Gresham Wins East Championship!
Max Gresham finished third in the Dover 150 at Dover International Speedway Friday and in the process captured the 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship.
“To be a NASCAR champion is the biggest thing and about the only thing that I wanted to do when I started racing,” said Gresham after the event. “Hopefully, there are more to come in the future. This one is as sweet as can be right now.”
Gresham entered the event with a 21-point cushion over Brett Moffitt and served notice early he’d be hard to beat posting the second-fastest time in qualifying with a lap of 23.479 seconds (153.239 miles per hour average).
Gresham and Moffitt were glued together in the early going before the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota flexed his muscles taking the lead on Lap 27. A series of pit stops for tires and fuel just prior to the midway point of the 150-lap contest on the Dover ‘Monster Mile’ put Gresham deep in the field just prior to the halfway point.
Gresham then roared his way back into the top-five and appeared to be in for an easy ride to the championship trophy when Moffitt tagged the wall on Lap 77.
The race to the finish proved to be anything but that, however, as Gresham developed a vibration while leading with just 40 circuits to go. Meanwhile, Moffitt was blazing through the field and roared past Gresham with just a handful of laps remaining.
Now in the lead, Moffitt blasted away from the battle between Gresham and Darrell Wallace, Jr. Now third and protecting his position, Gresham was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Moffitt again pounded the outside retaining wall, this time with just three laps left in the event.
Now facing a green-, white-, checkered-flag finish, Gresham nursed his way his mount to the title finishing third behind Wallace, Jr. and Dale Quarterly.
“I had a bad vibration those last 10 or 15 laps,” said Gresham. “On the laps before the green, white, checkered, I was just shaking the car around trying to figure out what was wrong. I knew something wasn’t right. It was a good thing that I didn’t have to race for position at that time. I could just ride the last couple of laps out and not have to worry about it.”
Gresham finished the 2011 K&N campaign with two wins, nine top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. The 18-year-old driver also sat on the pole for four division events and was the only driver to complete every lap – all 1,705 circuits – in series competition this season.
“This is probably the best season that I have ever had,” said Gresham. “We won race this year, we won more poles than anyone else. We had more top-five and top-10 finishes than anyone else. We did what it takes to win a championship.”
The Dover 150 will be telecast on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED on Thursday, October 6 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
Meanwhile, Gresham – who announced a three-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule with Turn One Racing to close out the season – will stay busy heading to Kansas Speedway and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event on Friday, October 7. Gresham will wheel a Venturini Motorsports entry in the Kansas Lottery 98.8 at 7:30 p.m.