DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Victory Lane and the top-spot in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be wide open at Alabama’s Mobile International Speedway this weekend.
With New Smyrna (Florida) Speedway victor and current points leader, Todd Gilliland, not making the trip to the half-mile oval, first place will be up for grabs. Three drivers are looking to capitalize on their New Smyrna success and assert themselves as championship contenders.
Spencer Davis heads into Mobile the defacto leader in the series standings. The rookie is overcoming a destroyed car after getting into an accident during the extra lap at New Smyrna. Despite those unfortunate circumstances, the 17-year-old Dawsonville, Georgia, native persevered and finished runner-up.
Ronnie Bassett Jr. will also look to capitalize on his strong run at the opener. The 20-year-old Winston Salem, North Carolina, driver crossed the finish line first after contact with race leaders Davis and Gilliland. However, per the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rule Book, the official finish of the race reverted back to the completion of Lap 150, the advertised distance of the event and Bassett officially finished third.
Kyle Benjamin will also be in the hunt. The 18-year-old Easley, South Carolina, racer is coming off at fourth place finish at New Smyrna. Out of the three, he has an advantage having competed at Mobile twice in 2013 and 2014 with ARCA when he recorded second place finishes both times.
With all three having prior experience in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, any one of them could prove to be a threat this weekend.
RACE CENTRAL LIVE: EVENT SCHEDULE & ENTRY LIST
RACE: Mobile 150 presented by the Mobile Sports Authority
PLACE: Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway
DATE: Saturday, March 12
TIME: 2:00 P.M. CST
TV SCHEDULE: NBCSN, Time & Date TBA
TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile paved oval
2015 Winner: None applicable
2015 Pole Sitter: None applicable
EVENT SCHEDULE: Friday, March 11 – Garage opens: 10:30 a.m.; Practice: 2:00-2:45 p.m.; Final Practice: 3:00-3:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 6:00 p.m.; Garage closes: 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 12 – Garage opens: 10:30 a.m.; Driver Meeting: 11:00 a.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 12:00-1:00 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 1:45 p.m.; Mobile 150: 2:00 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @K_NMobile150
EVENT HASHTAG: #Mobile150
The Race: The Mobile 150 is the second race of the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. It is the second of 11 oval track events and 14 races overall on the schedule. This is the series’ inaugural visit to the Alabama oval.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will qualify through two-lap time trials while the remaining four starting spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 150 laps covering 75 miles with a five minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 75.
The Track: Mobile International Speedway opened in 1965 and hosted open-wheel racing from 1966-68 and numerous NASCAR series throughout 1980s, 90s and early 2000s, including the NASCAR Grand American Series, NASCAR All-American Challenge Series, NASCAR All Pro Stock Car Series and NASCAR Southeast Series. The Alabama track also hosted ARCA events since 2012.
MOBILE 150 NOTES:
Three Drivers Looking to Overcome Poor Starts: Dillon Bassett, Austin Theriault and Ruben Garcia Jr. are hoping to put their tough starts to the season behind them in order to rebound and begin their climb to championship contention. Garcia finished 21st while Theriault and Bassett finished 24th and 27th, respectively in the opener at New Smyrna Speedway.
Cornett-Ching Hopes to Have the Upper Hand: Sarah Cornett-Ching hopes her ARCA experience at Mobile International Speedway leads to success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race Saturday. The 25-year-old Summerland, British Columbia, driver competed at the Alabama oval last year in the ARCA Series and finished 14th after starting 11th. Cornett-Ching is one of a handful of K&N East drivers that have previous experience at Mobile.
HScott Aims to Improve: HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks is counting on a better showing at Mobile after finishing fourth (Justin Haley), eighth (Tyler Dippel), 13th (Harrison Burton) and 29th (Hunter Baize) at the season opener. Burton is the only HScott driver with previous experience at Mobile, he won a Southern Super Series race there last year. A championship this season would make it three in a row for Harry Scott Jr. and the second consecutive championship title for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks.
Van Wieringen Coming Off a Successful Debut: Dominique Van Wieringen is coming off a strong NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debut at New Smyrna. The 21-year-old Amherstburg, Ontario, native started third and stayed in the top five throughout the race until Lap 91 when she was overtaken by the Bassett brothers. She managed to keep calm and finished 10th overall in her first K&N East start.
Veteran Cabre Leads Rev Racing: Rev Racing and Drive For Diversity veteran Collin Cabre led his team at New Smyrna. Cabre, who won his first series race at the Dover International Speedway finale last season, finished 11th at the Florida oval. His teammates finished 20th (Ali Kern), 21st (Ruben Garcia Jr.) and 23rd (Jairo Avila Jr.).
Little and Gdovic Making Season Debuts: NASCAR Next member Jesse Little and series veteran Brandon Gdovic will make their season debuts this weekend. Little competed in six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races last season and earned one win, two top fives and two top 10s. In 43 starts, Little has registered two wins, 12 top fives and 20 top 10s. Gdovic made one start last season at VIRginia International Raceway and finished 12th. In 48 series’ starts, he’s earned one win, nine top fives and 21 top 10s.
-NASCAR Home Tracks Press Release, Speed51.com/Bruce Nuttleman Photo