DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points leader William Byron is starting to feel the pressure from his HScott teammate Scott Heckert. After his win at New York’s Watkins Glen International, Heckert is only 14 points behind the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender.
This could be the 17-year-old’s weekend to drive away from the field and solidify his lead in the standings.
The UPMC Health Plan 150 is the K&N East’s inaugural race at Pennsylvania’s Motordrome Speedway. The .4-mile semi-banked oval is similar, but not identical, to Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway and North Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway.
The Charlotte, N.C., rookie earned his first K&N Pro Series East win at Greenville Pickens in April after leading all 152 laps.
Don’t count out the rest of the competition who are desperate to close the gap in the standings. Austin Hill, currently third, has proven he can succeed on a similar track in February when he won the season kick-off at New Smyrna and finished fourth at Greenville in April.
Byron’s fellow rookie and HScott teammate, Dalton Sargeant, has also proven he has what it takes to be competitive on this style track. He finished second and third at New Smyrna and Greenville, respectively.
Race: UPMC Health Plan 150
Place: Pennsylvania’s Motordrome Speedway
Time: 9 p.m.
Broadcast: NBCSN, Thursday, August 20, 7 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .4-mile semi-banked oval
2014 Winner: Event not held.
2014 Pole Winner: Event not held.
Event Schedule: Garage opens: 9:30 p.m.; Practice: 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Final Practice: 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Qualifying: 4:30 p.m.; Driver Autograph Session: 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Driver Introductions: 8:45 p.m.; UPMC Health Plan 150: 9 p.m.
Event Hashtag: #UPMC150
The Race: The UPMC Health Plan 150 will be the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Motordrome. It’s the 11th of 14 races on the 2015 schedule.
The Procedure: The starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals. The first 22 cars will have secured starting positions through qualifying and the remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (75 miles).
The Track: Motordrome became NASCAR sanctioned in 1990 with Charlie Cragan, Steve Peles, Glen Gault, Jeff Dunmyer and Richard Mitchell all winning NASCAR Northeast Regions championships. It opened as a half-mile track in 1972 and was paved in 1989.
MOTORDROME RACE NOTES:
Haley Kicking It Into Gear: Rookie JJ Haley has found his groove in the K&N Pro Series East. After a tough outing at Virginia’s Langley Speedway, the 15-year-old has rebounded to earn top-10 finishes the last four races. In his last two starts, at Iowa Speedway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, he has finished fourth and third, respectively.
Cornett-Ching Making Fourth Series Start: Sarah Cornett-Ching is making her second consecutive and fourth overall start in the K&N East. The 24-year-old’s best finish was 20th in her series debut at Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway.
NASCAR Next Update: The NASCAR Next member’s competing in the K&N Pro Series East are proving they have what it takes to succeed in the sport. The five members competing in the series full-time are all in the top-10 of the championship standings. Byron continues to lead with 399 points, followed by Hill in third with 367. Sargeant, Kyle Benjamin and Rico Abreu are fourth, fifth and sixth, respectfully. Jesse Little, who is competing in the series part-time this season, is ranked 19th with only five starts.
Home Tracks: Wiltrout Aiming For Third Championship
Motordrome’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions consist of Late Model, Modified, Street Stock, Charger and Super Compacts. The track will run their qualifying heat races Friday night, with features on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday’s races will be worth double-points toward the track championships. Two-time champion Garry Wiltrout has already picked up eight wins in his quest for a third Division I title at Motordrome. “I’ve never had a car that’s so much fun to drive,” Wiltrout told fans in Victory Lane after his win on August 2. Wiltrout holds a 36-point lead over Bobby Henry. Adam Kostelnik (Modified), Scott Aiello (Fox’s Pizza Street Stock), Stephen Shelpman (Charger) and Aaron Van Fleet (Subway Super Compact) lead the other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Divisions.
-NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications Press Release
-Photo credit: Speed51.com