DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The drive to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship is already beginning headed into the series’ third race of the season at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway.
Spencer Davis and Tyler Dippel enter the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 separated by only one point. Davis, 17, from Dawsonville, Georgia, sits atop the standings with 85 points after earning back-to-back runner-up finishes in the first two races of the season. In his six K&N East starts, Davis hasn’t finished lower than sixth place.
Dippel, 15, from Wallkill, New York, jumped to second place in the standings after collecting his first series’ victory at Alabama’s Mobile International Speedway. Dippel had a solid debut as well when he finished eighth in the opener at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.
Greenville bodes well for future NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champions. The last three seasons the eventual season champion has picked up a win at the flat half-mile. This statistic might tip the odds in Dippel’s favor, as three of those drivers were a part of HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks – Dylan Kwasniewski, Ben Rhodes and William Byron.
Davis and Dippel aren’t the only ones to watch this weekend. NASCAR Next driver and Easley, South Carolina, native Kyle Benjamin, Ronnie Bassett Jr., and Dippel’s teammate Justin Haley are all within 10 points of first place.
PLACE: Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway
DATE: Saturday, March 26
TIME: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV SCHEDULE: NBCSN, Saturday, April 2, 7:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: Half-mile semi-banked oval
2015 WINNER: William Byron
2015 POLE SITTER: Daniel Hemric
EVENT SCHEDULE: Garage opens: 10:30 a.m.; Practice: 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.; Final Practice: 2:45 to 3:30 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 4:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 5:15 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session (On Track): 6:00 p.m.; Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150: 7:00 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Marketing/PR Operations Manager, Haley Wilbanks, (864) 295-5764 or [email protected]
TRACK TWITTER: @GP_Speedway
EVENT HASHTAG: #WhitakerChevy150
The Race: The Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville Pickens Speedway is the third race of the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. It is the third of 10 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ 15th visit to the South Carolina oval.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps, spanning 75 miles, and will be run in two segments with a five minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75.
The Track: Greenville is a half-mile asphalt oval with five degrees banking in the turns. It opened in 1946 with a dirt racing surface and was paved in 1970. It hosted 29 Sprint Cup Series races from 1951-71. It also hosted two NASCAR XFINITY Series, four NASCAR Convertible Series and two NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events.
KEVIN WHITAKER CHEVROLET 150 NOTES:
New Faces Headed to Greenville: Only eight drivers from last year’s Kevin Whitaker 150 will be headed to the historic South Carolina oval this weekend. Veterans Dillon Bassett, Ronnie Bassett Jr., Kyle Benjamin, Collin Cabre, Christian Celaya, Kaz Grala, Justin Haley and John Holleman IV are the sole 2015 competitors returning. Grala is the returning as the highest finisher as he came home sixth at Greenville last year. Of the expected 14 first-time Greenville competitors, 11 of them are rookies vying for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
First-Time Winner to be Crowned: There will be a new winner at Greenville Pickens on Saturday as no previous race victors are scheduled to compete this weekend. Recent winners Dylan Kwasniewski (2013), Ben Rhodes (2014), Austin Hill (2014) and William Byron (2015) have all moved on to compete in the national series. NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. won two K&N East races at Greenville in 2010 and 2012 and is the only driver to record two wins at the half-mile oval.
Continuous Rookie Success at Greenville: Since the series’ inaugural visit to Greenville in 2006, rookies have had much success at the track. Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ben Rhodes, Austin Hill and William Byron all earned victories as rookies at Greenville. With 11 rookies set to take the track on Saturday, history has a chance to live on.
Theriault Announces Full-Time Plans: Last week Austin Theriault announced his plans of racing full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this season. Theriault will pilot the No. 1 Don Valley Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises in the hopes of taking home the coveted championship title. The 22 year-old Fort Kent, Maine, driver is ranked ninth in the standings after finishing 24th at New Smyrna and fourth at Mobile. This will be his first series start at Greenville.
Benjamin’s Home Track Advantage: Kyle Benjamin will be racing close to home this weekend. The Easley, South Carolina, native will be making his second series’ start at Greenville on Saturday. Last year, the 18 year-old finished 12th at Greenville.
HOME TRACKS: Tight Competition Highlights Local Divisions:
Two of Greenville Pickens’ NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will hit the track after the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victor has been crowned. The track’s Four-Cylinder and Renegade divisions are in the midst of a battle for the top spot. Chad Redding has a six point lead over Don Tavernia in the Four-Cylinder standings while Bobby Emory leads Parker Jameson by only four points in the Renegade division.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release
-Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images