NASCAR’s Rising Young Talent Moves Within 31 Points of Series Championship
Monroe, Washington – In a heartbreaking finish Saturday night in upstate Washington, Brandon McReynolds came within feet of taking his #16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry to victory lane before falling short in a final lap sprint for the checkered flag. “We were right there,” said McReynolds after the race, “coming out of turn four we were three-wide and for a moment I thought we were going to edge them out. To run 150 laps and have it come down to just a few feet, I am not going to say that it does not sting a little, but when you run as well as we did tonight you cannot get too down on yourself. It was great team effort.” Although disappointing, the second place finish marked McReynolds’ ninth Top-5 finish in the last eleven races, and will likely increase the growing expectations for the young NASCAR Next driver. “There is no question that this young man is going to do some great things in our sport,” said Jeff Jefferson, crew chief of the #16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, “the understanding he has of the car and the feedback that he is able to provide is something that you do not typically find in a driver at this stage in his development. As long as he continues to surround himself with the right people and partners, the sky is the limit. “
After winning his second pole of the 2014 Season, McReynolds fell to second place on the initial lap of the race before taking back the lead on Lap 8. “The car was a little tight early-on” said McReynolds, who led a total of fifteen laps of the race before falling back to fourth at the halfway point, “however, our crew did a great job during the race of making some small adjustments to get our car in a position where I could drive it back up to the front and be there at the end.” With a late race caution at lap 127, McReynolds, running second, appeared well positioned to grab his first win of the season before contact on the final restart knocked the #16 Toyota Camry back into fourth. “It is the third time this year that the #12 has gotten up under us on a restart. I am certainly not making excuses, but when you keep having the same problems with the same driver, it makes you scratch your head. I just hated it for the entire NAPA organization, we were right there and with the way the car was running at that point in the race I felt like it was ours for the taking.” Despite the contact and loss of track position, a late race charge by McReynolds that included a late pass coming out of the final turn of the race, was enough to get the NAPA Auto Parts team the second place finish.
The NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150, which will air on Fox Sports 1, Friday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m. EST, marked NASCAR’s 54th visit to the historic Evergreen Speedway. Located within the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, just thirty miles northeast of downtown Seattle, Washington, the speedway is celebrating is 60th consecutive season of motorsports racing, making it one of the oldest continually running racetracks in the Northwest.
With only four races remaining in the 2014 season, the NASCAR K&N West Series heads back to Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, California August 30, where Brandon McReynolds will look to improve upon his fourth place finish earlier this year. “This will be the first opportunity that I have had this year to go back to a track where I have already competed,” McReynolds said after being asked about the upcoming race, “we were good there back in May, but just having that experience to now be able to lean on, I think it will make a big difference. Kern could be one of our best opportunities this year to go out and get that win that we have all been working for.”