BOSTON — Kaz Grala will make his NASCAR touring series debut in the No. 31 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East full-time entry for Turner Scott Motorsports during next month’s Speedweeks.
The 15-year-old Grala will also make his first major road racing start during the Rolex 24 weekend at Daytona Int’l Speedway in the No. 03 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) entry for the defending series champions, Rum Bum Racing.
Grala will join four other NKNPSE drivers for Turner Scott Motorsports when NASCAR’s top development series begins its 2014 campaign on Feb. 16 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, followed by the second annual UNOH Battle At The Beach on Feb. 18 at Daytona Int’l Speedway. Grala also tested in the No. 31 OzLINK Chevrolet this week with his new team, led by crew chief Ray Holm, at New Smyrna Speedway.
“We are very happy to announce Kaz Grala as part of our 2014 K&N Series lineup,” said Harry Scott, co-owner of Turner Scott Motorsports. “One of the primary goals of Steve Turner and myself is to seek out young talent and be a part of their progression through the sport. We’ve seen promising things from Grala so far in his career and we’re looking forward to him being a part of the Turner Scott Motorsports family.”
Grala will head to Daytona for the Rolex 24 weekend, one of the world’s prominent road racing endurance events. He will compete in the CTSCC race as part of a two-car entry for Rum Bum Racing. Grala, who will get his first taste of hot pit stops and driver changes, will be partnered in the No. 03 BMW M3 with co-driver and series veteran Hugh Plumb.
“We mentioned to car owner Luis Bacardi that there was a young talent who was looking to get some experience in a sports car and he was 100-percent behind us giving him a shot at the test,” said team manager and driver Matt Plumb. “It went even better than expected. We were all truly blown away by his performance on and off the track. Big things are in store for that boy.”
While in Daytona, Grala was also given the opportunity to test a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 entry for Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports.
“It was incredible to watch Kaz’s first run in the Ferrari,” said Jeff Segal, Level 5 Motorsports driver and four-time IMSA/Grand-Am series champion. “In under ten laps, Kaz was turning lap times that were at our target race pace. His maturity and methodical approach in a very high-stress situation were not just impressive for someone of his age, but they were exactly what you would expect from a seasoned professional driver.”
Grala has seen a rapid climb through the development ranks, beginning his racing career at just four years old and racing at local northeast road courses until the age of 10, he won more than 100 races and two series championships.
Grala went on to win multiple championships in Bandolero racing, including the prestigious Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Advancing to legend cars in 2012, he won 15 of 58 races on both ovals and road courses.
Grala began last year by becoming the youngest NASCAR driver ever to compete at Daytona Int’l Speedway at 14 years and 51 days old, when he started his first ever race in a late model stock car at the inaugural Battle At The Beach. In June, he won his first LMSC race at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, becoming the youngest winner in UARA series’ history.
“I am honored and grateful to be a part of these championship caliber organizations,” said Grala. “This is going to be my most difficult season yet, but I’m up for the challenge.”