After finishing Saturday morning’s practice sessions at Gateway Motorsports Park 14th-fastest in the first session and sixth-fastest in the second session, Kaz went on to qualify 10th for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200. Fighting to maintain track position as soon as the 160-lap race began, Kaz settled into the top 10 before ultimately slipping to 11th at the stage one break. The rookie reported that throughout the entire run he was fighting a “four tight” and was struggling to turn his No. 33 Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado like he needed to.
Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and major adjustments to free him up under the break, the GMS Racing crew realized that Kaz had a right rear tire that was in the process of going flat, aiding in the handling issues Kaz had been experiencing. Unfortunately the adjustments made under the caution were then a step too far, causing Kaz to fight a loose Chevy throughout stage two, resulting in a 12th-place finish after 70 laps.
Kaz came to pit road under the caution for four tires and fuel but reported that as the sun was going down, his handling seemed to be getting better and to leave the Kiklos Chevy alone on the pit stop. However, as the race continued, the No. 33 swung back to the tight side impeding Kaz’s progress. Crew Chief Jerry Baxter made the call to bring the Boston-native down pit road, under green, on lap 130 for two right-side tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to try to help with the handling issues. As pit stops cycled through, Kaz found himself battling to get back inside the top-10. As he put the pressure on the 10th-place driver, the caution flag was displayed on lap 149 for a stalled truck on pit road. With the final restart coming with eight laps to go, Kaz did his best to try make up some ground but his handling woes were still too much to overcome, relinquishing him to a 13th-place finish.
"This definitely isn’t the night we wanted at Gateway but there was nothing else that we could do. Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and the guys worked hard to get the Kiklos Chevy handling right all day, but nothing seemed to help. Hopefully we can rebound next weekend in Iowa. That’s a track that I have a ton of laps at.”
GMS Racing PR