HAMPTON, Va. – Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) was able to build upon their outstanding race from one week ago at Five Flags Speedway as the organization not only captured their fifth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) win of 2014, but also had all five TSM drivers inside the top six at Langley Speedway. Ben Rhodes led the charge, winning his fourth race in a row, and fifth overall in 2014. With Cameron Hayley, Scott Heckert, Kaz Grala and Brandon Jones all finishing second, fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in the Visit Hampton VA 175. Heckert got the night rolling for TSM, as he won the 21 Means 21 Pole award, which marked his first-career pole in the NKNPSE and sixth of the season for TSM.
Rhodes entered the Langley Speedway on quite an unprecedented roll. Rhodes, winner of the previous three NKNPSE races, was looking to make it four as he began the race in the second position. As the race started, Rhodes settled into the second position, looking to bide his time until he could make a clean pass around polesitter Heckert. The pass happened on Lap 14, following the first caution of the 175-lap event, as Rhodes utilized the outside lane to get around Heckert and overtake the race lead. The NASCAR Next driver wouldn’t look back from there, as he went on to lead the remaining 162 laps in the Visit Hampton VA 175. He was able to fight off some late-race charges from fellow TSM teammate Cameron Hayley en route to winning his fourth-straight race in the NKNPSE. It was the 17-year-old’s fifth-career win in the NKNPSE in just his 16th start. Rhodes leaves Langley Speedway as the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings leader with a 72-point advantage over TSM teammate Hayley.
Ben Rhodes on his Fifth-Career NKNPSE Victory:
“Winning four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races is really special, and is a feat that can only be accomplished with a great team. My No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team worked harder than anybody in practice to get our Turner Scott Motorsports Chevy where it needed to be. The combination of hard work and tire management allowed us to make it back to victory lane tonight at Langley Speedway”
Hayley came into this weekend’s race at Langley Speedway beginning to build some momentum of his own. A week ago, the 17-year-old brought home a third-place finish after leading 20 laps at Five Flags Speedway. This weekend, Hayley began the race in the fourth-position and looked to bring home another solid result. As the race began, Hayley quickly settled into the top five and wouldn’t fall out of it for the remainder of the race. Hayley remained in the fifth position until Lap 107, as the 17-year-old was able to work his way up to the second position, getting around two competitors. Hayley set his sights on race leader and TSM teammate Rhodes, as the 17-year-old looked to challenge for his first-career NKNPSE victory. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as Hayley would ultimately bring home a runner-up finish at Langley Speedway. It marked the fourth top five and fifth top 10 for Hayley in 2014. Hayley moved up one position to second in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings, 72 points behind leader Rhodes.
Cameron Hayley on his Runner-Up Finish:
“Finally some momentum back for the No. 98 team. We struggled a lot throughout the early part of the season and we are finally starting to hit our stride. Can’t thank Cabinets by Hayley, Curb Records and all my guys at Turner Scott Motorsports for all they did for me this weekend. I’m looking forward to New Hampshire in a few weeks.”
Heckert put together quite the weekend at Langley Speedway. The night got started in the right way as the 20-year-old captured his first-career 21 Means 21 Pole award in the NKNPSE, while also setting the new track record for the series at Langley Speedway. When the race began, Heckert wasted little time pulling out to a lead, and the Connecticut native was able to hold the top spot for the race’s opening 13 laps before losing the lead to TSM teammate Rhodes. Heckert held strong in the second position as the 20-year-old saved his tires, looking to make a run in the race’s closing laps. It wasn’t until the race’s final 75 laps that Heckert would fall from the second position. As the laps continued to wind down, Heckert fell to the fourth position, where he would ultimately finish. The fourth-place finish marked the second top five for the No. 34 team in 2014 and third top 10. Heckert currently sits 13th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings heading into New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a few weeks.
Scott Heckert on his run at Langley Speedway:
“Today was awesome; first pole, track record and we led some laps. Big thanks to the entire Turner Scott Motorsports shop on their hard work getting this car back together after the damage we suffered a week ago at Five Flags Speedway. It means a lot to get a good result for them after all the late hours they spent working on this thing. Hopefully we can build on this and get to victory lane soon.”
Grala came into this weekend’s race at Langley Speedway looking to rebound from a couple tough finishes throughout the last few races. The night didn’t quite get off to the start Grala was hoping for, as the youngest driver in the field qualified 18th. This wouldn’t stop the 15-year-old, however, as he methodically worked his way through the field throughout the remainder of the race. By Lap 55, Grala was into 15th and looking for more as the laps continued to wind down. By Lap 100, Grala was inside the top 10 and looked poised for a solid finish. Grala would get more than that, however, as a late caution on lap 165 would bunch the field back up with Grala running in the eighth position. When the race resumed, Grala was able to pick off some of the competitors in front of him in the race’s closing laps. Ultimately, Grala was able to work his No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet up to a fifth-place finish. The top five was a career-best finish for Grala and marked his first top five and fourth top 10 in 2014. The 15-year-old now sits 10th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings heading into his home-track race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a couple weeks.
Kaz Grala on his career-best finish at Langley Speedway:
“I didn’t qualify as well as I wanted to, but since the race was 175 laps, I was ready to battle my way to the front. When the green dropped, I immediately began working my way around people, slowly but surely. I conserved tires heavily on a late-race long run and began charging towards the front with about 30 to go. With five laps to go, I was in the eighth position for a restart. I fought my way past three more cars on the outside with a photo finish for fifth place. The No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet ended up in the top five by inches, becoming my best career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East finish.”
Jones came in to the Visit Hampton VA 175 looking to build off his career-best finish in the NKNPSE one week earlier. The night didn’t get off to the best start for Jones, however, as the No. 33 qualified in the 16th position. The start would prove to be somewhat of a setback for the Georgia native, as Jones got caught up in an incident on lap seven. Jones suffered some damage, but the No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services team went to work repairing the damage and keeping their Chevrolet on the lead lap. When the race resumed, Jones was running in the 19th position. By lap 55, Jones showed that his car, even with slight damage, could work through the field as the 17-year-old had moved up to the 14th position. By lap 93, Jones was up into the top 10 and looking for even more. By lap 145, Jones looked poised for yet another top-five finish, as the 17-year-old had worked his way up to the sixth position. A late-race restart wouldn’t thwart Jones, as he was able to bring home a solid sixth-place finish, nearly grabbing fifth from teammate Grala at the line. The top 10 was Jones’ seventh in 2014, the second most in the NKNPSE behind teammate Rhodes. Jones leaves the Visit Hampton VA 175 still fourth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings, 78 points out of the championship lead.
Brandon Jones on his run at Langley Speedway:
“Another great night for my Turner Scott Motorsports team. The whole No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services team worked hard all day to get this car great in race trim. While we didn’t qualify necessarily where we wanted to, I still thought we’d have a fast racecar during the race. Luckily, when we received some damage early in the race, we were able to continue on without losing a lap and fight our way back for another top-10 finish. This whole team is working so hard and I’m looking forward to another great run at New Hampshire in a couple weeks.”