Consistency Beginning to Pay Big Dividends for NASCAR Next Driver
Bakersfield, California – As the chase for the 2014 NASCAR K&N West Series Championship heats up, series rookie Brandon McReynolds and his NAPA Auto Parts Team appear to be peaking at just the right time. With a second place finish Saturday night at Kern County Raceway, the young NASCAR driver from Mooresville, North Carolina, has gained 14 points on series leader Greg Pursley over the last two races, closing the leader’s gap to just 26 points with three races remaining. “I know that a lot of people have been surprised by our team’s consistency this season, however this is what I expected coming into the year from both myself and the guys on our team,” McReynolds said after the race, “what has me really excited, however, is the continued improvement that we have seen here down the stretch. With our best finishes of the season all coming over the past three races, it tells me that all of our hard work over the past eight months is starting to pay off. Now we just need to put it all together and get a couple wins in these last few races. If we can do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
After narrowly missing qualifying on the pole, McReynolds started the race in second before dropping quickly back to sixth following two early cautions. “Our car was great tonight when we were able to get it out in clean air, however in traffic it got really tight which put us at a disadvantage early on, especially with all the restarts.” McReynolds, however, would battle back to fourth by the mid-way point of the race after adjustments to the #16 Toyota Camry appeared to provide the young driver with freedom to run both the high and low line of the ½ mile high-banked oval located in Bakersfield, California. But with the field stretched out and remaining laps beginning to dwindle, it appeared that fourth might be the best McReynolds could salvage before a caution with only two laps remaining provided him with one last opportunity. “That final caution was key tonight,” said McReynolds, “although we were gaining on the leaders, there were just not enough laps left to overtake them. With new life, McReynolds’ took full advantage of the final restart and a crucial mistake by one of the race leaders, moving the #16 into second place.
With only three races left in the 2014 season, the series now heads to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on September 13th for the second and final road course race of the year. McReynolds, who despite a field of challengers that included five Sprint Cup Series regulars, finished fifth in his career-first NASCAR Series road race earlier this year at Sonoma Raceway, is looking forward to getting another chance at a road course race. “It is a very technical course,” said McReynolds when asked about Miller Motorsports Park, “we were able to get over there a few weeks ago for a test and I really enjoyed it. It is certainly a race where we should be able to challenge for the win.”