Kaz Grala and the No. 24 Kiklos Olive Oil team brought home a top-15 finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. It was only his second start at the Virginia short track and best finish after a 31st-place result in his April debut.
Kaz started the Texas Roadhouse 200 from the 10th position after advancing in three rounds of qualifying earlier that day. Kaz reported in the early stages of the race that he was experiencing a loose-handling condition in the center of the corners. Kaz dropped back to the 15th position then worked his way just shy of the top 10 before a caution occurred on lap 51. Crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz called Kaz to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help tighten loose handling conditions, returning the No. 24 Kiklos Chevrolet to the track in the 11th spot on lap 58. Kaz battled into the top 10 on lap 60, reaching all the way up to the eighth spot before another caution occurred on lap 109. Kaz reported that he was still a two loose in the center. Stankiewicz called for his driver to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment but had to return to pit road due to a missed lug nut, returning to the field in the 18th position on lap 115. The 17-year-old climbed through the field reaching the 13th position when the third caution occurred on lap 164, Stankiewicz called for Kaz not to pit to gain track position while the leaders did, lining him up to restart in the second position on lap 169. Shortly after the restart Kaz reported there was no grip on the top line causing him to drop back into the 10th position. The final caution of the day occurred on lap 177. Kaz restarted the No. 24 in the 10th position after staying on track, but fell back into the 15th spot where he crossed the start-finish line to collect his third NCWTS top 15.
KAZ GRALA QUOTE:
“We had a pretty good day here at Martinsville. We had an issue with a lug nut on one of the pit stops and had to come back in to put it on so that hurt us. We recovered pretty well there toward the end. Jeff (Stankiewicz, crew chief) did a great job with his strategy to help me gain back track position. Thank you to the guys for all of their hard work this weekend. A top-15 finish at Martinsville is awesome. Congrats to my teammate Johnny Sauter for bringing home the win!”
GMS Racing PR