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May 19, 2014 - 05:15 PM
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Turner Scott Motorsports NKNPSE Casey's 150 Post Race Report
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2014 - 05:13 PM
NASCAR News
Turner Scott Motorsports NKNPSE Casey's 150 Post Race Report


Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) came into the sixth race of the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season looking to capitalize upon its drivers' previous experience at Iowa Speedway. Coming into the race, four of the five TSM drivers competing had previous starts at Iowa, which would prove to be a game changer for the organization. Saturday got off to a great start for TSM as all five drivers qualified inside the top seven for the evening's race, building early momentum heading into the Casey's 150. The night would turn out to be successful for most, especially Ben Rhodes, who captured his second-career victory in the NKNPSE. Scott Heckert and Brandon Jones were able to challenge for the lead and bring home top-five finishes, capping off solid runs for both drivers, while Cameron Hayley and Kaz Grala suffered damage in the race, hurting their overall results.

 

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Ben Rhodes:
Rhodes began the Casey's 150 in the second position, highlighting yet another strong qualifying performance for the 17-year-old. When the race began, Rhodes quickly settled into the second spot, biding his time as he continued to creep towards the race leader. The patience paid off for Rhodes as he took the race lead on lap 36 and didn't look back, leading the final 115 laps of the race. The midway point of the race tested the mettle of the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team as they were forced to repair slight right-front damage to Rhodes' machine. Rhodes held strong following the break, holding off challenges from TSM teammates Heckert and Hayley to capture his second-career NKNPSE victory. The win marked his second of the season and gave Rhodes his fifth top-five finish in the first six races of 2014. The NASCAR Next driver also extended his NKNPSE Driver Point Standings championship lead to 38 points over TSM teammate Hayley.

Ben Rhodes on his second-career victory:
"What a great weekend for my Alpha Energy Solutions team. At the beginning of the race, I was unsure of our chances to win due to the speed the No. 43 showed, but the track began to change in my favor, and allowed me to grab the lead halfway through the first segment. I actually hit some debris towards the end of the first segment, and it caused the tire to slowly start going down. Luckily, we held the lead and made it to halfway to get new tires on the No. 41 Chevy. The combination of the track changing and the awesome changes made by my crew gave me exactly what I wanted and allowed me to save my tires as the laps clicked off. When it came down to 30 laps remaining, I knew it was time to go and the car stayed strong enough to allow us to get to victory lane. I can't thank my entire No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions team enough, along with all of Turner Scott Motorsports, for helping us capture our second victory of 2014."

Scott Heckert:
Heckert started the Casey's 150 in the third position following a strong qualifying effort by the No. 34 TSM team. Heckert showed early on in the event that his Chevrolet had speed, as he remained inside the top five for the majority of the race. Early in the race, Heckert settled in to the third position, looking to save his tires and challenge for his first-career NKNPSE victory. Heckert remained in third until lap 50 when he fell one position to fourth. The 20-year-old continued to fight and, with some adjustments at the halfway break, was able to work his way up to second. By lap 80, Heckert was challenging the eventual race winner Rhodes for the lead. Heckert continued to gain on Rhodes and looked as though he may have a race-winning car as the laps wound down. By lap 130, however, the 20-year-old's lap times began to fall off. In the closing laps, Heckert fell one position to third, where he would ultimately finish. The finish was a career-best for Heckert and moved him to 15th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

Scott Heckert on his career-best finish:
"I'm really proud of the entire team. They're the hardest-working guys in the garage and it's showing. We've had the speed, but it's great to finally put a really solid run together. I'm looking forward to getting to Bowman Gray in a few weeks, and I hope we can keep moving forward with positive results."

Brandon Jones:
Jones came into the Casey's 150 with quite a bit of experience at Iowa Speedway compared to other venues on the NKNPSE schedule. The 17-year-old used this to his advantage as he quickly settled into the top 10 from his seventh-place starting position. Jones showed great patience as he methodically moved his way through the field, climbing to the sixth position by lap 10. Jones held strong in sixth, biding his time as the laps wound down in the event. By the halfway point of the race, Jones was running inside the top five and wouldn't look back from there. The 17-year-old continued to click off positions and worked his way into the third position by lap 80. Jones looked as though he had a car capable of challenging for the victory, but he started to fade some in the closing laps. Jones stayed inside the top five however, bringing home a fifth-place result. The finish marked Jones' second top five and fourth top 10 in 2014, moving him up to seventh in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.

Brandon Jones on his top-five finish at Iowa:
"What a great weekend for the entire Turner Scott Motorsports organization. I'm really glad we were able to not only qualify well, but also run up towards the front with our No. 33 Wolfpack Energy Services Chevrolet. Shane [Huffman] and the guys gave me a great racecar, and if we could've gotten a little better track position towards the end, I think we could've made a run at the win. Either way, this is a great points day, and I'm looking forward to heading to Bowman Gray."

Cameron Hayley:
Hayley entered the Casey's 150 with a successful past at Iowa Speedway. The 17-year-old began the race in the fifth position, looking to bring home his first-career NKNPSE victory. Hayley settled into the fifth position in the early portion of the race, and by lap 65, had worked his way up to third. Hayley remained in third at the halfway point of the race and looked as though he had a car that could challenge TSM teammate Rhodes. When the race resumed, Hayley climbed into the second position, however, he would slightly slip in the running order, falling into a battle for position. While looking to regain some positions on the track, Hayley made contact with another competitor, sending his No. 98 around and inflicting heavy damage to the left side of his Chevrolet. The 17-year-old was able to continue on without losing a lap, and after repairs by his crew, he was able to rejoin the race. With a damaged car, Hayley restarted the race in the 21st position, looking to climb back towards the top 15. As the laps wound down, Hayley would click past several competitors, finally resulting in a 14th-place finish overall, and 12th in the NKNPSE. The finish moved Hayley up one position in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings to second, 38 points behind his TSM teammate.

Cameron Hayley on his race at Iowa Speedway:
"This was a pretty tough weekend. We struggled in practice, but the car raced better than expected and held strong in second at the halfway break. We thought that we could make some really good changes to help the car, but we never got to fully test the changes following my rookie mistake. I put the car in a bad position and ended up with a wrecked racecar and a 14th-place finish. I can't thank the entire No. 98 Cabinets by Hayley team enough for all of their hard work. We'll be ready for Bowman Gray."

Kaz Grala:
Grala came to Iowa Speedway as the only TSM driver without previous experience on the track. The inexperience wouldn't prove to be a hindrance to Grala in qualifying, as he began the race in the sixth position. Early on, Grala settled into the top 10, slightly falling back to eighth by lap 30. Unfortunately, Grala's solid night ended early, as a cut right-front tire sent his No. 31 into the outside wall, causing extensive damage and forcing the 15-year-old to retire from the race. Grala would ultimately be scored in the 36th position overall, and 22nd in the NKNPSE at the conclusion of the event. The result moved the 15-year-old to 10th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings heading into Bowman Gray.

Kaz Grala on his night getting cut short at Iowa:
"The Casey's 150 at Iowa Speedway was definitely my favorite weekend so far in the K&N Pro Series East. We have continued to make gains with the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet and I've gained a ton of experience, personally, racing with this group of drivers. We qualified sixth, tying our best qualifying effort this season. In the race, we were off to a fast start, nearly breaking into the top five before a right-front tire began going down. The leak was so slow that I didn't even have a chance to notice it before the tire blew out. The incident caused substantial damage that ended the night early for our Turner Scott Motorsports team. I can't thank my entire team enough for giving me a fast racecar, one that I know could have contended for the race win."


The NKNPSE returns to the track on May 31 at Bowman Gray Stadium for the seventh race of the 2014 season.

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