SOUTH BOSTON, VA (April 18, 2011) – There’s something about South Boston Speedway that brings out the best in Max Gresham.
“I really don’t know what it is about South Boston that I like,” said Gresham after wheeling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota to a third-place finish in the South Boston 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event Sunday afternoon. “I like the feel that it gives me. I can really abuse the track. It reminds me of some of the places I have raced on back home in Georgia. You are always going to drive well at the places you like. I’m three-for-three with top-five finishes here, so there’s obviously there’s something about this place that agrees with me.”
Gresham made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at the tiny four-tenths-mile Virginia oval in 2009 finishing fifth. Last year, the 17-year-old JGR development driver won his first-ever NASCAR K&N race at ‘SOBO.’ His third-place run Sunday now gives him a 3.0 finishing average at the track in just three NASCAR K&N events.
Sunday’s solid finish took a little extra work as Gresham had to overcome an early qualifying draw sent him out fifth in the time trial session. His lap of 16.040 seconds (89.776 miles per hour average) was still good enough for seventh in the 32-car starting field.
Gresham quickly showed he was one of the top contenders for the win working his way to fifth within the first five laps telling his JGR crew that his Toyota Camry was ‘on rails’ over the team radio.
By Lap 100, Gresham was in fourth place trailing leaders Brett Moffitt, Sergio Pena and Matt DiBenedetto. Over the next 40 laps, Gresham nipped at the heels of DiBenedetto and Pena for position while Moffitt apparently checked out for his second NKNPSE win in a row.
Then on Lap 141, Moffitt crashed after tangling with a lapped car forcing the field to a red flag condition. When the race got back underway with just four circuits remaining, Gresham was third and poised to make a run at the win.
The soon-to-be Woodward Academy high school graduate wasted little time muscling his way inside of DiBendetto for second on the restart. While the pair raced side-by-side over the final laps, Pena slipped away leaving the two black and orange Toyotas to battle for the runner-up spot.
At the finish, it was Pena by four car lengths with Gresham and DiBenedetto in apparent dead heat for second. Initially, Gresham was declared the runner up, but later NASCAR changed the final finishing order giving placing Gresham third.
“We ran good, in the top-five all day long,” Gresham stated. “We had a chance to win, but we brought the car home in one piece instead. I think I could have won, but there was no reason to wreck two other cars just to try to win. I’m happy with where we finished and I’m pleased that our car is in one piece. It won’t take much work for my guys to turn it around.”
The good finish – coming on the heels of a disappointing 21st-place effort when tire issues in the final 10 laps ruined a possible top-five run in the season-opening race at Greenville, SC two weeks ago – boosted Gresham back into 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship hunt.
Gresham is now ninth in the standings with 265 points, just 66 markers out of first.
“Today was my mom’s birthday,” said Gresham in Sunday’s post race interview. “I really wanted to have a good day for her and I was really happy that she was here today. I was also racing in memory of my good friend Beau Slocumb. He passed away after his long battle with cancer last week. He’s in a better place now.”
Sunday’s South Boston 150 will be telecast on a tape delayed basis on Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.
Gresham will get additional ‘TV time’ the next time he hits the track when he competes in the Fourth-Annual Denny Hamlin Short-Track Showdown on Thursday, April 28. Before the live event on SPEED rolls off, Gresham will wheel his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at RIR.
For more information about Max Gresham, please access www.MaxGresham.com. You can also follow Max Gresham on Twitter @Max Gresham and on Facebook at Max Gresham Fan Page.
Additional information about the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR K&N Pro Series effort can be viewed atwww.JoeGibbsRacing.com.
For information about sponsorship of or partnering with Max Gresham’s 2011 NASCAR racing efforts, please contact J.R. Longley at