Nick Drake’s shot at getting his first career win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East came up short, after contact from another car sent him crashing on the final lap of the Granite State 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday.
The collision in Turn 3 ended what had been a tremendous performance by Drake in trying to take the No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota to Victory Lane in his first visit to the 1.058-mile track.
“The 33 just drove right into us,” Drake said. “I don’t know what else to tell you. There’s nothing else we could have done today and it’s unfortunate for the entire team.
“The Bill McAnally NAPA Toyota was great today,” the 18-year-old rookie from Mooresville, North Carolina said. “We slowly made our way up to the front. My restarts are getting better each week and we were able to gain track position. We thought we had the win, but we were taken out coming for the checkered flag.”
Drake, who started 10th on the grid, moved steadily to the front during the 100-lap event. He was into the top five by Lap 30 and up to fourth soon after that. Although he slipped a couple of positions just past the midway point of the race, Drake was on the charge again in the final 30 laps. He moved into second just after a Lap 83 restart and then took the lead following a Lap 89 restart. Drake pulled away during a subsequent restart, but saw his race come to an early end after being hit on the final lap. Jesse Little avoided the incident to take the win.
With a 24th-place finish, Drake is third in the chase for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award and eighth in the overall championship standings. He has one pole, three top five and five top 10 finishes in 10 series starts this year.
The New Hampshire race, the 10th of 16 events on this year’s series schedule, will be televised on FOX Sports 1 on July 20 at noon ET.
The next event on the schedule is the JEGS 150 at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 19.
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