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Feb 18, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Gray Gaulding Kicks Season Off With Top-10 Finish In Season Opener
Posted by: newsla on Feb 18, 2014 - 06:23 AM
NASCAR News
Gray Gaulding Kicks Season Off With Top-10 Finish In Season Opener


Gray Gaulding and the #20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet Impala team kicked the season off with a solid top-10 run in the New Smyrna 150 at New Smyrna Speedway. This marks the start of Gaulding's second season in the highly competitive NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

 

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The weekend started with a four hour test session that left Gaulding and crew chief Ryan McKinney with high hopes for the weekend's events. "We turned some fast laps and set a good race pace,"said McKinney following Saturday's test session.

Gaulding started Sunday off by posting the second quickest time in the opening 60 minute practice session with a time of 18.470 after turning only 15 laps. After only turning six laps in final practice, Gaulding still posted the fifth quickest time.

With 30 cars set to take time, Gaulding would be the 24th car to do so and with a time of 18.622 would post the 8th quickest time. "Was just a little too tight for the track conditions,"said Gaulding following his qualifying effort.

When the green flag dropped at New Smyrna Speedway, Gaulding immediately went to work making the upper groove work moving into second place by lap 5 and taking the lead at lap 9. Gaulding would hold the led for a few laps until the 33 worked his way to Gaulding. "He was going really hard and I was in conserving mode, it's a long race and you need all the grip you can have late in the race,"said Gaulding. Gaulding would continue to run second when the first caution flag of the evening flew at lap 30.

On the lap 36 restart the leader chose the top leaving the bottom for Gaulding. When the green flag came back out, Gaulding slid back to third where he continued to run saving his tires for the second half of the race. The second caution flag of the evening flew at lap 67 for a wreck off turn 4. The caution period would ride out threw the halfway break. Gaulding reported his car to be a tick tight on exit. CC Ryan McKinney had a game plan set for adjustments during the break period.

When the green flag flew at lap 76, Gaulding would restart in 3rd. The leader didn't get going and the top lane moved forward, Gaulding was able to move up behind the 96 for 6th. Gaulding would continue to run 6th for the next eight laps before sliding back to 7th place. The third caution flag of the evening flew at lap 136, with Gaulding holding on to 7th. "Front tires are sliding, no forward drive,"was the report from Gaulding as the field paced under caution. McKinney worked with Gaulding on adjustments to try, but Gaulding held onto 7th through the final 8 laps.

Gray Gaulding's Post-Race Thoughts:
"We started off really strong. I was conserving my tires before the green flag ever flew. I wanted to be up there contending for the lead, but it was a solid points night, car was just too tight all night, we will get that fixed and go after it Tuesday night at Daytona."

Ryan McKinney's Post-Race Thoughts:
"I am proud of Gray and all the guys on this #20 Krispy Kreme team. It was our first race working together and we learn more about each other on every run. Gray drove an awesome race, saved his equipment but just didn't have the track position on our side, got held on the bottom and the car was just to0 tight to move back forward. I enjoyed racing at New Smyrna, I hope to see the K&N Series back there in 2015."

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