Kaz Grala didn’t enter Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway with any expectation other than to finish the race.
That he did. But the JGL Racing rookie exceeded his expectations, saying multiple times he didn’t have the speed he hoped to have this weekend.
Grala maneuvered his No. 24 car around multiple wrecks that caused an impressive five overtime restarts, coming home in the fourth position. When he brought his Ford down pit road, his wide smile said it all.
“It was wild out there,” Grala said. “It got pretty hectic there at the end. We got ourselves up in good position there and capitalized on it. This is a really big day for us, and it’s going to be a fun 33 races.”
The No. 24 team stayed away from the lead pack during the first two stages of the race in an attempt to keep the car in one piece. In the midst of the overtime madness, the Shane Wilson-led team was saving fuel as it grew worrisome it wouldn’t make it to the end.
Well. That was fun. 😳 I’m loving the @NASCAR_Xfinity Series already. Gonna be a fun year with @JGLRacing! 😁
— Kaz Grala (@KazGrala) February 17, 2018
But it did.
“Going into the race, if you asked me if I thought we had a chance at contending for the win, I would’ve thought you were crazy,” Grala said. “This shows just how good our effort was and our strategy was to put ourselves in a position to get a top five.”
Grala started the day in 27th. But his team methodically worked during those final restarts to get some extra reps and battle for the win.
The Maine native made the move to JGL Racing over the off-season. JGL also swapped over to Ford, aligning with Roush Fenway Racing after fielding Toyotas since the end of the 2014 season.
Grala finished seventh in the Camping World Truck Series standings last year. He earned a victory, five top fives and 11 top 10s in his lone full season with GMS Racing.
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