DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – By John Tejada, NASCAR — Getty Images for NASCAR photo — It’s the right time of the season for Turner Scott Motorsports driver Scott Heckert.
The Ridgefield, Connecticut, native, is coming off his first career victory in the Bully Hill Vineyards 125 at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York, outdueling road course racing expert Andrew Ranger on a green-white-checkered restart. Heckert next heads to Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia, for the Biscuitville 125, the 13th event on the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East calendar and the second visit to the track for the series.
“I’m really looking forward to VIR,” said Heckert, who tested at the 2.25-mile road course with his Turner Scott Motorsports teammates a few weeks ago. “I know we’re fast there. I think I have a decent road course background. I know we have a fast car and [at Watkins Glen] we had the fastest car.”
Heckert scored a top 10 in the series’ visit to VIR last year and a top 10 in the series two road course events in 2013. TSM teammate and series points leader Ben Rhodes admits that having turned to Heckert for road course racing advice, a move that seemingly paid dividends for Rhodes who scored a third place result at Watkins Glen, his first race on a road course.
“We had a lot of people up there at the test,” said Rhodes when asked about who has helped him the most when it comes to road course racing preparation. “I’d say the biggest help has been Scott. We both had our cameras at the VIR test and I watched his video and compared. We pretty much ran the same times through the technical portions but I just didn’t know what I was doing wrong. After watching his video, I found out that the car had a little more brake than what I thought. He helped me out a lot doing that.”
Turner Scott Motorsports now has the series last three wins on road courses, with Dylan Kwasniewski sweeping the two events at VIR and Road Atlanta in 2013. For his part, Heckert hopes that he can keep the streak alive on Saturday. Green flag for the Biscuitville 125 is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. ET.
The Race: The Biscuitville 125 will be the 14th of 16 races on the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. It’s the second time the series has visited the Virginia track and the second road course event for the series this season. It is also the third of three visits to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the series having already competed at Richmond International Raceway in April and Langley Speedway in Hampton in June.
The Procedure: The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through NASCAR road race style group qualifying. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 55 laps (123.75 miles).
The Track: Virginia International Raceway originally opened in 1957 and was closed from 1974 to 2000 when it was reopened by Harvey Siegel. VIR offers five track configurations. The Full Course is 3.27 miles in length while the Patriot Course stretches for 1.1 miles entirely inside the Full Course. The North Course measures 2.25 miles in length and the South Course covers a distance of 1.65 miles. The Grand East course is the longest configuration at 4.2 miles and is made up from the Full and Patriot courses. Overall, the facility includes three separate paddocks with timing towers, separate skid pads, covered tech bays in the North Paddock, classrooms, full service restaurants, pro shop, restrooms with showers and several lodging options. The Biscuitville 125 will be contested on the North Course.
VIR RACE NOTES
Gaulding Looks To Rebound: Gray Gaulding and the No. 20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet heads to Virginia International Raceway looking to rebound from an 18th place effort at Watkins Glen International the last time out. The Colonial Heights, Virginia, native has only one top-10 finish in his last 10 events, but heads to VIR as one of only two drivers entered with a top five at the track.
Welcome Back Ortiz: Bryan Ortiz will make his 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut for Rev Racing in the Biscuitville 125 on Saturday. Ortiz, who spent the last two seasons as a member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, was the runner-up finisher in last year’s series visit to VIR. He will be filling in for Daniel Suárez who will be competing in the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series event at Puebla on Sunday.
Road Warriors: Turner Scott Motorsports heads to the second road course event of the season looking to repeat its performance at Watkins Glen International the last time out. Led by Scott Heckert’s victory, TSM placed three drivers in the top five, with Ben Rhodes and Kaz Grala finishing third and fourth respectively. The other two Turner Scott drivers, Brandon Jones and Cameron Hayley, finished sixth and eighth in the event.
Homecoming: Of the 25 drivers currently entered for Saturday’s Biscuitville 125 at Virginia International Raceway, four hail from the state of Virginia. Gaulding will be joined by Sergio Pena from Winchester, Sam Hunt out of Midlotian and Brandon Gdovic from Yorktown.
HOME TRACKS: Pulliam In Tight Race For National Standings Lead
Two-time Defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national and Virginia state champion Lee Pulliam currently finds himself looking up in the standings. Through Aug. 4, Pulliam trails Anthony Anders in the National Standings by 19 tallies and is in third place in the state rankings. The Semora, N.C., driver has seven Virginia wins in 17 starts while competing at Motor Mile and South Boston Speedways. Peyton Sellers and Matt Bowling, both of whom also compete at Motor Mile and South Boston, occupy the top two positions in the state standings.
LAST TIME OUT: Watkins Glen
The 13th event of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season took place at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 8. Highlights of the Bully Hill Vineyards 125 were:
• Scott Heckert outraced road course expert Andrew Ranger to record his first career K&N Pro Series East victory. Heckert’s prior career best finish was a third-place effort he earned in the first Iowa combination event this season.
• Ben Rhodes earned his 10th top five of the season and increased his point lead over Cameron Hayley to 75 points heading into the final two events of the season.
• Kaz Grala topped his previous career-best finish of fourth, earned earlier this season at Langley Speedway, with a fourth-place effort at Watkins Glen. The youngster now has two top fives in 13 career series starts.
NEXT TIME OUT: Greenville
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will make its second trip this season and 12th since 2006 to Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 6 . Ben Rhodes picked up his first series win at the historic half-mile oval in March while Dylan Kwasniewski won this event a season ago.