Gresham Wins at GMP
Gresham Wins Thrilling NASCAR K&N Classic At GMP
Max Gresham had the fastest car all day, but it took a three-wide, mad dash green-white-checkered flag finish to give the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota a victory in the Slack Auto Parts 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Gresham Motorsports Park Saturday evening.
“The late-race green-white-checkered flag finish and Darrell Wallace, Jr. definitely put some pressure on us, but we prevailed off of Turn 2,” said Gresham. “To win here at my home track – the track owned by my grandfather – is a surreal moment for me.”
If anyone ‘owned’ the high-speed GMP half-mile oval on Saturday, it was the 18-year-old Huntersville, NC driver. Gresham served notice early that he and his Live Oak Plantation sponsored racer would be the team to beat blasting their way to the pole position with a lap of 17.269 seconds (104.233 miles per hour average) in qualifying.
About the only thing that could slow Gresham Saturday was a string of thundershowers that delayed the start of the 150-lap event for two and a half hours. The race finally took the green flag at just past 11 p.m. Eastern Time and Gresham quickly bolted to the lead holding the top spot for the first 42 laps.
Wallace, Jr. then grabbed point on a restart and paced the field for the next 56 circuits as Gresham’s JGR crew chief Bryant Frazier preached patience.
“You’ve got the best car on the track,” Frazier radioed Gresham. “Save something for the end of the race. Just stay patient and you’ll get him.”
Gresham got that chance as he roared by Wallace, Jr. to reassume the lead on Lap 99. From there on out, it was smooth sailing as the soon-to-be freshman
student at Belmont Abbey College rolled to a half-straightaway lead only to have a pair of cautions and restarts in the final 10 laps make it a race to the finish.
On the final green-white-checkered flag restart, Gresham blasted away from the field before Wallace, Jr. door sho
t him as they sped into Turn 1. The contact carried the two cars up the track allowing last week’s Bowman Gray Stadium K&N winner Matt DiBenedetto to duck to the inside making it a three-wide drag race off of Turn 2.
Gresham found the right ‘bite’ off of the corner to clear his two rivals and flash under the checkered flag by .632 second advantage. DiBenedetto hung on for second while Andrew Smith, Wallace, Jr., and Corey Lajoie completed the Top-5 finishers.
“We had an unbelievable night here at Gresham Motorsports Park,” stated Gresham. “We qualified on the pole and from the drop of the green flag, we were able to drive away from the rest of the field. We had an awesome car. We kicked butt tonight.”
The win was Gresham’s first of the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season. The former Griffin, GA resident now has three K&N Series career victories in just 20 starts.
Additionally, Gresham jumped all the way to second in the K&N East season championship chase – just five markers out of first behind Wallace, Jr. (960-955) – thanks in large part to a 2.8 finishing average over the last five K&N East Series event.
“I can’t thank my Joe Gibbs Racing team enough,” said Gresham, noting his team has finished all 885 laps contested in the series this season. “Those guys – Bryant Fraizer, all the guys and all the people at the shop – are the ones who worked all week to get this car exactly how I wanted it for the race. They all put in a lot of hours and that just makes this whole win sweeter. I’m so glad that we finally got our first win of the season. We’re definitely tightening up the points’ race.”
The Slack Auto Parts 150 will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED on Thursday, June 16, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.
Gresham will next pull double duty making his career superspeedway debut in this Friday’s RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at Michigan International Speedway. Gresham and his No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota were fastest in testing for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event at MIS on May 25.
The RainEater Wiper Blades 200 will roll off at 5:15 Eastern Time Friday.
The race will be telecast live on SPEED beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.
As soon as Gresham takes the checkered flag at Michigan Friday, it will be off to the airport to fly to Langley, VA and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Langley Speedway Saturday, June 18. The VisitLangleyVA 175 will hit full throttle at 8 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday evening.
To learn more about Max Gresham, please log on to www.MaxGresham.com.
To discuss motorsports marketing opportunities with Max Gresham, please contact J.R. Longley at JRLongley@MaxGresham.com or at 706-581-6970.