Gray Gaulding and the #20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet team leave Bristol with a second place finish and four point lead in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (KNPSE) points standings.
The race week kicked off with two practice sessions and qualifying on Thursday, March 13th. Gaulding posted the 4th quickest time during the 75 minute opening practice session of a 16.232 at 118.211mph. Final practice, also a 75 minute session, saw Gaulding turn 33 laps and post the third quickest time of a 16.124 at 119.003mph.
Gaulding was the third of thirty-eight cars to go out for two lap qualifying. With a time of 16.140, Gaulding would post the 5th quickest time and line on the inside of row three of Saturday 125 lap race.
When the green flag flew for the Pitt Lite 125, following Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Gaulding immediately began charging forward on the bottom line. Gaulding moved into 4th at lap 8 and into 2nd after a lap 25 restart.
Gaulding would continue running second through two more caution periods and into the lap 70 halfway break. When the caution flag flew Gaulding began telling crew chief Ryan McKinney about his Krispy Kreme Chevrolet, saying "I need some help getting into the corner and could use some turn in the center". McKinney instructed adjustments during the break.
When the green flag flew once again at lap 73, Gaulding continued running second during a long 30 lap green flag run, during the lap 103 caution period, Gaulding explained his car was starting to go on the tight side. The green flag flew once again at lap 109, with the caution flag coming out once again at lap 110.
The green flag flew once again at lap 119 with Gaulding immediately going to battle for the lead. The caution flag flew for the seventh and final time at lap 121, with Gaulding passing for the lead. Gaulding would restart 3rd for a green-white-checkered, due to the field being set by going back a lap when the caution flag is displayed.
With a wind finish, Gaulding would come home with a second place finish in the Pitt Lite 125 and the 2014 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points lead.
Next time out for Gray Gaulding and the #20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet team is Saturday, March 22nd at Greenville Pickens Speedway for the Whitaker Chevrolet 150.
Gray Gaulding's Post-Race Thoughts:
"It was an exciting race to say the least, and I had the best seat in the house. I have said it several times, I wish we raced at Bristol ten times a year. I am proud of the entire Krispy Kreme, NTS Motorsports team they gave me an awesome car and we was a contender all race long. I had a blast racing toe to tow with my teammate in the 24, Brennan Newberry, he raced me hard but clean and I felt like we put on a show. It felt great seeing both NTS Motorsport Chevys upfront and two top 5's is pretty awesome. I know that we have a great race car sitting at the shop ready for Greenville Pickens, and hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling. I will be coming back in August and running in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol (UNOH 200 on August 20th at Bristol Motor Speedway.)"
Ryan McKinney's Post-Race Thoughts:
"Gray and the entire NTS Motorsports 20 and 24 teams, they did a great job working hard both in the shop and at the track. I am proud of them and it showed on the track with a second place finish for Gray and fourth place finish for Brennan. We have been knocking on the door for that first win of 2014, I though it would come at Bristol but we will move forward to Greenville Pickens and get after it next Saturday."