Kaz Grala

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Kaz Grala
Kaz Grala at Pocono Raceway.jpg
Grala at Pocono Raceway in 2018
BornKaz Edward Grala
(1998-12-29) December 29, 1998 (age 22)
Boston, Massachusetts
AchievementsYoungest driver to make the NASCAR playoffs (18)
Youngest NASCAR race winner at Daytona International Speedway (18)
Youngest NASCAR pole winner at Daytona International Speedway (18)
Youngest driver to compete in an IMSA race (15)
Youngest race winner in UARA-Stars (14)
NASCAR Cup Series career
1 race run over 1 year
Car no., teamNo. 16 (Kaulig Racing)
2020 position40th
Best finish40th (2020)
First race2020 Go Bowling 235 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 0
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
32 races run over 3 years
2020 position33rd
Best finish22nd (2018)
First race2018 PowerShares QQQ 300 (Daytona)
Last race2020 Drive for the Cure 250 (Charlotte Roval)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 9 0
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
33 races run over 3 years
2020 position84th
Best finish7th (2017)
First race2016 Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (Martinsville)
Last race2020 Chevrolet Silverado 250 (Talladega)
First win2017 NextEra Energy Resources 250 (Daytona)
Wins Top tens Poles
1 15 1
NASCAR Pinty's Series career
2 races run over 1 year
2016 position41st
Best finish41st (2016)
First race2016 Clarington 200 (Mosport)
Last race2016 Can-Am 200 (Mosport)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of November 9, 2020.

Kaz Edward Grala (/ˈɡrɔːlə/ GRAW-lə;[1] born December 29, 1998) is an American professional stock car racing driver from Boston. He is the youngest NASCAR winner in the history of Daytona International Speedway and the youngest person to ever compete in an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) event. Grala competes part-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 16 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Kaulig Racing.

Racing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Grala started racing go-karts at F1 Boston in Braintree, Massachusetts when he was four years old. When he was ten,[2] he began racing Bandoleros, winning the Summer Shootout Championship in 2011. That same year, he won the New York Legendstock and the Massachusetts Bandolero Outlaws state championships.[1] In 2012, Grala won 15 races and the Winter Heat Championship at Charlotte Motor Speedway[3] in the Legend Car Pro Division.

Stock car racing[edit]

Grala's No. 51 late model for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2014
Grala's No. 33 truck for GMS Racing at Martinsville in 2016

In 2013, Grala made his late model debut in UARA-STARS, becoming the youngest winner in series history at Hickory Motor Speedway, followed by setting the record as the youngest driver to lead laps in the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway where he finished second to Lee Pulliam. That same year, he was named by Speed 51 as the 2013 JEGS Rookie of the Year. [4] The following year, he joined Turner Scott Motorsports to compete full-time in the K&N Pro Series East as the youngest driver in the series.[5] During that year, he competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and won at Caraway Speedway[6] and Martinsville Speedway. The next season, he joined Ben Kennedy Racing to race full-time in the K&N Pro Series East once again.[7]

Truck Series[edit]

In 2016, Grala made his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series debut at Martinsville for GMS Racing, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet.[8] Grala would get his first career top-ten finish at Dover International Speedway in just his second start in the series. With Ben Kennedy joining the team, Grala moved over to the No. 24 truck to compete in seven more races that year.

Grala making a pit stop in the Xfinity Series race at Texas in April 2018

He joined GMS full-time for 2017, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet.[9] After avoiding all the crashes at Daytona International Speedway, he won his first race in the series after starting on the pole, making him both the youngest driver to win a NASCAR pole at Daytona and the youngest driver to win a NASCAR race at Daytona (18 years, 1 month and 26 days). It was Grala's first win in NASCAR and essentially locked him into a spot in the Playoffs for the Truck Series in 2017.[10][11] Grala almost won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in September, after leading the closing laps and then in one of the final corners he was tapped and spun around by Austin Cindric. Grala was eliminated from the Playoffs prior to the Round of 6 due to an early crash in the cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, which ultimately resulted in him finishing the season 7th in the Truck Series standings. [12]

In 2020, Grala joined Niece Motorsports for a one-off race at Talladega as a replacement for Natalie Decker.[13]

Xfinity Series[edit]

Grala in the No. 61 for Fury Race Cars at the Charlotte oval, the team's Xfinity Series debut.
Grala at the Charlotte Roval in October 2018

On November 15, 2017, it was announced that Grala would join JGL Racing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as a 2018 Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, driving the No. 24 Ford.[14] Grala finished fourth in his debut at Daytona. However, on May 15, the team shut down the No. 24 program, leaving Grala without a ride.[15] Three days later, Grala announced he would run the next four Xfinity races for Fury Race Cars, driving the No. 61 Mustang beginning at Charlotte Motor Speedway.[16] Grala drove to an impressive 10th-place finish in FURY's debut as a team. With sponsorship support from IT Coalition, DMB Financial, Kiklos and HotScream, Grala was able to add another eight races to his schedule beyond the original four. Grala's best finish with the organization was a top five at Daytona International Speedway, which he achieved in a 10-year-old borrowed car slated to be retired as a show car.[17]

Grala in the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing at Dover in May 2019

In 2019, Grala joined Richard Childress Racing's No. 21 Xfinity car for a part-time schedule.[18] He was originally going to run part-time with FURY with the amassed sponsorship, but Grala took the sponsorship to RCR to lower costs.[19] He stayed with the team for the 2020 season.[20]

Grala's 2020 schedule began in July at Kansas, where he finished 13th.[21][22] He ran the next race at Road America and tied his career-best fourth-place finish.[23]

Cup Series[edit]

In August 2020, a week after his Xfinity start at Road America, Grala was called by RCR to substitute for Austin Dillon in their No. 3 NASCAR Cup Series car at the Daytona road course after Dillon tested positive for COVID-19.[24] The Go Bowling 235 would see Grala finish seventh in his Cup debut.[25]

Grala joined Kaulig Racing in 2021 for a multi-race schedule that included the Daytona 500, driving the No. 16.[26]

Sports car racing[edit]

In 2014, Grala ran in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, where he became the youngest driver ever to compete in an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) event at the age of 15 years and one week old.[3] In 2016, Grala competed in his first Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for Change Racing alongside former Rolex 24 winners Spencer Pumpelly and Justin Marks, in addition to race newcomer Corey Lewis; at the age of 17, Grala was the youngest driver in the field.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Grala was born in Boston and grew up in the suburb of Westborough. Grala's father Darius is a former sports car racer, competing in the 24 Hours of Daytona three times.[2] He is of Polish ancestry.

He attended high school at Worcester Academy, graduating in 2017.[3] Grala has been accepted to Georgia Tech to major in engineering, but has deferred his admission to pursue his racing career.

Grala lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Cup Series[edit]

NASCAR Cup Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 NCSC Pts Ref
2020 Richard Childress Racing 3 Chevy DAY LVS CAL PHO DAR DAR CLT CLT BRI ATL MAR HOM TAL POC POC IND KEN TEX KAN NHA MCH MCH DAY
7
DOV DOV DAY DAR RCH BRI LVS TAL CLT KAN TEX MAR PHO 40th 01 [27]

Xfinity Series[edit]

NASCAR Xfinity Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 NXSC Pts Ref
2018 JGL Racing 24 Ford DAY
4
ATL
23
LVS
16
PHO
12
CAL
14
TEX
26
BRI
38
RCH
30
TAL
20
DOV
37
22nd 439 [28]
Fury Race Cars 61 Ford CLT
10
POC
16
MCH
12
IOW
10
CHI
40
DAY
5
KEN NHA
14
IOW GLN
15
MOH
27
BRI ROA
11
DAR IND LVS RCH CLT
8
DOV KAN TEX PHO HOM
18
2019 Richard Childress Racing 21 Chevy DAY ATL LVS PHO CAL TEX
18
BRI RCH
14
TAL DOV
14
CLT POC MCH IOW CHI DAY KEN NHA
14
IOW GLN MOH BRI ROA
5
DAR IND LVS RCH CLT DOV KAN TEX PHO HOM 37th 120 [29]
2020 DAY LVS CAL PHO DAR CLT BRI ATL HOM HOM TAL POC IND KEN KEN TEX KAN
13
ROA
4
DAY DOV DOV DAY DAR RCH
9
RCH
9
BRI LVS TAL CLT
31
KAN TEX MAR PHO 33rd 147 [30]

Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series[edit]

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 NGTC Pts Ref
2016 GMS Racing 33 Chevy DAY ATL MAR
31
KAN DOV
10
CLT TEX 28th 132 [31]
24 IOW
29
GTW
8
KEN ELD POC BRI
11
MCH MSP
26
CHI NHA
7
LVS TAL MAR
15
TEX PHO
28
HOM
2017 33 DAY
1
ATL
15
MAR
15
KAN
8
CLT
30
DOV
2
TEX
10
GTW
13
IOW
24
KEN
24
ELD
31
POC
23
MCH
12
BRI
28
MSP
3
CHI
9
NHA
10
LVS
5
TAL
29
MAR
7
TEX
6
PHO
5
HOM
13
7th 2214 [32]
2020 Niece Motorsports 44 Chevy DAY LVS CLT ATL HOM POC KEN TEX KAN KAN MCH DAY DOV GTW DAR RCH BRI LVS TAL
9
KAN TEX MAR PHO 84th 01 [33]

K&N Pro Series East[edit]

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 NKNPSEC Pts Ref
2014 Turner Scott Motorsports 31 Chevy NSM
10
DAY
10
BRI
20
GRE
7
RCH
14
IOW
22
BGS
11
FFL
16
LGY
5
NHA
10
COL
8
IOW
8
GLN
4
VIR
5
GRE
11
DOV
2
7th 542 [34]
2015 Ben Kennedy Racing 3 Toyota NSM
18
GRE
6
BRI
4
IOW
17
BGS
7
LGY
17
COL
3
NHA
3
IOW
7
GLN
15
MOT
7
VIR
2
RCH
8
DOV
19
7th 483 [35]
2016 NSM
15
MOB
5
GRE
9
BRI
3
VIR
20
DOM
4
STA COL NHA
21
IOW GLN
4
GRE NJM DOV 16th 272 [36]

K&N Pro Series West[edit]

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 NKNPSWC Pts Ref
2015 Ben Kennedy Racing 3 Toyota KCR IRW TUS IOW SHA SON
17
SLS IOW EVG CNS MER AAS PHO
30
41st 41 [37]

Pinty's Series[edit]

NASCAR Pinty's Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 NPSC Pts Ref
2016 22 Racing 22 Dodge MSP
20
SSS ACD ICAR TOR EIR SAS CTR RIS MSP
15
ASE KWA 41st 53 [38]

* Season still in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

ARCA Racing Series[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

ARCA Racing Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 ARSC Pts Ref
2017 Mason Mitchell Motorsports 88 Chevy DAY
10
NSH SLM TAL TOL ELK POC MCH MAD IOW IRP 48th 405 [39]
MDM Motorsports 41 Chevy POC
4
WIN ISF ROA DSF SLM CHI KEN KAN

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship[edit]

(key)

24 Hours of Daytona[edit]

24 Hours of Daytona results
Year Class No Team Car Co-drivers Laps Position Class Pos.
2016 GTD 16 United States Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 United States Spencer Pumpelly
United States Justin Marks
United States Corey Lewis
521 42 18

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Kaz Grala". NASCAR Home Tracks. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Doyle, Bill (January 28, 2016). "Kaz Grala, 17, is the youngest driver at Rolex 24". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "At Just 15, Westborough's Kaz Grala A Rising Star In MotorSports". WBZ-TV. February 14, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Staff, Speed51.comT (2018-03-08). "The 51's: 2017 Rookie of the Year Award Goes To… | Speed51.com". Speed 51. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  5. ^ "Turner Scott Announces '14 K&N East Lineup". NASCAR Home Tracks. January 20, 2014. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  6. ^ "15-Year-Old Kaz Grala Of Westborough Earns First NASCAR Win". WBZ-TV. July 9, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Kaz Grala to Drive for Ben Kennedy Racing in 2015". Speed51. October 16, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "KYLE BUSCH, LARSON SLATED FOR MARTINSVILLE TRUCK DUTY". NASCAR. March 28, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "Kaz Grala Confirmed for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Full Time in 2017 Crew Chief Jerry Baxter Joins GMS Racing and Tapped to Lead No. 33 Chevrolet Team". GMS Racing. December 5, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  10. ^ Utter, Jim (February 24, 2017). "Grala wins first Truck race after violent last-lap wreck". Motorsport.com. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Rookie Kaz Grala avoids massive last-lap crash for Truck Series win". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. February 25, 2017. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  12. ^ Staff, FrontstretchT (2017-11-17). "Kaz Grala Crashes Out of Playoffs in Talladega | Frontstretch". SPEED SPORT. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  13. ^ McFadin, Daniel (October 1, 2020). "Kaz Grala subs for Natalie Decker in Talladega Truck race". NASCAR on NBC. NBC Sports. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Staff, SPEED SPORT (2017-11-17). "JGL Racing Aligns With Roush, Signs Kaz Grala | SPEED SPORT". SPEED SPORT. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  15. ^ Long, Dustin (May 15, 2018). "Kaz Grala no longer with JGL Racing in Xfinity Series". NBC Sports. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Wilson, Steven B. (May 18, 2018). "Kaz Grala to Run Next Four NASCAR Xfinity Series Raceskful". Speedway Digest. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  17. ^ King, Alanis. "How a Decade-Old Car That Wasn't Supposed to Race Did Shockingly Well in NASCAR". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  18. ^ "Kaz Grala Joins RCR Xfinity Driver Roster". Speed Sport. February 14, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  19. ^ Crandall, Kelly. "Ep. 62: Kaz Grala". Player.fm. Down & Dirty Network. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  20. ^ Burleson, Jeremy (January 24, 2020). "Kaz Grala Returns to Richard Childress Racing for 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Run". Richard Childress Racing. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  21. ^ McFadin, Daniel (July 25, 2020). "Kaz Grala 'knocking the rust off' with first Xfinity start of year". NBC Sports. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  22. ^ "Kaz Grala finishes 13th at Kansas Speedway". NASCAR. July 27, 2020. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Kaz Grala Drives No. 21 Ruedebusch.com Chevy to Fourth-Place Finish at Road America". Richard Childress Racing. August 10, 2020. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  24. ^ "RCR: Austin Dillon tests positive for COVID-19, will miss Daytona Road Course". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. August 15, 2020.
  25. ^ Utter, Jim (August 16, 2020). "Kaz Grala "had a blast" in his Cup Series debut at Daytona RC". Motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Utter, Jim (January 13, 2021). "Kaz Grala to run several Cup races in 2021 with Kaulig Racing". Motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  27. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  28. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  29. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  30. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  31. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  32. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  33. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  34. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  35. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  36. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  37. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  38. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2016 NASCAR Pinty's Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  39. ^ "Kaz Grala – 2017 ARCA Racing Series Results". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2020.

External links[edit]