Kaz Grala No. 33 Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado Pocono Recap
Aiding in the learning curve of visiting Pocono Raceway for the first time in his career, Kaz pulled double duty this weekend running in both the ARCA race Friday night as well the NCWTS race Saturday afternoon. Using what he learned from the extra laps behind the wheel Friday in ARCA, Kaz applied the little bit of extra experience to NCWTS practice, finishing session one third-fastest and a rain-shortened final practice fourth-fastest.
With weather moving through overnight, track conditions were much different than teams originally expected heading into qualifying. Fighting an overly tight No.33 Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado in both rounds of single-truck qualifying, Kaz qualified 11th for the Overton’s 150 at the “Tricky Triangle.”
Making his way into the top-10 running order during stage one of the 60-lap race, Kaz radioed to his GMS Racing crew that his Kiklos Chevy was tight getting to the throttle in the corners, especially in Turn 3. Holding on for a 10th-place finish in the first stage, Kaz came to pit road under the break for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to try aid in a still tight Chevy. However, slight issues on the right side during the pit stop forced Kaz to restart 14th when the field went back green on lap 20. Racing his way back inside the top 10 within a couple laps, Kaz would go on to finish stage two in the seventh position.
Wanting to keep track position, crew chief Jerry Baxter called the rookie down pit road under the stage break for two tires, fuel and another round of adjustments to continue to loosen the No. 33 up on throttle. With varying pit strategy taking place, Kaz lined up 13th for the lap 35 restart. Trying to fight his way back inside the top 10, Kaz was caught up in an accident with two other competitors on lap 41. While the Kiklos team tried to make repairs to keep Kaz in the race, the damage sustained was too much, ending his day with a 23rd-place finish in his NCWTS Pocono debut.
"Today’s race was shaping up to be one of our best races overall this season. We unloaded fast and I adapted well to the track after being able to run the ARCA race. We may not have won the race today, but we were definitely on pace for a top-10 finish. Unfortunately, our day didn’t end that way and bad luck got us again. There wasn’t much I could do. I can’t hang my head though. One of my weaknesses all season has been restarts, and I nailed them all today. I just wish our luck could turn around so we can start getting the finishes we deserve.”
- Kaz qualified on the pole for Friday night’s ARCA race and led the field for half the race before ultimately finishing fourth.
- After the 12th race of the season, Kaz is currently 11th in the NCWTS point standings, but has one win and five bonus points towards the playoffs.
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