KNPSE: Turner-Scott Motorsports Carries Momentum, High Hopes into Bristol

RaceChaser Staff NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

March 12, 2014 — team release — photo courtesy TSM via Ben Rhodes — BRISTOL, TN — Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) heads to Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) on March 15 for the third race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season, the PittLite 125.

TSM is coming off a successful stint of two races in three days to kick off the 2014 season. The stretch of races saw TSM capture the 21 Means 21 pole award with both Cameron Hayley at New Smyrna Speedway and Ben Rhodes at Daytona International Speedway.

TSM will look to use some of its early season momentum and improve upon its start to the season going into BMS, a track where TSM won one year ago with eventual 2013 NKNPSE champion Dylan Kwasniewski. All five TSM drivers have recorded at least one top-10 finish this season, and all five sit inside the top-15 in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings heading into Bristol.

Kaz Grala’s first two career starts in the NKNPSE saw him compile back-to-back top-10 finishes, finishing 10th in both outings. As the youngest driver in the field, he will look to continue his early-season success as he goes for three straight top-10 finishes in the PittLite 125. The race will mark Grala’s first-career start at BMS in the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet. The 15-year-old rookie also looks to improve upon his 11th-place position in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

“After logging two top-10 finishes in the first two races of the season, I am going into Bristol with a great deal of optimism. I have never raced at Bristol before, but I think the high-banked corners will fit into my driving style,” Grala expressed.

Brandon Jones heads into the PittLite 125 looking to take the knowledge gained at New Smyrna Speedway, where he recorded a career-best finish of third, as well as some of his past experience when they head into Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15. The 16-year-old made his second-career start in the NKNPSE at Bristol in 2013, recording a 31st-place finish after an electrical issue cut his day short after just 85 of the 125 scheduled laps. Jones also made his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at BMS in 2013.

Jones currently sits 13th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

“I’m very excited and really looking forward to getting back to Bristol for the third race of our season. Bristol is a track in which I’ve not only raced here in the NKNPSE, but also the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Jones added. “I’m hoping to make some gains upon the experience I’ve gained from those races, and look to put together a solid race with my No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services team.”

Scott Heckert comes to BMS with a ton of momentum following his career-best finish on an oval (eighth) at Daytona. Heckert and his No. 34 Turner Scott Motorsports team will look to use that momentum heading into the World’s Fastest Half Mile where Heckert made his first-career NKNPSE start in 2013, finishing 20th.

Heckert will look to improve upon that as he makes his first start at Bristol with TSM, and currently sits 15th in the Driver Point Standings heading into the PittLite 125.

“Last year at Bristol was my first ever K&N East start, and since then I’ve gained some great knowledge of these cars and how they drive,” Heckert said of his recent NKNPSE starts. “I really think we can put together a successful race and grow upon how we ran at Daytona. Bristol is one of my favorite tracks that we go to; it’s so fast and things can happen in the blink of an eye, which makes for an exciting race.”

Ben Rhodes made his first-career start in the NKNPSE race at BMS in 2013, finishing ninth with TSM. Rhodes and the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team will look to improve upon that, as well as making some gains from the two-race Florida swing a few weeks earlier. The NASCAR Next driver heads into the third race of the season seventh in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

“I made my K&N East Series debut with TSM last season at Bristol and was happy to bring home a ninth-place finish. We lost the primary car in practice, but we were still able to race the backup car from a 21st-starting position and get ourselves inside the top 10. I am really excited to get back to Bristol and see what the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet can do.

“I really enjoy this racetrack, and if we can stay out of trouble, we have a great shot at racing for the win,” a confident Rhodes added.

Cameron Hayley is coming off his two-race swing in Florida sitting fifth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings. The NASCAR Next driver will be under the command of crew chief Mardy Lindley and the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley team, the same group that led Dylan Kwasniewski to victory in this event one year ago.

Hayley looks to use the knowledge of his crew chief and team to his advantage, as this will be the 17-year-old’s first-career start on the “Worlds Fastest Half Mile.”.

“‘Regroup’ is the word of the weekend going into Bristol,” Hayley expressed. “We had a really hard-fought run at Daytona, and we need to go into Bristol this weekend and get a win. I feel confident that we will have a very fast racecar, and my team knows how to win at this racetrack. That being said, we have no doubt in our minds that the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevy Impala can be up towards the front at the end of the race.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East takes the green flag at Bristol for the PittLite 125 on Saturday, March 15th following the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive to Stop Diabetes 300.

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