Daniel Suarez (6) edges Cameron Hayley at the line for the win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at New Smyrna Speedway. Getty Images for NASCAR
NEW SMYRNA, Fla. – Offseason did nothing to slow Daniel Suárez's momentum.
The Monterrey, Mexico, driver held off Cameron Hayley in a door-to-door battle of NASCAR's rising stars to win the New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS Sunday night at New Smyrna Speedway. The race was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener and the inaugural visit to the banked half-mile.
Driving for Rev Racing and NASCAR's Drive for Diversity, the 22-year-old Suárez picked up his second career victory and gave Rev Racing its 13th win since 2010.
“The car was really good tonight on the long runs,” said the victor. “It was really awesome on the high line in Turns 1 and 2.”
It marked Suárez's sixth top-three finishes in eight NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races dating back to last year. And it was his second straight NASCAR touring series win; Suárez won the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series finale at Mexico City in November. Suarez is also a member of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights young, talented drivers.
Hayley, 17, won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Company earlier in the day. But it was Suárez and Brandon Jones, 16, who led the way for most of the night. Jones led 34 laps before giving way to Suárez on Lap 48 and eventually finishing third.
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“We dropped back early on and that’s what we had planned,” said Hayley. “We wanted to be sixth at the halfway break and that’s where we were. I could have been a little more aggressive there at the end with Daniel, but it was a good night for the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet.”
Ben Rhodes and Lee Pulliam rounded out the top five. It was the series' debut for Pulliam, the two-time defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion.
A late race caution set the stage for tense closing laps. Pulliam restarted alongside Suárez, slipped up and dropped out of the top five.
That allowed Suárez to get away and Hayley to move back into second.
With four to go, Hayley muscled his way alongside Suárez. They rubbed and stayed side-by-side, with Suárez leading by inches to the white flag and beating Hayley to the finish by .083 seconds.
“I was waiting for (Pulliam) and I don’t know where Cameron came from, said Suárez. “I knew his car was fast since he was the polesitter, but he kind of snuck up on me.”
Kenzie Ruston finished sixth, followed by Gray Gaulding, Mackena Bell, Brandon Gdovic and rookie Kaz Grala.
Ruston led four laps in the early going and became the first female driver in the series to lead a lap since Danica Patrick in September 2010 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will get right back at it. The series will be part of the UNOH Battle At The Beach Tuesday on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway, along with the non-points special event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours.
With the quick turnaround, Suárez and his No. 6 Sunoco Race Fuels Toyota have to put this win behind them pretty quickly.
“It would be great to get two wins in three days, but we have to keep working hard to make that happen,” said Suárez. “We’re off to a good start and want to keep it going.”
Hayley won last year’s inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona which was a non-points combination event with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, but this year’s edition is a championship points event for the K&N East.
“We’ll head up to Daytona on Tuesday to redeem myself for tonight and get the win,” Hayley said.
The New Smyrna 150 presented by JEGS will air on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Turner Scott Announces '14 K&N East Lineup
Five Talented Youngsters To Take On Challenging Schedule
MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Turner Scott Motorsports is excited to announce its 2014 driver lineup for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Drivers Brandon Jones and Ben Rhodes, who each drove part time for TSM last season, will return fulltime with the organization, joined by newcomers Kaz Grala, Cameron Hayley and Scott Heckert. In its debut season in the K&N Pro Series East, TSM captured six wins and three poles overall en route to taking the championship with Dylan Kwasniewski behind the wheel.
Kaz Grala, a 15-year-old from Westborough, Mass., is a high school freshman who has climbed the ranks in auto racing’s minor leagues while having a breakout year last season. Grala turned heads early in 2013 when he became the youngest race winner in UARA series history, taking the checkered flag at the prestigious Hickory Motor Speedway. Grala continued to place his name in the record books last season when he became the youngest driver to lead laps in the NASCAR Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Grala will continue his march towards NASCAR’s biggest stage in 2014, running a fulltime K&N East schedule for TSM.
A talented young racer from Calgary, Alberta, Cameron Hayley made his karting debut at the age of seven. Competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West since 2011, Hayley was the youngest driver to compete in the series and finished second in his debut. Hayley was the NASCAR K&N Pro Series winner at the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and finished the 2013 season with one win, six poles and a second-place finish in the K&N West driver standings. The 17-year-old is a member of the NASCAR Next program, a select group chosen by the sanctioning body that spotlights NASCAR’s rising stars.
Scott Heckert, a 20-year-old Connecticut native and student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, began his career with success in the Skip Barber National and Regional road racing series. In 2012, Heckert partnered with championship-winning driver and team owner BJ McLeod in the Bright House Challenge Series, where he was named 2012 Rookie of the Year. In 2013, after finishing third in the Watermelon Capital Speedway SpeedFest, Heckert made his NKNPSE debut for McLeod, earning a best finish of seventh.
The 2013 campaign was a busy one for Brandon Jones, who made seven starts in the K&N Pro Series East, three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and nine in the UARA-Stars Series. The 16-year-old from Atlanta, Ga., will challenge for the Rookie of the Year award in the K&N East in 2014, while continuing to fine-tune his skills by running a Late Model and NCWTS entry when the schedule permits.
Ben Rhodes began his racing career at the age of seven, starting in karts and winning several championship titles before moving up the ranks running Bandoleros, Legend Cars and Late Model Stock Cars. In 2013, the Louisville, Ky., native ran a partial K&N East schedule for TSM, where he made seven starts with two top fives and five top 10s to his credit. The 16-year-old is also a member of the NASCAR Next program.
“I am very pleased to announce our 2014 NASCAR K&N (Pro) Series East lineup,” said team co-owner Harry Scott Jr. “We take great pride in our K&N program, and I believe we’ve shown what an effective platform it is for up-and-coming drivers in the success we had last year and the fact that we’ve already seen some of our drivers’ potential to advance to the next level. The drivers in our stable have shown a lot of promise and I’m hoping that we can follow up last year’s championship with another great season.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season kicks off with the New Smyrna 150 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 16.
Two in a row from the Calgary based driver! Saturday night in Roseville, California marked Hayley’s very first point’s series win in the K&N Pro Series. The Toyota NAPA 150 at All American Speedway had previously been a very successful race for the young driver presenting him with a top 5 in both starts thus far at the track. This past weekend was no exception with Hayley’s first win of the regular season.
After a delayed flight and missed plane Friday night getting to Roseville, Hayley arrived at the track early Saturday morning determined to win the race and gain those valuable points for the championship. The team started on a high note as they posted the fastest time out of both practice sessions and clearly labeled themselves as the car to beat. The team had been in this situation before and struggled in the race, however this time they felt like they had the set up to win and were ready as ever to go out and get that first win.
Qualifying was a struggle for the Cabinets by Hayley team as they missed the set up slightly putting them second for the start of the race. “Today was not the day for my seventh pole of the year but we still have 2 races left to get it done,” said Hayley after his run. Although the set up was not perfect, the team was still confident in their race trim from earlier on in practice and were ready to roll for the race.
Last time out in Yakima, where Hayley picked up his third win of the 2013 season, both Hayley and his crew chief Jeff Jefferson had developed a strategy to save tires early on and make sure that the car had something left at the end, and Saturdays race was no exception to that. Hayley had to be patient at the beginning and aggressive towards the end. The second the green flag dropped, the team put the plan into action and dropped back to 4th place where Hayley could just ride and conserve tires until it was time to go. With the exception of a few aggressive lapped cars, the first 100 laps of the race were fairly uneventful and looked as if Hayley had nothing at all for the leaders until Jeff came over the radio with about 50 to go and told Hayley that it was time to go. Hayley quickly and methodically started to make his way to the front. By lap 138 a caution came out with Hayley running second and gave the young Canadian the break that he needed to take the lead. By the time the race resumed there were just 9 short laps remaining where Hayley had the tough job of passing series point leader Derek Thorn on the outside. After 5 long laps of side-by-side battle, Hayley was able to put his black and red Ford Fusion in the lead with 4 laps remaining. With Thorn hot on his heals, Hayley had to race with all he had to stay ahead and win the race. Hayley explains his emotion on the last lap, “Most drivers will tell you that leading the last lap of the race is the most stressful yet rewarding feeling in the world; and they aren’t wrong. You try to focus on what is in front, however once in a while you catch a glimpse of the car right behind you doing everything he can to get beside you and to tell you the truth, that is very nerve racking. But as soon as you see that checkered flag, all of that goes away and it is just pure joy, excitement and everything happy! So grateful to be part of such an awesome team, with great guys who make my dreams come true every weekend.” Perfect weekend and two wins in a row for the Cabinets by Hayley team.
Next time out they will tackle the brand new high banked half mile in Bakersfield California where they will continue this momentum in the hunt for the championship.
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Most Popular Driver Voting Begins Online
Fans Vote For Favorite Drivers In K&N Pro Series West
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the sixth consecutive year, fans can vote online for the Most Popular Driver of the Year Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (Twitter hashtag: #KNWest).
The link to the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Most Popular Driver ballot will be hosted on www.nascarhometracks.com. Fans may vote once per day and are encouraged to vote throughout the season. Voting continues through Nov. 17.
Last year, Cassie Gannis was voted by the fans as the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
Voting for all regional touring series will be available on www.nascarhometracks.com.
The winner will be honored at the NASCAR Night of Champions Awards on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Cameron Cameron Hayley out-dueled polesitter and race leader Derek Thorn following the ninth and final restart of the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 Saturday night at All American Speedway to earn his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory.
Hayley, a 17-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, battled Thorn for five laps following the last restart and made the decisive move on the outside to take the lead four laps from the finish and capture his first win in a championship points race.
After five runner-up finishes, the breakthrough victory came in Hayley’s 32nd career start.
“It was amazing,” Hayley said of his win. “Our Cabinets by Hayley Ford Fusion was just perfect all night. We really wanted to save tires at the beginning, so that we had stuff at the end and it’s just what we did. We stuck to our game plan and made sure we had stuff left at the end and it paid off.”
Thorn, who earned his fourth career Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the evening, held on for second after leading 138 circuits of the 150-lap race.
“We were able to qualify on the pole,” he said. “The guys really worked hard on this car to make it what it is. At the very end, with five laps to go, we got a little nudge from someone behind us and the 24 was able to kind of get a jump on it and I just couldn’t real him back in in the last five laps.”
Eric Holmes, who led on four occasions as he battled Thorn side-by-side through much of the event, came home third.
“The NAPA Toyota was one of the best cars I’ve had all year,” Holmes said. “It’s just hard to pass Derek side-by-side. I just needed to get the lead so I wouldn’t have to run it so hard. The 24 at the end just had a little better car than us just because me and Derek ran so hard.”
Michael Self and Greg Pursley brought home the top five. Patrick Staropoli, Dylan Hutchins, Shane Golobic, Daryl Harr and Luis Tyrell completed the top 10 finishers.
The race featured nine lead changes among three drivers.
Hayley, a member of the NASCAR Next driver group, first visited Victory Lane in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series car in the inaugural non-points UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track at Daytona International Speedway this past February.
With his win, Hayley moved back to second in the championship standings. He trails Thorn 554 to 536. Pursley slipped to third with 529 points, followed by Self with 521 and Lupton with 469. Sixth and seventh are Carl Harr and Taylor Cuzick, with 420 each. Daryl Harr is eighth at 410, followed by Giles Thornton at 394 and John Wood at 381.
The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 will air on FS1 on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. ET.
The next event on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule will be the NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 26.