The Frontstretch: Hayley Survives Late-Race Scramble To Score K&N Battle Of The Beach Victory by Mike Neff -- Wednesday February 20, 2013

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Cameron Hayley and Joie Chitwood in victory lane after Hayley’s win in the K&N Series Battle at the Beach.
Photo by Yvonne Leonard

Most young kids that make it out of Canada in sports are doing it on ice skates. Cameron Hayley is doing it behind the wheel of a race car. The 16 year-old Hayley, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, weaved his way through a last lap melee to score his first ever K&N series win and become the third driver of the three winners at the Battle at the Beach to lead two or fewer laps. Hayley took advantage of a mistake by Gray Gaulding coming through the final corner to be the first driver to the checkered flag. Gaulding came home second with his right front going down and trying to spin the leader before they crossed the finish line. Bryan Ortiz and Ryan Gifford wrangled third and fourth place finishes respectively for Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. Ben Kennedy completed the top five.

Glowing rotors and belching flames were common sights at Tuesday’s K&N Series Battle at the Beach.
Photo by Yvonne Leonard

In a theme that was consistent throughout the three Battle at the Beach races, caution flags ruled the event. The K&N event was slowed 10 times for 58 laps by the yellow laundry. Greg Pursley had the strongest car in the field but he was taken out of the lead, after leading the first 127 laps, but an over aggressive move by Cale Conley. Conley’s move wasn’t the only excessively forceful pass of the night. Continuing the theme that was established by Kyle Larson on Monday night, Gray Gaulding dumped Michael Self in turn two on the final lap to take the lead but then overdrove the third corner, slid high in turn four and lost the drag race to the checkers to Hayley. Hayley only led the final lap of the event. The three winners of the feature races during the Battle at the Beach lead a combined four laps.

Ryan Gifford is turned around to bring out the last caution of the night.
Photo by Yvonne Leonard

The K&N race started much better than the Late Model and Modified events, with only one caution in the first 42 laps. The drivers were not about to let that deter them from tearing up some fine race cars however, as the event was slowed nine times over the last 108 laps by caution. There were eight cars on the lead lap when the checkered flag flew. The action on the final lap resulted in the final finishing order being drastically different from how the drivers took the white flag. Michael Self was leading as the field passed the white flag but was unceremoniously dumped in turn two by Gaulding. Self turned sideways in the middle of the track and caused several cars to be impeded from making it back around to the finish. Pursley had rebounded from being spun for the lead and was poised to grab at least a top three finish when he ran into the side of Self after the spin. Derek Thorn had also rebounded from a spin and worked his way back to the top five before he was slowed to a sixth place finish in the scramble. The drive of the night may have belonged to Ryan Gifford. He received the Lucky Dog pass on the last caution and restarted in 12th place. In the first lap of the Green-White-Checker, he advanced his position up to the top 10 and then weaved his way through the turn two carnage to come home with a fourth place finish.

Cameron Hayley celebrates in Victory Lane.
Photo by Yvonne Leonard

The race was loaded with drivers that very well could be around the world of stock car racing for a long time. Hayley is 16, Gaulding is 15, Ortiz and Gifford are 24 and 23 respectively. Tyler Reddick is 17 and John Hunter Nemechek is 15.

Gray Gaulding and Cameron Hayley battling it out during the K&N Series Battle at the Beach.
Photo by Yvonne Leonard

The event was slowed by 10 cautions for 58 laps. It took one hour, 22 minutes and 15 seconds. Pursley led for 127 laps, Michael Self for 27 and Cameron Hayley for one. The average speed was 45.503 mph and the margin of victory was .158 seconds.

Daytona International Speedway

K&N Series – Battle at the Beach

Race Results 2/19/2013

1) Cameron Hayley
2) Gray Gaulding
3) Bryan Ortiz
4) Ryan Gifford
5) Ben Kennedy
6) Derek Thorn
7) DJ Kennington
8) Michael Self
9) Greg Pursley
10) Kyle Larson
11) Cale Conley
12) Noel Dowler
13) Jorge Goeters
14) Tyler Reddick
15) Dalton Zehr
16) Martin Roy
17) Austin Self
18) Chuck Buchanan Jr.
19) Daryl Harr
20) Dylan Presnell
21) Sergio Pena
22) Corey LaJoie
23) Ander Vilarino
24) David Mayhew
25) CJ Faison
26) Carl Harr
27) Dylan Kwasniewski
28) John Hunter Nemechek

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