WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Bully Hill car, Bully Hill sponsored race. What does the Bully Hill driver go out and do in the K&N East race at Watkins Glen.
Scott Heckert cleared teammate J.J. Haley in the Esses with 10 laps to go to go back-to-back in the Bully Hill Vineyards 125. Heckert let the chaos ensue behind him as he drove to his fourth career-series victory.
“Watkins Glen is really one of my favorite places on Earth,” Heckert said. “I grew up watching races here and, to do it back-to-back is really special. With Bully Hill Vineyards on the car this time, it was great to do it for them. But, seeing the emotions from my family and crew make it all that more special.”
“It was a great day.”
The Connecticut native becomes the first driver in 20 years to win back-to-back K&N races at the Glen. Terry Labonte was the last driver to do it in 1994 and 1995 when the Busch (XFINITY) and Busch North(now K&N East) Series ran a 200-mile race in companion.
Heckert’s biggest challenge came from Haley when the two were side-by-side on a restart, as Haley tried to make his outside move work to get the lead back from the No. 34 car.
“I saw him way, way over there and I moved over to the right a little bit because I knew he’d come flying back over,” Heckert added. “J.J.’s a great driver. He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Bully Hill jumped on board the defending race winner’s car for Friday’s race. Heckert started the day out in third and bided his time before getting the lead before the lap 30 competition caution and never looked back.
With Heckert driving away in the sunset, literally, in the closing laps, the battle for second was on between HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks teammates Haley and Dalton Sargeant. The two finished second and third in the West race at Sonoma, with Sargeant getting the upper hand of the two there and nearly having a shot at the victory.
Sargeant weaved and worked to try find a way around the No. 5 car for the runner-up spot and Haley left the inside line open going into Turn 1 for the last time. The No. 51 car was side-by-side with the No. 5 as the two made slight contact with Sargeant’s bumper about to come off the car. By the time they got to the Esses, Sargeant made the move stick to grab the runner=up spot and finished second for the third time this season in K&N East.
“It’s the white flag lap and when it comes down to it, we’re racing for a championship,” Sargeant said. “Every point matters when it’s getting this tight. Overall, I think we just had to made a pass and just stuck it in there and rubbing’s racing. Might of used up the fenders a little bit, but we both came out through it and I got the position and everything worked out fine.”
Haley hung on to the second spot before Sargeant made the pass before sliding back to third at the checkered flag.
“It’s a shame I get raced like that on the last lap, by my teammate, but what are you going to do about it” Haley said.
Amidst the disappointment, the 16-year-old made his No.5 Braun Auto Group Chevrolet very wide outside of Turn 1 before going into the Esses. After getting around both Cole Custer and Austin Hill to lead his first-career series laps, Haley used the wide move to get out in front for some time.
“Drive it in 10 times as hard and get out 10 times as hard, Haley said laughing. “Just got to what you have to do.”
Pole-sitter Cole Custer stormed his way back from 20th on lap 17 to 10th before the competition caution came out on lap 30. Custer was leading until he Hill and Haley went three-wide into Turn 1 and the No. 00 went around after contact with the No. 5 car. The 17-year-old got back to as high as fourth before fading back to fifth in the closing laps, one week after becoming ARCA’s youngest superspeedway winner last weekend at Pocono.
Dylan Lupton and Custer rounded out the top-five behind the HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks trio of drivers.
Cautions came early on in the race when Sarah-Cornett Ching, David Garbo Jr. and Brian Wong all went up in smoke on three separate occasions in the first 13 laps of the 51-lap event.
K&N West driver Todd Souza had a vicious crash on lap 23 while sustaining very heavy damage to both the rear and front of the car , but the California native was released from the infield care center.
The race’s final caution came out as the No. 6 of Devon Amos lost his engine to set up the final restart of the Bully Hill Vineyards 125.
Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 125 will be televised on Thursday, August 13 at 7p.m. on NBC Sports Network.
With another Watkins Glen race in the books, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series stays East to go to Motordome Speedway on Saturday, August 15 for the UPMC Health Care 150.
Audio with race winner Scott Heckert
Audio with second place finisher Dalton Sargeant
Audio with third-place finisher J.J. Haley
RESULTS: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East; Bully Hill Vineyards 125; August 7, 2015
- Scott Heckert
- Dalton Sargeant
- J.J. Haley
- Dylan Lupton
- Cole Custer
- Austin Hill
- William Byron
- Noah Gragson
- Jay Beasley
- Daniel Hemric
- Nick Drake
- Rico Abreu
- Jesse Little
- Kyle Benjamin
- Kaz Grala
- Collin Cabre
- Marc-Antoine Camirand
- Kenzie Ruston
- Devon Amos
- Todd Souza
- Kevin O’Connell
- Brian Wong
- David Garbo Jr.
- Sarah Cornett-Ching