Tha Sports Junkies 101

Kaz Grala Wins NextEra Energy 250


Kaz Grala started from the pole, and played his cards right all night to win Friday’s NextEra Energy 250 At Daytona. This came after a big wreck on the final lap eliminated most of the contenders. This was the 18 year old’s first career NASCAR national Series win. Austin Wayne Self finished second, followed by Chase Briscoe, John Hunter and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top 5.

As noted above, Grala earned his first career pole just hours earlier and led the field to green. On lap two however, the first big wreck of the night happened. Big series names like Austin Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek, and Cody Coughlin were involved. At least 16 were involved and it was the first major test for the new 5 min repair clock.

At the end of the first segment, Spencer Gallagher sent Brett Moffitt spinning and later collected Christopher Bell. Moffitt’s team attempted to make repairs, but it was not within the clock. Bell would later be involved in another accident. He and the 5 truck of Korbin Forrister crashed on lap 71. Korbin’s night was done after that wreck, while Bell marched on again.

Defending winner Johnny Sauter meanwhile, won the first two stages of three that make up the new race format in the Truck Series. The segments were divided by 20, 20, and 60 for Daytona. It looked like a back-to-back victories at Daytona was possible. But, that all changed when John Hunter Nemechek spun to set up a 2 lap duel to the finish.

Matt Crafton surged in front of Sauter on the final restart and they were battling for the lead when the biggest wreck of the night occurred. Crafton’s truck went airborne and the big one started behind him on the back stretch. The wreck resulted in several big contenders crashing out. Somehow, Grala from 5th place made it through to win his first career race.

“There wasn’t any way I was going to lift.” Kaz Grala said after the race on FS1. “I was just going to go low and cross my fingers and close my eyes a little bit. Luckily, it worked out for me.” This was his first race on a mile-half or bigger since turning 18 in the offseason, which is a NASCAR requirement.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series goes to Atlanta next weekend for the Active Pest Control 200.