Chase Cabre kept his cool in the scorching heat at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, winning the United Site Services 70 for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. The victory was Cabre’s second career win and second straight victory on the K&N East tour this season.
Cabre dominated the race, leading 60 of the 70 laps on his way to the checkered flag. He finished nearly four seconds clear of Sam Mayer and Derek Kraus.
“We had the race car to beat, and we proved it today,” Cabre said in Victory Lane. “It’s awesome to be able to come out here and dominate like we did, it really shows a lot about our team. The whole REV Racing crew gave me a car to go out there and dominate. They did a heck of a job, and it’s just a pleasure to hold the wheel for them.”
Cabre’s victory at The Magic Mile comes off the back of his first career K&N Pro Series East win at Memphis International Raceway on June 1. The No. 4 team has shown consistent speed throughout the 2019 campaign, but the Tampa, Florida native believes that they are now in strong contention for the championship.
“We’ve had a lot of speed all season,” Cabre said. “At New Smyrna we lead a lot of laps but had a rear end go bad; Bristol we ran second, the first South Boston race we ran third until I made a mistake, then we ran second [at the second South Boston race], first [at Memphis] and then first again [at New Hampshire].
“Two little mistakes throughout the season, but we’ve been able to capitalize here lately and I definitely feel like we’re on a championship run right now. We’ve got a lot of momentum and these guys are hitting on all cylinders right now.”
While Cabre checked out at the front, the best battle at the end of the race was between 15-year old Sam Mayer and current K&N East points leader Derek Kraus for second. Kraus had the position, but Mayer tracked him down over the final 10 laps.
Mayer made the move in Turn 3 on the last lap, diving up the inside of Kraus. Kraus was able to cut back underneath Mayer and drag race him off the corner, but Mayer was able to steal the spot by just one-tenth of a second at the line.
It was a good day for sure,” Mayer said. “For the start we had, we were four wide coming out of Turn 2 and we got a lot of right front damage right there. It made the car really tight, but the team put together a really good car and we were able to hold on. We came home second and I’ll definitely take that for how the day started.”
Kraus started ninth but climbed his way up through the field and had a very strong showing. He was the only other driver to lead laps, briefly taking the lead from Cabre on Lap 25.
“It was a really fun race,” Kraus said. “Yesterday we struggled a lot, we were scratching our heads going into the race today, but it took off really good and we were able to stay up front and had a good finish in the top three.”
The oppressive heat was the biggest obstacle for every driver, with ambient temperatures pushing 100°F and cockpit temperatures closing in on 130°F.
“The heat was really big,” Mayer said. “I worked with my trainer Josh Wise and he got me ready and fit for this race. It’s only 70 laps so it’s not that bad, but when we get more laps in it’ll definitely take effect.”
Race winner Chase Cabre, however, had no choice but to deal with it.
“It’s hot!” Cabre said. “I don’t run a helmet hose or anything. A lot of these guys run helmet hoses and cool suits, I don’t run none of that. [Team owner] Doug [Howe] said ‘We’re not racing Cadillacs, we’re racing stock cars, you better get used to it, boy!’ I was baking in there like bread in a toaster oven.”
The next race for the K&N Pro Series East is Friday, July 26 at Iowa Speedway as part of a combined race with the K&N Pro Series West. Derek Kraus enters the race as the points leader in both series, leading by two points over Sam Mayer in the East and eight points over Hailie Deegan in the West.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Rick Ibsen