By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Richard Childress Racing’s Kaz Grala had to battle changing track conditions to score a top-five at Road America.
The driver of the No. 21 ruedebusch.com Chevrolet Camaro SS was among the first that pitted for slick tires on a drying racetrack. That left Grala fighting for position in the Henry 180. The pit call by crew chief Andy Street proved to be the right one as the caution waved before many had pitted.
Grala finished the second stage in fifth before inheriting the lead. The Chevy Racing driver slipped back on the restart to run just outside the top-five. Grala fought hard with fellow road racing aces AJ Allmendinger, Andy Lally, and Preston Pardus.
Another caution setup another restart. With four laps to go, Grala lined up behind Justin Allgaier. In turn three, Allgaier attempted to clear himself and spun off the nose of the No. 21. The incident collected Myatt Snider, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Jeremy Clements.
Grala meanwhile emerged unscathed. The 21-year-old made quick work of Pardus and Ryan Sieg on the final restart. However, he lost touch with the leaders on the 4.048-mile road course. When the checkered flag waved, Grala was fourth.
“We earned a hard-fought top-five finish for our RCR No. 21 Ruedebusch.com Chevrolet team today at Road America,” explained Grala. “We faced a little bit of adversity towards the middle part of the race when we had slick tires on a wet racetrack. That was a little bit sketchy, but luckily the call ended up being the right one.
“We got our track position back and put ourselves in a really good position at the end of the race. I’m really proud of Andy Street and everyone at Richard Childress Racing. This was a great day for us with a fourth-place finish. I’m looking forward to my next couple races and hopefully we can go out there and steal a win.”
Grala started sixth following the random draw, however he slipped out of the top-10 in the first stage. A caution, lengthy red flag for lightning, and rain flipped the rest of the race upside down. Grala utilized his road racing experience to reclaim the lost track position.
The fourth-place finish matches Grala’s best finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In his Xfinity debut at Daytona International Speedway in 2018 Grala finished fourth.
Grala’s performance at Road America was his fourth career top-five in the Xfinity Series and his seventh top-10. He only has 29 starts in the series.
The Boston, MA native also increased Richard Childress Racing’s gap in the owner’s point standings. The No. 21 is now tied with Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 19 for ninth in points. It is also 87-points ahead of the cutoff for the playoffs held by the RSS Racing No. 39.