WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Recap by Race Chaser Online Correspondent James Pike – Audio by Kyle Magda — Getty Images for NASCAR photo –
Scott Heckert had a perfect day at Bowman Gray Stadium, as he started on the pole and led flag-to-flag to win Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The win was the 21-year-old Ridgefield, Conn. native’s third-career K&N East triumph and his first on an oval, following wins at Watkins Glen and VIR last season.
The win also came in one of the oldest chassis in the HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks (HSMJM) fleet, a 2004 chassis that was formerly piloted to Victory Lane by Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex. Both drivers were led to those wins by Mike Greci, the current team manager for HSMJM.
Heckert was tops among the trio of HSMJM drivers that locked out the podium. Dalton Sargeant finished runner-up for the team in the No. 51 GALT Chevrolet, and J.J. Haley battled to finish a career-best third in his No. 5 Braun Auto Chevrolet.
Haley was one of three drivers to post career-best finishes in the race. Rev Racing drivers were responsible for the other two career-best finishes in the field.
Jay Beasley ran up near the front all night long en route to a fourth-place finish, and Devon Amos also set a personal best, shattering his former career-best finish of 19th with a sixth-place run. Combined with Kenzie Ruston’s ninth-place finish, Rev Racing put three of their four cars in the top 10.
Though the typical bump-and-bang style racing was present all throughout the evening at the Stadium, it did not actually amount to a caution until lap 62. John Holleman had just been lapped by Heckert and was diligently racing the top five. Those cars were in turn trying to get around Holleman and catch back up to Heckert. None seemed pleased with the way the lapped No. 49 was racing them, and they all got into Holleman before the No. 42 of Jay Beasley finally made the contact to spin Holleman out.
That first caution was quickly followed by the second caution of the evening 10 laps later, when the likes of Rico Abreu, Kaz Grala, and Mason Mitchell (who was making his K&N Pro Series debut) all went for a synchronized spin in between turns one and two. The No. 15 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota of Nick Drake was trapped on the inside and made contact with the stopped cars, but did not pick up any significant front-end damage in the process.
The most significant series of events at the front of the field came 15 laps after the second caution. Austin Hill, who had been running third for a large portion of the race prior, went to the outside to clear the lapped No. 45 of Christian Celaya. In the process, he opened the door down below for Haley to pass him for third. KNPSE championship leader William Byron was next in the train of cars behind Hill, and he spent the next five laps trying to force his way underneath Hill.
Those efforts culminated in the third caution of the race, when Byron turned Hill around at the exit of turn two and then turned himself around in the process. They were running fourth and fifth at the time, but never were able to recover the lap or track position that they both lost in the final 51 laps. Fittingly, Hill and Byron finished together in 14th and 15th, respectively.
After the race, Heckert noted that the trio of HScott cars at the top of the scoring charts was not accidental.
“Any time you give us the chance to test like we had here on Wednesday, we can walk over to the trailer next to us and see what a certain change did and see if it helps us,” he said. “That’s what really sets us apart. The teamwork in the shop is amazing. It’s five teams working as one, and it’s a special group to be a part of.”
The K&N Pro Series East returns to action on June 20 for the Visit Hampton VA 175 at Langley Speedway.
Audio with race winner Scott Heckert:
Audio with runner-up Dalton Sargeant:
Audio with third-place J.J. Haley:
RESULTS: NASCAR K&N Pro Series East; NASCAR Hall of Fame 150; Bowman Gray Stadium; May 30, 2015
- Scott Heckert
- Dalton Sargeant
- J.J. Haley
- Jay Beasley
- Gray Gaulding
- Devon Amos
- Kaz Grala
- Mason Mitchell
- Kenzie Ruston
- Nick Drake
- Rico Abreu
- Ronnie Bassett Jr.
- Kyle Benjamin
- Austin Hill
- William Byron
- Dillon Bassett
- Collin Cabre
- Justin LaDuke
- David Garbo Jr.
- John Holleman IV
- Christian Celaya