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Teenager Grala Romps In Crash-Riddled Camping World Truck Race At Daytona
- Updated: February 25, 2017
Kaz Grala celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. [Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images]
By: Joe Jennings
DAYTONA BEACH – Teenager Taz Grala romped in the crash-riddled NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday evening. Running second on a restart with three laps to go, Grala dropped back in the field but when the leaders wrecked on the backstretch, the young Massachusetts native slithered through the debris to win the NextEra Energy Resources 250.
Leader Johnny Sauter and former CWS champion Matt Crafton were caught up in the wreck with Crafton flipping during the melee. No injuries were sustained.
“I couldn’t see a whole lot on that last lap,” said the victor. “I was pushing a lot in 1 and 2, and I knew what I had to do. I saw it start to get crazy, and I wasn’t going to lift, just cross my fingers and hope. Luckily it worked out for me.
“I can’t believe it; it is so surreal. It hasn’t sunk in. In a few days, I will realize I got the pole and in a few weeks, the win will probably sink in. I am so pumped.”
Grala drove the Kidos Greek Extra Virgin Oil Chevrolet. His win came in his 10th CWS race. He also became the youngest Daytona winner in NASCAR national series history at 18 years, 1 month and 26 days. Earlier in day, he became the youngest Daytona pole winner at 180.676 miles per hour.
The winner led the opening 13 laps and the last lap.
Austin Wayne Self brought his Toyota home second and Chase Briscoe in a Ford took third.
Fourth and fifth were John Hunter Nemechek and his father Joe Nemechek.
Regan Smith came from back to finish sixth followed by Scott Lagasse, Christopher Bell, J. J. Yeley and Myatt Snider.
Crafton and Sauter were scored 14th and 15th.
With 14 rookies in the 32-truck field, fans knew they were going to see a lot of action, and the action started on the second lap when 12 trucks wrecked while running in close formation. Six were able to make repairs and continue while the other six were eliminated.
A year ago, Bell had a violent wreck on the final lap and due to actions of others, he almost did it again tonight after flying through the air while jockeying for the lead. But luck was riding with the rising star this time and he was able to continue, only to be wrecked again 50 laps later while running in the front.
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