CONCORD, N.C. — The road to NASCAR is not for the faint of heart. It takes a rare combination of talent, perseverance and ingenuity with a little luck thrown in. Just ask Kaz Grala.
On May 15, he announced on Twitter that he had lost his full-time ride in the Xfinity Series, a result of JGL Racing’s decision to shut down their operations. Grala said, in part, “Well, unfortunately, I’m out of a ride but hopefully the old saying holds true, when one door closes, another opens.”
And open it did. Quickly enough that 11 days later, Grala was back on the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway with Fury Race Cars earning a top 10 in their Xfinity Series debut. It was the second top 10 finish of his rookie season.
He described it as “a dream come true.”
But it was a dream realized through the determination of a father who knew that his son’s journey was just beginning. To that end, Darius Grala immediately sent a text to crew chief, Shane Wilson, and began formulating a plan to put together the No. 61 team.
They gathered together most of Grala’s former crew members from his No. 24 JGL Racing team and worked out a deal to run four races with Fury Race Cars, a company co-owned by Darius Grala, Tony Eury Jr. and Jeff Fultz.
The result was better than anticipated.
With no backup car and no owner points, Grala admitted to being somewhat careful during practice and qualifying, but when it came time to race, he threw caution out the window.
“Make the race, that was No. 1,” he said when asked about his goals for Saturday. “That was our first little check mark there for the day. We were really worried when it was raining because we wouldn’t have made it in on owner points.
“In practice, yes, our mock run, yes,” Grala continued, “even qualifying, had to be a little bit careful.
“In the race? Absolutely not.”
True to his word, Grala said, “I was aggressive as much as I could be, really going for it ‘cause I knew these guys deserved a good run. I didn’t want to be the reason they didn’t get it. I was driving my guts out there. I think I asked for six different water bottles during that race. I was literally leaving nothing on the table. That’s the way you gotta race in the Xfinity Series. Everybody’s too freaking good to not go all out every single lap. I’m really proud of everybody. I can’t thank everyone enough. This is a dream come true.”
With three more races in his immediate future, Grala will take everything he learned from this weekend to duplicate that success moving forward.
“There’s a lot to be excited about from that race,” he said. “I know that I am, and I think I speak for everybody when I say this was a wildly successful debut for us.”
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