K&N East Returns To Action At RIR - With Entry List

Monday, Apr 23 1498

A year ago Ryan Blaney and Travis Pastrana made their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debuts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. This time around they'll rely on the experienced gained in the last year competing in NASCAR's top development series to step up to the next level.

In the past decade the NASCAR K&N Pro Series has become a successful feeder system to the upper levels of NASCAR. Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon became championship winners in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively. Recent K&N Pro Series graduates Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne have also become race winners at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level.

This weekend in Richmond, Blaney and Pastrana will continue their development in the K&N Pro Series while also hoping to make a successful leap to the Nationwide Series.

Both Blaney and Pastrana said their experience in the 2011 Blue Ox 100, as well as a return appearance in this Thursday's K&N Pro Series East event, was a deciding factor in designating Virginia 529 College Savings 250 as the perfect opportunity to make their Nationwide Series debut.

"I loved the place when we ran K&N there last year and I'm really excited to go back there," Blaney said. "We wanted to go to a track that I was really comfortable with, and that the teams run good with [for the Nationwide debut]. So hopefully we can get a good result."

"We're starting with Richmond, which is close to my house, and race as we did last year in the K&N Series," Pastrana said. "We'll also will do it [the K&N race] this year on the Thursday before the Nationwide debut, so it's a really good place to start."

Whether it's on a part-time basis - like Blaney - or competing the full season - like Pastrana - many developing drivers are turning to the K&N Pro Series as a place to get valuable track time and experience with the hope of moving up through the ranks. Blaney hopes to lean on the experience gained, specifically in Thursday's Blue Ox 100, to get prepared for his Nationwide Series debut.

"It's going to be a big help for me, a big learning experience to see what will help us out later in the race," Blaney said of competing Thursday night. "So it's definitely an advantage having to race the night before."

For Pastrana, while Thursday's Blue Ox 100 will be crucial for his Friday outing, it is more of a total learning experience that he is gaining by competing week-in and week-out in the K&N Pro Series East along with a whole host of young developing talent.

"The K&N race [last year at Richmond] was a very humbling experience," Pastrana said. "You look and there are so many guys out there. People say NASCAR is an older demographic and this and that. I've gotten my butt kicked by 15, 17, 18-year-olds that kill me on a weekly basis.

"So there is definitely a lot of young talent coming up, and I'm super excited to kind of learn with them, even though I've been always one of the younger guys in everything I've done. Now I definitely came in and I'm one of the older guys for sure."

CAR

DRIVER/HOMETOWN

TEAM

OWNER

CREW CHIEF

0

Enrique Contreras *

Viva La Raza Racing Toyota

Cody Sommer

Cody Sommer

1

Sergio Peña, Winchester, Va.

Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota

Shigeaki Hattori

Matt Goslant

2

Ryan Gifford, Winchester, Tenn.

Universal Technical Institute/NTI Toyota

Max Siegel

Dennis Connor

4

Bryan Ortiz, Bayamon, Puerto Rico *

Toyota Racing Development Toyota

Max Siegel

Mardy Lindley

6

Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, Calif. *

Rev Racing Toyota

Max Siegel

Randy Goss

07

Corey LaJoie, Concord, N.C.

Virginia Motor Spdwy/Sims Metal Ford

Randy LaJoie

Ron Otto

7

Michael McGuire, Vinton, Va. *

Woods Towing & Transportation Toyota

Tim McGuire

Mark Huff

8

Jorge Arteaga, Aguascalientes, Mexico *

Rev Racing Toyota

Max Siegel

Mark Green

9

Chase Elliott, Dawsonville, Ga.

Aaron's/HendrickCars.com Chevrolet

Bill Elliott

Lance McGrew

10

Ryan Blaney, High Point, N.C. *

DB Racing Toyota

Dave Blaney

Trent Owens

11

Brett Moffitt, Grimes, Iowa

Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota

Shigeaki Hattori

Dave McCarty

12

Jorge Contreras Jr., Naucalpan, Mexico *

Telmex/Ed Hardy/TWR Dodge

Lori Williams

Troy Williams

14

Daniel Suarez, Monterrey, Mexico

Telcel/Finsa/Rocacero Toyota

Geraldo Rodrigues

Coleman Pressley

15

Carlos Iaconelli, Sao Paulo, Brazil *

Bienvenidos a NASCAR/Mayor Cars Toyota

Geraldo Rodrigues

Mark McFarland

16

Duarte Ferreira, Luanda, Angola *

LS Sports/Sonangol Toyota

Geraldo Rodrigues

Jerry Babb

17

Nelson Piquet Jr., Brasilia, Brazil

X Team Racing Toyota

Geraldo Rodrigues

Chris Carrier

18

Darrell Wallace, Jr., Concord, N.C.

Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

J.D. Gibbs

Bryant Frazier

22

Sam Hunt, Midlothian, Va. *

Oakley/Bruster’s Ice Cream Dodge

Rick Gdovic

Rick Gdovic

26

Dylan Presnell, Sevierville, Tenn. *

American Mountain Rentals/Amtrol Toyota

Joe Coulter

Kris Bowen

29

Brennan Newberry, Bakersfield, Calif.

NTS Motorsports Chevrolet

Bob Newberry

Dan Deeringhoff

31

Jimmy Weller, Hubbard, Ohio *

Integrated Metal Products Toyota

Jim Weller

Joe Williams

32

Dale Quarterley, Westfield, Mass.

Van Dyk Baler Chevrolet

Dale Quarterley

Ed Murray

35

Derek Ramstrom, West Boylston, Mass.

Matthews Truck Service/Titech Chevrolet

Richard Ramstrom

John McJunkins

37

Chad Finchum, Knoxville, Tenn. *

Texas Roadhouse/Spraker Racing Toyota

Jeff Spraker

Dinky Thornton

39

CJ Faison, Seaford, Del. *

Generation Rescue Chevrolet

Ronald Faison

Brandon Butler

46

Brandon Gdovic, Yorktown, Va.

Aquis Communications/ComServe Dodge

Rick Gdovic

Todd Loshe

47

Cale Conley, Vienna, W.Va.

PMC/Health Bridge Imaging Toyota

Yale Conley

Mark Durgin

49

Scott Saunders, Brisbane, Australia *

Inox Supreme Lube/Standout Wraps Dodge

Jenifer McDonald

Mark Durgin

51

Stephen Nasse, Pinellas Park, Fla. *

All American Cncrt/StephenNasse.com Toyota

Jeff Nasse

TBA

62

Andrew Smith, Pooler, Ga.

Octane/SavannahPawn.com Chevrolet

Edwin Smith

David Ifft

63

John Salemi, Nashua, N.H.

John Salemi Racing Toyota

Joe Salemi

Kevin Salemi

70

Rafael Vallina *

Viva La Raza Racing Toyota

Cody Sommer

TBA

71

Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass.

Grimm Construction Chevrolet

Rob Grimm

Rollie Lachance

80

Blake Jones, Sevierville, Tenn. *

Teddy Jones Racing Chevrolet

Teddy Jones

Josh McCoy

96

Ben Kennedy, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Ben Kennedy Racing Chevrolet

Robert Johnson

Mike Fritts

97

Jesse Little, Sherrils Ford, N.C. *

Hurst Mtspts/Team Little Racing Chevrolet

Jason Little

Travis Sharp

98

Chad Boat, Phoenix, Ariz.

Curb Records Chevrolet

Mike Curb

Eddie Dickerson

99

Travis Pastrana, Annapolis, Md. *

iRacing Toyota

Michael Waltrip

Mike Greci