Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kaz Grala Set For KNPSE, IMSA Debuts

Fifteen-year old Boston native Kaz Grala will take a pair of significant career steps in 2014, competing in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and IMSA road racing.
Grala will make his NASCAR touring series debut during Speedweeks 2014 at Daytona International Speedway, driving the No. 31 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Chevrolet full-time for Turner Scott Motorsports. He will also make his first major road racing start during the Rolex 24 weekend at Daytona, in the No. 03 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge entry for the defending series champions, Rum Bum Racing. 
Grala, a ninth-grade honors student at Worcester Academy, will join four other NKNPSE drivers in the Turner Scott Motorsports stable when NASCAR's top development series begins the 2014 campaign on February 16 at New Smyrna Speedway, followed by the second annual UNOH Battle At The Beach on February 18 at Daytona International Speedway. On Monday, January 20, Grala began a two-day test in the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet with his new team, led by crew chief Ray Holm, at New Smyrna Speedway.
Turner Scott has earned two NASCAR championships in the last two seasons. In 2012, James Buescher claimed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title and in 2013, Dylan Kwasniewski visited Victory Lane six times during his championship-winning season in the NKNPSE. 
"We are very happy to announce Kaz as part of our 2014 K&N Series lineup," said Harry Scott, co-owner of Turner Scott Motorsports. "One of the primary goals for Steve Turner and myself is to seek out young talent and be a part of their progression through the sport. We've seen promising things from Kaz so far in his career and we're looking forward to him being a part of the Turner Scott Motorsports family."
With New Smyrna testing completed, Grala heads to Daytona for the Rolex 24 weekend, one of the world's preeminent road racing endurance events. He will compete in the CTSCC race as part of a two-car entry for Rum Bum Racing. Grala, who will get his first taste of hot pit stops and driver changes, will be partnered in the No. 03 BMW M3 with co-driver and series veteran Hugh Plumb.  
At age 15 years and five days, Grala became the youngest driver ever to participate in an IMSA event when he drove earlier this month at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona. "We mentioned to (car owner) Luis Bacardi that there was a young talent who was looking to get some experience in a sports car and he was 100-percent behind us giving him a shot at the test," said team manager and driver Matt Plumb. "It went even better than expected. We were all truly blown away by his performance on and off the track. Big things are in store for that boy." 
Grala was also given a last-minute opportunity to test a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 entry for Scott Tucker's Level 5 Motorsports. "It was incredible to watch Kaz's first run in the Ferrari," said Jeff Segal, Level 5 Motorsports driver and four-time IMSA/Grand-Am series champion. "In under 10 laps, Kaz was turning lap times that were at our target race pace. His maturity and methodical approach in a very high-stress situation were not just impressive for someone of his age, but they were exactly what you would expect from a seasoned professional driver. Kaz already has our attention, and I can only imagine what he could do with a bit more time in this type of car." 
Grala began his racing career at just four years of age when he received a Bambino kart for Christmas. From then until the age of 10, he raced at local northeast road courses, winning more than 100 races and two series championships. He won multiple championships in Bandolero racing, including the prestigious Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Advancing to Legend cars in 2012, he won 15 of 58 races on both ovals and road courses. He wrapped up his Legends career by winning the Winter Heat Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the highest and age-unlimited Pro Division. 
In 2013, he became the youngest NASCAR driver ever to compete at Daytona International Speedway, competing in a Late Model Stock Car at the inaugural Battle At The Beach. On June 22, he won his first LMSC race at Hickory Motor Speedway, becoming the youngest ever winner in UARA series' history en route to eight Top-10 finishes in nine starts for Falcon Racing. In November, Grala finished second in one of the most competitive NASCAR LMSC races of the year, the Myrtle Beach 400, becoming the youngest driver ever to lead laps at the event. 
"I am honored and grateful to be a part of these championship caliber organizations," said Grala. "This is going to be my most difficult season yet, but I'm up for the challenge."

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