Mike Calinoff Returns to Spotters Stand in 2014

Mike Calinoff will return to the spotters stand in 2014 in connection with the announcement earlier this week that Kaz Grala will be running the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. As Calinoff explained on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, he had been presented with the perfect scenario — a 16 race schedule with a young driver to coach.

 Grala, 15, signed with Turner Scott Motorsports to drive the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet after becoming the youngest winner in UARA series history in 2013.


Towards the latter part of 2013, Calinoff made the decision to step away from spotting at NASCAR’s highest levels on a full-time basis, to focus on his four flourishing companies and family time at home. Having been a fixture atop the spotter stand for over 15 years, Calinoff’s tenure at Roush Fenway Racing garnered a total of 47 national wins and three championships with Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 


However, Calinoff didn’t rule out ever spotting again if the “perfect opportunity” arose. His niche has always been working with rookies and has led his drivers to ROTY awards, race wins and championships. He’ll have that same opportunity with Grala, competing for race wins and Rookie of the Year honors.


“Kaz has a great foundation at such a young age,” said Calinoff. “He’s very bright and the level of his raw talent is something that can’t be taught. “When we came from 27th to finish 2nd at the famed Myrtle Beach 400 Late Model race, I knew that I needed to accept an offer from (dad) Darius (Grala). Working with young drivers is my passion and this is an absolute perfect situation for me. I can’t wait to get going.”


Calinoff also has plans to participate in the broadcast media arena beginning at the mid-point of the NASCAR season.


For Grala, having a familiar and experienced voice in his ear will bring both comfort and confidence. Calinoff has spotted race wins at more than half of the tracks that compose the 2014 K&N Pro East schedule. 


“I’ve worked with Mike a few times between the Legend cars and Late Models and it’s gone really well,” Grala said. “His experience will be a valuable part of my development at this next level.”


The 2014 K&N Pro Series East season begins Feb. 16 at New Smyrna Speedway, Grala and Calinoff are off to an early start working together this weekend in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Daytona International Speedway. Calinoff is also working with Colin Braun in the Rolex 24 hour race that gets underway on Saturday.


140 Buzz PR