Greg Pursley came into tonight’s Casino Arizona 100 knowing that this may be his last ride and it truly might be. After scoring a ninth place finish at Phoenix Int’l Raceway to collect his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship, he was matter-of-fact in terms of his future in racing.

 

Pursley does a burnout to celebrate his second K&N West championship. (Speed51.com photo)

Pursley does a burnout to celebrate his second K&N West championship. (Speed51.com photo)

“I think as of right now, I am retired,” Pursley said. “I’m 46-years-old and have been doing this for a long time. I am happy where I was; I got to drive the trucks a few times and unfortunately nowadays it’s (about) the young kids. Not many teams are looking at 46-year-old drivers. There’s no better way to go out than to go out on top.”

 

Pursley’s remarks came after his car owner Gene Price announced that this was his final race as a car owner earlier in the day. Price won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship three times in the last five years, two with Pursley (2011, 14) and one with Dylan Kwasniewski (2012).

 

“Gene has given us everything we needed. He is the best car owner that anyone could have asked for,” Pursley said as tears came to his eyes. “I’m really going to miss the K&N Series. It has a lot of great up and coming drivers.   The racing is awesome. It’s kind of emotional to leave here right now. I’m just happy to get another championship and go out that way.”

 

“It’s been a good run, but I am tired and I am going to move on,” Price told Speed51.com powered by JEGS earlier today. “I never retire, but my wife and I are talking about race horses now. We have a ranch about two-and-a-half hours near Flagstaff (AZ). We will be going with one horsepower instead of 600 plus horsepower.”

 

Speed51.com has learned that crew chief Jerry Pitts and longtime short track racer in the West, Jeff Jefferson, are attempting to purchase the assets of the team.

 

Drake celebrates in victory lane. (Speed51.com photo)

Drake celebrates in victory lane. (Speed51.com photo)

One of those young drivers that Pursley battled with on the track tonight was Nick Drake, who waited until the season finale to get his first series victory.

 

Drake and teammate Cole Custer rubbed fenders during a restart with ten laps to go. Despite a right-front tire that was smoking due to a fender rub from that earlier contact, Drake held off Austin Hill on a green-white-checker finish to score the win.

 

“At that point, I knew there was nothing I could do about it,” Drake said in victory lane. “We lost twice this year and we finally finished this one out. We finally got one.”

 

Drake bypassed Hill on the final lap and then Hill’s number-22 hit the wall in the third turn. After that, Gray Gaulding, Cole Custer and Jesse Little battled for the runner up spot. Defending race winner Gaulding was second with Custer, Little and Dylan Upton rounding out the top five.

 

“We got four wide on that last restart and was able to get away from him,” Gaulding said after the race. “If he (Drake) would have been closer, he would have been mine.”

 

Custer, who won at Phoenix in the spring, was third after his late-race contact with Drake.

 

“That was just racing,” Custer said after the race. “We were both going for the win. He might have gotten loose under me, which is normal here. We got together and got loose a little bit. I’m really happy for Nick right now. He has been working hard all year, and is really deserving of it.”

 

The race will air on November 16th at 10am EST on FOX Sports 1.

 

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

Casino Arizona 100

Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ

1 99 Nick Drake
2 20 Gray Gaulding
3 00 Cole Custer
4 97 Jesse Little
5 9 Dylan Lupton
6 17 David Mayhew
7 81 DJ Kennington
8 8 John Borneman III
9 26 Greg Pursley
10 33 James Krzysik
11 42 Taylor Cuzick
12 5 Thomas Martin
13 18 Bill Kann
14 83 Kelly Admiraal
15 22 Austin Hill
16 44 Austin Reed
17 84 Rich Delong III
18 11 Justin Funkhouser
19 61 Brett Thompson
20 16 Brandon McReynolds
21 38 Wendell Chavous
22 25 Chris Eggleston
23 36 Hannah Newhouse
24 12 Giles Thornton
25 30 John Wood
26 14 JJ Haley
27 27 Kyle Benjamin
28 35 J.D. White
29 21 Jay Beasley
30 6 James Bickford
31 15 Jack Sellers
32 54 Zach Huffman

 

- Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Director of Business/Midwest Editor  Twitter: @KevinRamsell

Photo Credit: Speed51.com

Champ Pursley Retires & Drake Wins K&N West First