Myrtle Beach, S.C.– Kevin Zielezinski ended the season with his best performance of the year last Saturday when he competed in the Myrtle Beach 250 at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Zielezinski, driving in the Southeast Limited Late Models Series for Lee Faulk Racing and Development, qualified fourth quickest for the 50-lap challenger race before he finished sixth. In the 100-lap finale he qualified eighth quickest out of nearly 40 cars and he placed seventh in the race.
“My main goal for the 50-lap challenger race was to learn as much as I could about how the tires fall off, how the track changes throughout a run, how to pass other cars and to keep the car clean for the 100-lap Pro race later in the day,” he said. “I feel like I accomplished all of those goals during the 50 lapper. We had some bad luck with the tires we were given and a late-race restart that shuffled us back to sixth, but we ran up in the top three almost the entire race. Sixth wasn’t what I was hoping for with how well we ran during the race, but I wanted to save the car for the 100-lap race.”
Zielezinski leaned on the experience of Lee Faulk Racing and Development owners Lee and Michael Faulk for the 100-lap feature event.
“Before the race I had a good discussion with Lee, Michael and (crew chief) Nick Hughes about how important it was to race the track and save your tires throughout the race,” he said. “Lee told me to not get discouraged if I fall back to 20th because if I am there at the end I will most likely have a shot at a good finish. That was my game plan from the drop of the green flag.”
Zielezinski faded early in the feature while trying to conserve his tires.
“I was able to avoid a few crashes in front of me and around halfway start working my way back through the field,” he said. “With a restart with six laps to go I found myself back up to ninth. I was able to pass two more cars and finish the race in seventh.
“It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a race car. To be able to stick to my strategy and have it work in the end feels amazing. I was smiling from ear to ear after taking the checkered flag.”
Zielezinski credited the Lee Faulk Racing and Development team for keeping him focused all weekend.
“I couldn’t have done it without the help and guidance from the entire Lee Faulk team,” he said. “My crew chief and spotter, Nick, did an incredible job the entire race helping me manage my pace and keeping me out of trouble. Lee also gave me excellent direction on how to adjust my driving style to get the most out of the car that I could. It feels great to leave with two solid top-10 finishes with such great competition.”
Reflecting on his first season with Lee Faulk Racing and Development, Zielezinski said the learning experience has him excited for the future.
“We had some bad luck in the previous race weekends, but the car Lee Faulk’s team prepared for me each of those races had a lot of speed,” he said. “This weekend was not any different. We unloaded off the trailer in the ballpark of the top 10 guys and made very minor changes all weekend. We never put on sticker tires throughout practice so it was hard to gauge exactly where we were when others made mock qualifying runs.
“I want to thank Lee Faulk Racing and Tonya McCallister at MPM Marketing for this amazing opportunity along with my amazing wife, Katie, and my parents for their never-ending love and support through this journey. I also can’t thank LasikPlus and Engineering for Kids enough for their support this season. Without great partners none of this would be possible.
“Also, I want to send my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jackie Ward. He will be missed greatly and it was a sad day for the racing community.”
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