BMR Drivers Aim To Carry Momentum Into K&N East Race At Bristol

As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for the PittLite 125 on Saturday, Cole Custer and Nick Drake aim to carry momentum with them from their early success this year.

Custer is coming off a big win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener last month at Phoenix International Raceway, while Drake finished third there in his series debut.

The two Bill McAnally Racing drivers will be joined by Patrick Staropoli as they head to the high-banked, half-mile Bristol track for the third K&N East race of the season. Custer will be behind the wheel of the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS/HAAS Automation entry, while Drake drives the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and Staropoli pilots the No. 99 PEAK Toyota. The race is slated to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on March 22 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

“We’re excited about our start to the season,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “Our teams are working hard to continue their success and to keep the spotlight on our partners at NAPA AUTO PARTS and Toyota. The competition is fast and tight at Bristol and we know it will be a big challenge, but we have confidence in our preparation.”

Several special NAPA events will highlight the Bristol weekend for the BMR drivers. NAPA pre-race appearances are slated in Kingsport, Tenn., and Johnson City, Tenn., on Wednesday. And 50 NAPA VIPS from the Knoxville NAPA Distribution Region, who will be attending the race on Saturday, will get a special pre-race garage tour.

In addition, race fans will get an opportunity to meet the drivers and get their autographs during a special Meet & Greet hosted by Bristol Motor Speedway in the hospitality area outside the track behind Turn 4 on Friday between 4 – 9 p.m.

This marks Custer’s first race this year in the K&N East. The 16-year-old driver from Ladera Ranch, Calif., finished 24th as a rookie last year in his only previous start at Bristol. He went on to score two wins and two poles in 2013, while finishing eighth in the championship standings for the K&N East.

Custer is competing in select events in the East and West divisions of the K&N Pro Series this year, while also planning a limited schedule in making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

As a series rookie, meanwhile, Drake will be getting his first look at the high banks of the Bristol track. He finished 15th in the K&N East season opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and fourth in the UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. He is tied for second in points in the chase for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and is tied for seventh in the overall championship standings for the K&N East.

Drake – an 18-year-old from Mooresville, N.C. – is transitioning to stock cars from open-wheel racing, where he competed in the USAC National Sprint Car Series last year.

Staropoli of Plantation, Fla., has also had a successful start to the 2014 season, in which he will compete in select events in the East and West divisions of the K&N Pro Series. The 24-year-old finished 11th at New Smyrna and eighth at Daytona.