February 19, 2014 — By Jason Christley, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications — Getty Images photo — DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Robert Hart had just one thought as he watched Daniel Suarez edge Cameron Hayley at the line for the win Sunday night:
“We’ve got to bring them back.”
Less than 48 hours after Hart’s New Smyrna Speedway hosted its inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, the track owner signed the NASCAR sanction to host the series again in February of 2015.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling race as our first NASCAR touring series event – the fans were on their feet for that finish,” said Hart, who signed the sanction prior to Tuesday night’s UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona International Speedway. “It really was a no-brainer to bring the series back and make them an integral part of our season kickoff.”
Suarez and Hayley – two of the sport’s future stars – battled door-to-door over the last five laps Sunday with Suarez winning by just .083 seconds. The New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS will air on FOX Sports 1 Saturday at 9 a.m.
“We know from experience that New Smyrna Speedway is a great NASCAR short track with close racing and a fan-friendly environment,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of weekly & touring series. “We were hoping that the NASCAR K&N Pro Series season opener on the high banks would add a new level of excitement for NASCAR fans, but the event ended up exceeding all our expectations.”
New Smyrna, which is less than 25 minutes from Daytona International Speedway, is also in its second year as a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track. Its signature event, the 48th Annual Asphalt Stock Car World Series, runs every February. The World Series runs through Saturday night, headlined by the track’s Division I Super Late Model division.
Over the last seven years, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has established itself as the home of the sport’s top young drivers. Eight drivers who earned their first NASCAR win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series since 2007 won in one of NASCAR’s three national series last year. In addition, six of the last seven NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Sunoco Rookies of the Year are competing full-time in the national series this year, including past series champions Joey Logano, Ryan Truex, Kyle Larson and Dylan Kwasniewski.