Grala: "It'll be up to me" to repeat Daytona success at Talladega
There may be not many NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff drivers looking forward to this weekend’s elimination race at Talladega, but there is at least one.
Kaz Grala earned his first series victory in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, which locked him into the playoffs.
He enters Saturday’s Round 1 cutoff race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway ranked seventh among the eight playoff drivers. Some may not consider it an envious position to have their hopes of advancing in the playoffs resting on the result of an unpredictable restrictor-plate race.
“Obviously, it’s cool knowing that the last superspeedway race we were able to get the pole and the win, but anything can happen in these types of races,” said Grala, who is eight points below the cutoff line to transfer to Round 2.
“You can have the fastest truck or be the best plate racer, but we’ve seen it time and time again in every series, that doesn’t guarantee you any sort of favorable finishing position.”
It may not, but his performance at Daytona certainly can’t hurt.
Grala, 18, will use the same truck this weekend as he did at Daytona, when he became the youngest Daytona pole award and race winner in series history. He led 14 laps in the race, which remains his second-highest total of the season.
Grala struggled during the middle of the season, at one point wrecking out of four consecutive races.
But as the regular season concluded and the playoffs began, he and his No. 33 GMS Racing team put together some of his best performances of the season. He hasn’t finished lower than 10th in his last four races, including a pair of top-five finishes.
A win Saturday would automatically advance Grala to Round 2 of the playoffs, but with the closeness of the points race, a solid finish could still do the trick.
“We’re looking at this race as a wild card, just like everyone else is. Leaving Daytona without any damage, we are able to bring the same truck with us to Talladega, which is a plus,” Grala said.
“My team will bring me a fast Chevy. It’ll be up to me to keep us out of trouble and up front at the end.”
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