 132
24 IOW
29
GTW
8
KEN ELD POC BRI
11
MCH MSP
26
CHI NHA
7
LVS TAL MAR
15
TEX PHO
28
HOM
2017 33 DAY
1
ATL
15
MAR
15
KAN
8
CLT
30
DOV
2
TEX
10
GTW
13
IOW
24
KEN
24
ELD
31
POC
23
MCH
12
BRI
28
MSP
3
CHI
9
NHA
10
LVS
5
TAL
29
MAR
7
TEX
6
PHO
5
HOM
13
7th 2214

K&N Pro Series EastEdit

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 NKNPSEC Pts
2014 Turner Scott Motorsports 31 Chevy NSM
10
DAY
10
BRI
20
GRE
7
RCH
14
IOW
22
BGS
11
FFL
16
LGY
5
NHA
10
COL
8
IOW
8
GLN
4
VIR
5
GRE
11
DOV
2
7th 542
2015 Ben Kennedy Racing 3 Toyota NSM
18
GRE
6
BRI
4
IOW
17
BGS
7
LGY
17
COL
3
NHA
3
IOW
7
GLN
15
MOT
7
VIR
2
RCH
8
DOV
19
7th 483
2016 NSM
15
MOB
5
GRE
9
BRI
3
VIR
20
DOM
4
STA COL NHA
21
IOW GLN
4
GRE NJM DOV 16th 272

K&N Pro Series WestEdit

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 NKNPSWC Pts
2015 Ben Kennedy Racing 3 Toyota KCR IRW TUS IOW SHA SON
17
SLS IOW EVG CNS MER AAS PHO
30
41st 41

Pinty's SeriesEdit

NASCAR Pinty's Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 NPSC Pts
2016 22 Racing 22 Dodge MSP
20
SSS ACD ICAR TOR EIR SAS CTR RIS MSP
15
ASE KWA 41st 53

* Season still in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

ARCA Racing SeriesEdit

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

ARCA Racing Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 ARSC Pts
2017 Mason Mitchell Motorsports 88 Chevy DAY
10
NSH SLM TAL TOL ELK POC MCH MAD IOW IRP 48th 405
MDM Motorsports 41 Chevy POC
4
WIN ISF ROA DSF SLM CHI KEN KAN

WeatherTech SportsCar ChampionshipEdit

(key)

24 Hours of DaytonaEdit

24 Hours of Daytona results
Year Class No Team Car Co-drivers Laps Position Class Pos.
2016 GTD 16   Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3   Spencer Pumpelly
  Justin Marks
  Corey Lewis
521 42 18

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Kaz Grala". NASCAR Home Tracks. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Doyle, Bill (January 28, 2016). "Kaz Grala, 17, is the youngest driver at Rolex 24". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "At Just 15, Westborough's Kaz Grala A Rising Star In MotorSports". WBZ-TV. February 14, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Staff, Speed51.comT (2018-03-08). "The 51's: 2017 Rookie of the Year Award Goes To… | Speed51.com". Speed 51. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  5. ^ "Turner Scott Announces '14 K&N East Lineup". NASCAR Home Tracks. January 20, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "15-Year-Old Kaz Grala Of Westborough Earns First NASCAR Win". WBZ-TV. July 9, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Kaz Grala to Drive for Ben Kennedy Racing in 2015". Speed51. October 16, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "KYLE BUSCH, LARSON SLATED FOR MARTINSVILLE TRUCK DUTY". NASCAR. March 28, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "Kaz Grala Confirmed for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Full Time in 2017 Crew Chief Jerry Baxter Joins GMS Racing and Tapped to Lead No. 33 Chevrolet Team". GMS Racing. December 5, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  10. ^ Utter, Jim (February 24, 2017). "Grala wins first Truck race after violent last-lap wreck". Motorsport.com. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Rookie Kaz Grala avoids massive last-lap crash for Truck Series win". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. February 25, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  12. ^ Staff, FrontstretchT (2017-11-17). "Kaz Grala Crashes Out of Playoffs in Talladega | Frontstretch". SPEED SPORT. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  13. ^ Staff, SPEED SPORT (2017-11-17). "JGL Racing Aligns With Roush, Signs Kaz Grala | SPEED SPORT". SPEED SPORT. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  14. ^ Long, Dustin (May 15, 2018). "Kaz Grala no longer with JGL Racing in Xfinity Series". NBC Sports. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Wilson, Steven B. (May 18, 2018). "Kaz Grala to Run Next Four NASCAR Xfinity Series Raceskful". Speedway Digest. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  16. ^ King, Alanis. "How a Decade-Old Car That Wasn't Supposed to Race Did Shockingly Well in NASCAR". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  17. ^ "Kaz Grala Joins RCR Xfinity Driver Roster". Speed Sport. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  18. ^ Crandall, Kelly. "Ep. 62: Kaz Grala". Player.fm. Down & Dirty Network. Retrieved 8 April 2019.

External linksEdit