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Feb 18, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Turner Scott Motorsports NKNPSE Preview: Daytona International Speedway
Posted by: newsla on Feb 18, 2014 - 06:21 AM
Turner Scott Motorsports NKNPSE Preview: Daytona International Speedway

A New Tradition...Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) heads just a little north from New Smyrna Speedway to Daytona International Speedway for the second race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season.This is the second time that the NKNPSE will race on the historic speedway, encompassing a small 0.37-mile short track featured on Daytona International Speedway's Superstretch. Unlike last year's event, the 2014 UNOH Battle at the Beach will be a points event for the NKNPSE. TSM will look to build upon the success the team found two nights ago in the season opener at New Smyrna Speedway, where three TSM drivers captured top-five finishes.


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The 2014 NKNPSE season began with TSM rolling out their stable of the five full-time cars of Kaz Grala, Brandon Jones, Scott Heckert, Ben Rhodes and Cameron Hayley at New Smyrna Speedway in the New Smyrna 150. The day began with Hayley capturing the 21 Means 21 pole award in his first start with TSM. Hayley fought with the car in the early portions of the race, dropping back to the 11th position by lap 15. However, with the help of three cautions and the mid-race break, Hayley was able to work his way back to the front. When the final caution of the race flew on lap 137, Hayley was in the second position and laying down lap times as quick as the race leader. When the green flew with eight laps to go in the event, Hayley was battling side-by-side with the first-place car all the way to the checkered flag. He finished in the second position, just 0.083 seconds behind the race leader.

Hayley will look to build upon his strong start to the season as he heads back to Daytona International Speedway and the Battle of the Beach. Hayley won the non-points event a year ago and will look to put his No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevrolet back into victory lane in this year's points race.

Cameron Hayley on the New Smyrna 150 and the Battle at the Beach:
"Wow what a race. Losing by such a slim margin is really tough to take, but we really need to look at the positives of the night. We had the perfect strategy and executed to the letter. We will keep working and you watch for the No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley Chevy Impala to win a lot of races this year. TSM knows how to build racecars and my guys are the best. Tomorrow's Battle at the Beach will be another thriller. I think the series has proved how tough it is already and the race at Daytona will be no different. I know how to win at this place and I'm ready to defend my title."

Teammate Brandon Jones had a career-best day, recording his highest finish in the NKNPSE. Jones started his No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet in the 10th position and quickly worked his way into the top five. By lap 13, Jones was the race leader, and he remained out front for the next 35 circuits before slightly losing the handling of his racecar. While Jones did lose the top spot, he never fell out of the top five for the remainder of the race. When the caution flew at lap 137, Jones was in the fourth position, but the young driver gained one spot in the final eight laps to grab third place in the season-opening race.

Jones looks to build on his fast start as the series heads to Daytona International Speedway on February 18 for the Battle of the Beach.

Brandon Jones on his career-best finish and the Battle at the Beach:
"I think the race at New Smyrna went great. It was a huge confidence builder for the whole team. I feel like the Battle at the Beach is definitely going to be a more aggressive race, but I think we will show the same amount of speed that we did at New Smyrna."

Ben Rhodes came to New Smyrna looking to build upon the part-time schedule he ran in 2013 and challenge for the championship in 2014. The No. 41 Alpha Energy Systems Chevy put together a good qualifying effort, starting in the second position alongside his TSM teammate on the front row. Early on, Rhodes slipped back just a bit as he battled a snug condition in the corners. When the first caution flew on lap 41, he was in eighth place. Following the restart, Rhodes was able to hang tough and remain inside the top 10. Rhodes restarted seventh following the second caution on lap 67, and benefited from the adjustments his No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team made as he worked his way into the top five by lap 94. Rhodes maintained his position as the laps wound down and capped off his night as the highest-finishing rookie with his fourth-place finish.

Rhodes will try to continue his good start to 2014 at Daytona International Speedway under the light's in tomorrow's Battle at the Beach.

Ben Rhodes on the New Smyrna 150:
"I was frustrated after the race. I think we had a car that could win, but our inexperience at this track bit us a bit. Still, Mark and my No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team did an excellent job today and I know we are going to have a great season. We were able to take a situation out of our control and still get a top five out of it and get the Rookie of the Race award."

Ben Rhodes on the Battle at the Beach:
"Last year I raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race of the Battle at the Beach. We started our heat race second and finished first, and ended up starting on the pole and leading a bunch of laps in the feature. We finished second behind Kyle Larson, and it was a great run and start to our year. I am excited to go back to the track this year and see what my Turner Scott Motorsports team can do in the K&N Pro Series East race. Hopefully we can be there at the end and maybe put the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet Impala in victory lane."

NKNPSE Rookie of the Year contender Kaz Grala came into New Smyrna looking to put together a solid race. The No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet began the race in the 21st position, and Grala was able to work his way through the field while gaining valuable experience. When the first caution flew on lap 31, he had worked his way up to 15th. He continued to move forward through the field as the race went on, sitting just outside the top 10 when the final caution flew on lap 137. Grala made some nice moves in the final laps and capped off his first-career start in the series with a 10th-place finish.

Grala will make his second-career start on February 18 at Daytona International Speedway in the Battle at the Beach.

Kaz Grala on the New Smyrna 150 and the Battle at the Beach:
"We didn't qualify as well as I hoped, but we made the most of the race. We battled from 21st all the way into the top-10 through a field of stacked cars. I am hoping to qualify better at the Battle at the Beach and possibly score another good result."

Heckert made his first start with TSM at New Smyrna. The No. 34 team put together a solid qualifying effort and Heckert started the race in the ninth position. He ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the race, logging laps and waiting to work his way through the field. By the second caution of the night on lap 67, Heckert was in the 10th position. He used the restart to grab another spot and by lap 96, the No. 34 machine was one of the fastest cars on the track. Heckert moved into eighth following the restart on lap 142, and looked poised to move into the top five when contact with another competitor pushed Heckert into the wall, causing heavy damage to his left front. He was forced to ride around for the final few laps, ultimately relegating him to a 21st finishing position.

Heckert heads to Daytona International Speedway for the Battle at the Beach with the rest of his TSM teammates. He will look to build upon what was a solid run and recover from the misfortune at the end of the New Smyrna 150.

Scott Heckert on the New Smyrna 150:
"Our car was great last night and it's some of the most fun I've had in a racecar. Despite the unfortunate finish, it was nice to run up front for most of the race and I know we will be there all year."

Scott Heckert on the Battle at the Beach:
"I'm excited we get to race at Daytona. Daytona International Speedway is such an iconic place in racing history, and I know our team has what it takes for a good run in the Battle at the Beach.

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