Reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Kyle Larson will lead a contingent of five Rev Racing drivers that are slated to head to Daytona International Speedway for the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach, Feb. 18-19.
After winning the K&N Pro Series East title for Rev Racing, which fields teams for NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity initiative, Larson will return to the team for the first running of the Daytona short-track showcase. He will be joined by teammates Ryan Gifford and Bryan Ortiz at the .4-mile oval on the backstretch at the “World Center of Racing.”
“We’re excited about the opportunity to come to Daytona and are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting week of racing,” said Rev Racing General Manager Derik Crotts. “We’ve got a great lineup of drivers competing for Rev Racing in both the Late Model and K&N Pro Series events at UNOH Battle at the Beach.”
Larson has a locked-in starting position for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race as part of the UNOH Battle At The Beach by virtue of series championship and two race wins during the 2012 season. Larson will have one more run with Rev Racing, and although his 2013 plans have not yet been announced, he will not be returning to the team for the coming season to defend his title.
“It’s going to be nice to have Kyle representing Rev Racing one last time before he moves on to bigger venues,” Crotts said. “He’s a special talent and we’re proud to have been a part of his growth and development in NASCAR.”
For Gifford and Ortiz, the opportunity to race at Daytona will provide a jump-start to their return to Rev Racing for the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. The coming campaign will mark the fourth for Gifford in the series while 2013 will be the sophomore season for Ortiz, who finished as the Sunoco Rookie of the Year runner-up to Larson.
“Being that it’s a non-points race, this provided us a unique opportunity to say thank you to some of our 2012 drivers and get things dialed in a little before we head to Bristol,” Crotts added.
Gifford and Ortiz will need to race their way into the K&N Pro Series feature through the qualifying races since they do not have locked-in starting positions. Drivers that won touring series races and championships in 2012 are locked into their respective features in Daytona. All others must qualify through heat races.
In addition to the three NASCAR K&N Pro Series teams, Rev Racing will also take two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series entries to compete in that series’ UNOH Battle At The Beach Late Model event, with Mackena Bell and Trey Gibson as the drivers. The pair ran Late Models together at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2012, and both will have to race their way into the Whelen All-American Series feature at Daytona through the qualifying races.
“We’re going to be rolling out some new paint schemes on our Toyota Camry’s and will have Curb Records sponsoring Kyle for the event,” Crotts said. “We’re also pleased to have Putinka Vodka back behind Bryan Ortiz, and Langley Speedway supporting both Kyle Larson and Ryan Gifford, in addition to our Late Model’s at this race.”
Larson Slated for Double Duty: In addition to his last appearance for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series car, Kyle Larson also intends to enter the NASCAR Whelen Modified-Whelen Southern Modified Tour UNOH Battle At The Beach event. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has tabbed Larson to pilot his Menards Chevrolet, which has made spot appearances in recent seasons with Ryan Newman behind the wheel. To date, Larson is the only driver that has declared intent to participate in more than one UNOH Battle At The Beach race. Unlike his K&N Pro Series entry, Larson is not locked into the Whelen Modified Tour feature and will have to race his way in through the qualifiers. It will mark Larson’s first time behind the wheel of a Modified.
Nemechek to Make Debut at Daytona: Rising stock car racing prospect John Hunter Nemechek is entered in the No. 8 AM/FM Energy.com Toyota for the K&N Pro Series UNOH Battle At The Beach race. The son of longtime NASCAR national series competitor Joe Nemechek, 15-year-old John Hunter captured the 2012 Allison Legacy Series championship and has also been competing in Super Late Models in special events. It will be the NASCAR debut for the younger Nemechek, who intends to run select K&N Pro Series East points races in 2013 starting with the opener at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Battle Events: The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models will have qualifying races and a 150-lap feature on Monday, Feb. 18 while the action on Tuesday, Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and NASCAR K&N Pro Series. All three features are non-points races.
Event Coverage: All three UNOH Battle At The Beach features will be carried live on SPEED. Further event coverage will be officially announced in the coming days.
Event Tweets: The official Twitter hashtag for all events surrounding the UNOH Battle At The Beach is #NASCARBattle. Join the conversation using the #NASCARBattle hashtag as well as the official Twitter accounts for NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack) and Daytona International Speedway (@DISupdates).