Kaz Grala, a 14-year-old gifted driver, has steadily ascended the ranks of auto racing’s minor leagues while racking up win after win along the way.
He was recently promoted to the Legends Car Pro class, where he drives replicas of 1930s and 1940s cars that travel up to 120 miles per hour and have manual transmissions. Next
Grala’s promotion to the Legends Car Pro class means he has reached the midway point on his path to the Spring Cup Series— the stock-car racing organization’s highest level of competition.
In Grala’s previous six stops — a succession of divisions with increasingly larger cars, more powerful engines, and more complex driving instructions—he has captured five championships and repeatedly proved that he is a burgeoning force. Next
Grala turned heads by winning its first four races in the INEX Winter Heat, a series of eight races held on weekends throughout December and January.
“I never expected him to win a Pro race, no less the first four,”said his mother, Karen, “I really thought it would come this summer.”
His accomplishments have been startling for someone so young and new to the circuit.
Last year, Kaz Grala won 25.8 percent of his races (15 of 58), and was a top-three finisher in 51.7 percent of his starts (30 of 58). Next
Grala leads the field at the wheel of his No. 3 car during a Legends series race in Charlotte, N.C.
Asked about his responsibilities when racing, Grala responded: “You need to think about passing, keeping a car behind you, and driving fast. You need to think about your tire wear and your fuel consumption. There’s just so much you need to do at once. But racing comes naturally. Doing all those things takes no effort. It’s sort of something you’re born with.”
Racing requires deep concentration, spatial awareness, split-second decision-making and a feel for cars. Next
Racing industry professionals have noticed Kaz Grala’s combination of natural competencies and an ability to quickly retain information, and they have become believers.
With television ratings and gate attendance at the sports’ highest level of competition, the Sprint Cup Series, have been gradually declining over the years, Grala may be exactly what NASCAR needs.
Pictured: Grala gives his mother Karen a kiss, as they sit in front of the NASCAR cup series car on display at the F1 facility in Braintree. Next
This year, Grala won two out of six Pro Division races and broke his own track record, which he had set last year at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
His biggest win (in terms of track size and crowd) came on Aug. 18 at South Boston Speedway in Virginia, and his most challenging win came on July 31 at the Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the Summer Shootout, a multicar accident on the second lap shortened the race to 10 laps.
“He’s winning races,” said R.J. Valentine, an accomplished Grand-Am driver and the owner of F1 Boston, “Most guys maybe get a second or third and maybe every once in a while might have a win. He’s been consistently winning.”
Grala is still four years away from meeting the Sprint Cup Series age minimum, and with five levels to climb before he reaches the series, there is still much work ahead. Back to the beginning
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