Friday, Jun 09

Gifford Breaks Through At Richmond

Thursday, Apr 25 1634

The Ryan Gifford converted a little patience into his elusive first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway.

The 24-year-old from Winchester, Tenn., drove away from runner-up Brandon Gdovic and third-place Cole Custer on a late-race restart to take win in the Blue Ox 100. It was redemption for Gifford, who was in contention last year at Richmond until a cut tire in the closing laps ended his night.

This time, Gifford qualified 11th, conserved his tires and methodically worked his way to the front.

Gifford became the fourth different driver to win a race in the series for Rev Racing since the organization began to field cars for NASCAR's Drive For Diversity in 2010. Gifford has been with the team since its first year and was making his 44th career start.

Gifford took the lead from Custer on Lap 78 and then had to wait out a red flag for a multi-car wreck on Lap 88.

Eddie MacDonald finished fourth and Gifford's teammate Mackena Bell was fifth.

Points leader Brett Moffitt ended up sixth, followed by Austin Hill, Michael McGuire, Austin Self and Matt Tifft.

After four races, Moffitt leads Gifford by seven points and Gdovic by 12.

In the previous 26 years of the K&N Pro Series East there had not been a top-five finish by a female driver, but with Bell's fifth-place effort it has been done the last three races. Kenzie Ruston scored top fives at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on April 6 and at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. on April 13.

Earlier in the day, Gray Gaulding broke Chase Elliott's record for youngest pole winner in series history at 15 years, 2 months and 15 days. He led the first 58 laps before contact with Corey LaJoie for the lead took the top two qualifiers out of contention.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to the track Saturday, June 1 for the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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