DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Three drivers have the opportunity to walk away from Delaware’s Dover International Speedway as 2015 champion of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
William Byron, Scott Heckert and Austin Hill will be fighting for the title Friday during the Drive Sober 125 presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. The crowned champion will become the 29th in series history.
William Byron, 17 years-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, looks to cap off his season by becoming only the fifth champion to earn the elite title during their rookie season. The points leader would join Joey Logano (2007), Ryan Truex (2009), Kyle Larson (2012) and Ben Rhodes (2014) on the list of rookies to accomplish the feat.
Byron, who has a series-high four wins to go along with 10 top 10s in 13 starts, only needs to finish ninth or better to wrap up the championship. If he leads a lap or leads the most laps, he can clinch the title with finishes of 10th or 11th, respectively.
If he finishes outside the top 10, however, the door opens for his two closest challengers.
Scott Heckert, 21 from Ridgefield, Connecticut, trails his HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks teammate by only 13 points. He looks to earn his first championship title in three seasons after having his best career season.
Byron’s fellow NASCAR Next classmate, Austin Hill, is 14 points behind the leader with 496 points. If anyone has the edge headed into this weekend, it’s the Winston, Georgia, native. He’s won the last two races at the Monster Mile and a win this weekend would make him the first driver in series history to record three or more wins at Dover.
Tale of the Tape – 2015 Title Contenders
|Driver||Win||Poles||Top Fives||Tops 10s||Laps Led|
RACE: Drive Sober 125 presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety
PLACE: Dover (Del.) International Speedway
DATE: Friday, October 2
TIME: 5:00 p.m.
TELECAST: NBCSN, Thursday, October 8, 4 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: one-mile, high-banked concrete oval
2014 WINNER: Austin Hill
2014 POLE WINNER: Jesse Little
EVENT SCHEDULE: Garage opens: 7:30 a.m.; Practice: 8:30-10:00 a.m.; Qualifying: 12:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 2:00 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 3:20 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 4:45 p.m.; Driver Sober 125: 5:00 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @MonsterMile
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #DriveSober125
The Race: The Drive Sober 125 at Dover International Speedway will be the 14th and final event of the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season.
The Procedure: The starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will secure starting positions based on the two-lap qualifying session. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 125 laps (125 miles) with a five minute break occurring at or near the conclusion of lap 65.
The Track: Known as the “Monster Mile,” Dover is an even one-mile concrete oval with banking of nine degrees on the straightaways and 24 degrees in the turns.
Race Winners: There have been 12 winners in the previous 14 K&N East races at Dover. Austin Hill’s win last season join him with Brett Moffitt as the only drivers to earn multiple victories at the track.
Pole Winners: In the 14 previous events, there have been 12 different pole winners. Darrell Wallace Jr. is the only multi-time polesitter at Dover, while Matt DiBenedetto holds the qualifying record with 23.201 seconds (155.166 mph), established in 2009.
DRIVE SOBER 125 RACE NOTES:
MRN To Broadcast Finale Live: For the first time ever, the K&N Pro Series finales will be broadcast live on MRN radio and MRN.com. MRN will broadcast a special edition of NASCAR Coast to Coast dedicated to the K&N Pro Series East championship battle starting Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET. For those in the Delaware area, the broadcast will air on local station WDOV-AM. NASCAR Next alumnus and 2014 K&N Pro Series East champion Ben Rhodes will join MRN in the booth to help announce and analyze the Drive Sober 125.
Split Victory Lanes: This season marks the seventh time since 2004 the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season has concluded at Dover. In the previous six races, the champion has never won the race. The best finish by the eventual champion was Joey Logano (2nd in 2007). Andy Santerre is the only driver to win the Dover race in a championship season. The four-time series champ picked up the win in 2005 when the Monster Mile was the 11th of 13 races on the schedule.
LaJoie Returns to the K&N East: Corey LaJoie, 23 from Concord, North Carolina, will be making his first K&N East start since 2013. LaJoie has accumulated five wins, 17 top fives and 20 top 10s in 35 K&N East races, with one of those wins being Dover in 2012. In four appearances at the Monster Mile, he’s finished in the top three three times, including a win in 2012.
Cassill To Compete In Dover Finale: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Landon Cassill will be making his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series East start on Friday. Cassill competed in two events in 2007 and finished 14th and fourth. The 26-year old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa has competed in 10 Sprint Cup events at Dover and earned his best finish (23rd) at the track in May.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update: The championship title isn’t the only fierce competition in the K&N East. The 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year award is a tight battle between Dalton Sargeant and William Byron. Sargeant leads teammate Byron by one point headed in to the season finale at Dover on Friday. (94-93 points). Rico Abreu, JJ Haley and Kyle Benjamin round out the top five.
Starting Spot: Since 2001, all but one eventual winner started the event in the top 10 with Santerre (14th) being the only exception. However, the driver who won the pole has gone on to win the race only once: Darrell Wallace Jr. in 2011. Hill qualified sixth (2013) and ninth (2014) in his most recent wins. This is the first year the race is 125 laps. Six times since 2001 the race has been extended by a green-white-checkered finish.
NASCAR Next Update: Five of the six K&N East drivers in the 2015-16 NASCAR Next class are sitting in the top 10 headed into Dover. William Byron leads the battle for the 2015 championship title, while Austin Hill trails in third and is one of two drivers who can take the trophy from Byron. Dalton Sargeant sits fourth in the standings while Rico Abreu (seventh) and Kyle Benjamin (ninth) round out the top 10. Jesse Little sits in 19th after only five starts, one of which was a win at Iowa Speedway in July.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com