DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Scott Heckert is looking to add another road course win to his resume this weekend at the Bully Hill Vineyards 125 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
The 21-year-old from Ridgefield, Connecticut, has earned three NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wins and two of them are at road courses, Virginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
Heckert picked up his first career victory at the 2.454-mile track last season after a dramatic conclusion to the race. He passed leader Andrew Ranger and second-place Cole Custer on the restart of a green-white-checkered finish attempt.
This season, Heckert has tallied one win, six top five and seven top 10 finishes and is ranked second in the series’ point standings.
Earning back-to-back wins at WGI won’t be easy. Kaz Grala and Jesse Little, who were fourth and fifth at Watkins Glen last year, are both scheduled to compete in this year’s Bully Hill Vineyards 125. Custer is also back and looking for redemption after a wreck late in the race caused him to finish 16th last year.
Four rookie drivers are also looking to notch a win at the Glen. Dalton Sargeant, J.J. Haley, William Byron and Noah Gragson proved they have what it takes to contend at road courses at their first road course starts in June at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Dalton Sargeant led 64 of 68 laps before being passed by NASCAR K&N Pro Series West veteran David Mayhew on a restart late in the race. Haley finished third, Byron finished fifth and Gragson finished seventh.
Race: Bully Hill Vineyards 124
Place: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International
Date: Friday, August 7
Time: 6:15 p.m.
Broadcast: NBCSN, Thursday, August 13, 2:30 p.m.
Track Layout: 2.454-mile road course
2014 Winner: Scott Heckert
2014 Pole Winner: Brodie Kostecki
Event Schedule: Garage opens: 7 a.m.; Rookie Driver/Spotter Meeting: 7:30 a.m.; Practice: 8:30-9:30 a.m.; Final Practice: 10-11 a.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 1-1:45 p.m.; Qualifying: 2:40 p.m.; Driver/Crew Chief Meeting: 4:30 p.m.; Bully Hill Vineyards 125: 6:15 p.m.
Track Twitter: @WGI
Event Hashtag: #BullyHill125
The Race: The Bully Hill Vineyards 125 will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s 16th visit to the track since 1993 and the second trip since 2009. It is the 10th of 14 events on the 2015 schedule and the first of two road course races on the calendar.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 32 cars, including provisionals. The first 28 cars will have secured starting positions through NASCAR Road Course style group qualifying and the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 51 laps (125.124 miles) with a five minute break at or near the conclusion of Lap 25.
The Track: Watkins Glen International was established on the streets of Watkins Glen, New York, in 1948 when law student Cameron Argetsinger dreamed of bringing European style competition to the village where he spent his summer vacations. He drew up a challenging course that encompassed asphalt, cement and dirt roads in and around the village of Watkins Glen. It has hosted a total of 16 K&N Pro Series East events since 1993 and its current short course configuration is 2.454-miles
The Records: The qualifying record was set last season by Brodie Kostecki at 121.039 mph (72.869 seconds). The Bully Hill Vineyards 125 will be the second time the event will span 51 laps.
WATKINS GLEN RACE NOTES:
Notable U.S. Debuts: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2014 Rookie of the Year Eddie Cheever III and Quebec native Marc-Antoine Camirand will attempt to make their K&N Pro Series East debut on Friday at The Glen. Cheever III, who is currently second in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series standings with a win, four top five and eight top 10 finishes, will drive the No. 99 Bill McAnally Racing Toyota Camry in his U.S. debut. A leading candidate for Jostens Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, Camirand has posted six top 10s in eight events this year and ranks sixth in the championship standings. Camirand is entered in the No. 53 Ford owned by Robert Torriere, which fellow Quebec driver Andrew Ranger piloted to three K&N Pro Series victories from 2010-13, all on road courses.
Gragson and Lupton To Make East Debuts: Noah Gragson and Dylan Lupton will both be making their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debuts after having great success in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Gragson, 17, leads the K&N West standings with 315 points. The rookie has earned one win, five top five and seven top 10 finishes in his eight series starts. Lupton, 21, was the runner-up finisher in 2014 in the K&N West. He earned one win, nine top fives and 14 top 10s. He has competed in five NASCAR XFINITY Series races this year and is coming off his best finish, 17th, at Iowa Speedway.
Chevrolet Dominating The Competition: Chevrolet enjoyed the most success at the New York road course, with nine of 15 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events at Watkins Glen won by Chevrolets. Fords have earned four victories and Toyota and Pontiac have each tallied one win.
K&N Points Battle Update: Rookie William Byron still holds a commanding lead over his competition in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings. The 17-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., has racked up 362 points with four wins, five top fives and six top 10s. His HScott Motorsports teammates Scott Heckert and Dalton Sargeant are second and fifth, respectively (337-320). K&N East veteran Austin Hill is third with 329 points and fellow rookie Kyle Benjamin is fourth with 322 points. Rico Abreu, Kaz Grala, Nick Drake, J.J. Haley and Gray Gaulding round out the top 10.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com