Kaz Grala Becomes Youngest Daytona Winner Ever In Wild NextEra Energy Resources 250

Daytona Beach, Fla – The NextEra Energy Resources 250 started with a “big one” and ended with a “big one” as 19 Trucks were involved on a Lap 2 accident entering Turn 1. On the final lap of the race, nearly the rest of the field that was running at the finish, crashed on the backstretch that saw Matt Crafton get airborne and nearly over the fence.

18-year old Kaz Grala though, who became the youngest driver to ever win a pole at Daytona, ended up being the youngest winner ever too, as he skated through the melee on the backstretch en route to his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory.

Grala, was running in tow with his GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter for most of the final 20 laps, but when a late race caution flew with six to go, they got split up. Crafton, charged up to the lead heading to the white flag as he and Sauter were in a fight for the win.

But, Ben Rhodes fought his way through in the outside lane and looking like he could prevail tonight, but was pushed out of control by Grant Enfinger exiting Turn 2. Rhodes, spun across the track and took out several Trucks as nine Trucks overall were involved in that scary crash.

Austin Wayne Self brought his No. 32 Toyota home second to his best career finish while another rookie in Chase Briscoe came home third in his No. 29 Ford.

The Nemechek father-son duo rounded out the top five with John Hunter Nemechek coming home fourth and Joe Nemechek being fifth.

Johnny Sauter won the first two stages tonight and added two bonus points in the playoffs. He ended up finishing 15th, but by virtue of his 20 extra points for the first two stages, he’s currently second in the standings leaving Daytona.

The race no longer got started before the “big one” occurred on just the second lap of action tonight too. Austin Cindric, Ryan Truex, Noah Gragson, Clay Greenfield, Ross Chastain, Stewart Friesen and Tommy Joe Martins were all left out of the race after the Lap 2 incident, while several others had damage from the melee that started entering Turn 1 on the 2.5-mile high banked track. Overall, 19 cars were officially involved while seven were left out of the race just two laps in.

Then, as we were coming to the end of the first stage, Christopher Bell and Brett Moffitt made contact with one another exiting Turn 4 which saw Bell briefly get airborne while spinning backwards and Moffitt heading into the inside SAFER barrier as a result of the contact between the two. Both, were 1-2 and looking for some good bonus points for the first stage which would have really helped the two championship contenders. Instead, Moffitt’s night would be ended with a 22nd place finish while Bell would have to pit a couple times for repairs.

They’d go a full Stage without another caution before the third yellow of the night fell when Bell was involved again with 29 laps-to-go. Timothy Peters got into the back of Bell entering the tri-oval as Bell went from the bottom lane into the outside SAFER barrier. He collected Korbin Forrister as well. Bell, would continue on still while Forrister’s night ended.

The fourth caution would fall when John Hunter Nemechek lost control of his No. 8 Chevrolet on the backstretch with six laps-to-go.

The series is back at it next Saturday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (4:30 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN) for the second race of the 2017 season.

NextEra Energy Resources 250 Results:

  1. 33 Grala R
  2. 32 Self
  3. 29 Briscoe
  4. 8 JH Nemechek
  5. 87 Nemechek
  6. 92 Smith
  7. 24 Lagasse Jr.
  8.  4 Bell
  9. 22 Yeley
  10. 51 Snider
  11. 13 Coughlin R
  12. 27 Rhodes OUT
  13. 23 Gallagher OUT
  14. 88 Crafton OUT
  15. 21 Sauter OUT
  16. 98 Enfinger R OUT
  17. 17 Peters OUT
  18. 83 Peck -1
  19. 49 Chavous R -3
  20.  5 Forrister OUT
  21. 63 Gerhart OUT
  22.  7 Moffitt OUT
  23. 02 Young OUT
  24. 50 Kvapil OUT
  25. 30 Jones OUT
  26. 18 Gragson OUT
  27. 19 Cindric R OUT
  28. 16 Truex OUT
  29. 68 Greenfield OUT
  30. 66 Chastain OUT
  31. 52 Friesen OUT
  32. 99 Martins OUT

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Points Standings:

  1. Kaz Grala R 56
  2. Johnny Sauter -14
  3. Chase Briscoe R -17
  4. Ben Rhodes -18
  5. Joe Nemechek -20
  6. Austin Wayne Self -21
  7. Timothy Peters -21
  8. John Hunter Nemechek -22
  9. Christopher Bell -23
  10. Regan Smith -25

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