From High School Finals To A Top-10 Finish, Kaz Grala Is Determined To Be Successfulby Michelle Robbins May 31, 2015 0 comments
Photo Credit: Thomas Clanton
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Kaz Grala rallied the No. 3 Kiklos/Bib’s Downtown Toyota Camry to a solid top-10 finish in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 at famed Bowman Gray Stadium Saturday night after an early spin in Turn 1.
Grala was trying to avoid a wreck involving the No. 98 machine of Rico Abreu when he spun his Camry sideways in the first turn. Despite the early trouble, Grala persevered and finished in seventh place. The run may have been a personal best finish for the 16-year-old, but it is not what makes this race really impressive.
“We worked hard for seventh tonight,” Grala said. “This track is a very physical track and there were not a lot of cautions so that was a tough one. I am really proud of the guys for giving me such a fast car that allowed me to make a lot of passes.”
As a sophomore in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and in high school, Grala was faced with flying back and forth from Massachusetts to North Carolina twice before this weekend.
Grala journeyed hundreds of miles to complete an open test at Bowman Gray Stadium Wednesday evening while finishing his geometry final in Boston Friday afternoon, before finally flying back to North Carolina for the race Saturday evening. The teenager took it all in stride with his signature positive attitude.
“The car ran really great at the test, the balance was perfect and we had a lot of speed,” Grala said. “Everything went pretty smoothly after that with flying back to Boston for my geometry final. I believe I passed and can now focus solely on my racing for the rest of the summer.”
The amount of focus needed to fly back and forth while managing high school grades and a budding NASCAR career is tremendous, but Grala seems to have it figured out. This young driver not only maintains honor roll-status at a prestigious private academy back in Boston, but he impresses most with his extraordinary amount of determination on the track.
Grala had to come from back in the pack not once, but twice Saturday night. After qualifying 13th, Grala drove his way to ninth before trouble struck on lap 72. The 16-year-old sophomore restarted 14th and drove around the field yet again, to finish seventh. The result would have been considered an impressive one for anyone watching Saturday, but for Grala and his achievements the past week, this was nothing short of a reflection of hard work and sheer talent.